Published: December 5, 2007
Boasting a ten percent increase in attendance over last year’s gate and more than $18 million in sales from the 80 dealers participating, the 17th running of the IFPDA Print Fair once again lived up to expectations. Long known as the show that established and maintains the standards for printed works of art, this annual event attracts dealers and clients from around the world.
The show, taking place November 1‴ at the Park Avenue Armory, also marked the 20th Anniversary of the formation of the International Fine Print Dealer’s Association (IFPDA), with some of the founding members still participating in the event. Founded in 1980 by Sylvan Cole, Martin Gordon, Paul McCarron, Mary Ryan and Dorothy Schneiderman, both McCarron and Ryan remain among the highly regarded international group of exhibitors.
While manager Sanford Smith of Sanford Smith & Associates, Ltd, is usually tight lipped in regard to attendance figures, IFPDA reported a “focused audience of over 6,000 collectors, curators, artists and art enthusiasts” making their way through the Print Fair.
The show got off to a brisk start with a gala preview benefiting The Museum of Modern Art’s Department of Prints and Illustrated Books. Seasoned collectors such as David Rockefeller, Morley Safer, and Marnie and Donaldson C. Pillsbury were in attendance, and curators from numerous institutions were also on hand to have a sneak peek at the show. Other museum supporters in attendance included Ryan McGinness, creator of this year’s benefit print.
The IFPDA Print Fair was ablaze with color and a hive of activity as a large and eager crowd made their way onto the floor for the preview party on “All Hallows Eve,” Wednesday, October 31. While certainly regarded as a social event, the MOMA preview also provided serious collectors with a prime opportunity to view a stellar selection of printed works from around the world, all in one visually pleasing and succinct setting.
A large crowd of enthusiastic shoppers entered the fair on Wednesday evening with benefactors and patrons paying $1,500 and $1,000, respectively, to enter the show at 5 pm. A larger crowd of sponsors hit the floor at 5:30 with their donation of $750, and the crowds continued to swell with a $300 opening at 6 pm and a general $75 opening at 7:30.
IFPDA reported a large volume of sales on opening night, including Picasso’s “La Minotauromachie” moving quickly from the booth of London dealer Frederick Mulder at a price reported to be in excess of $3 million. Mulder’s sale was considered to be the most significant and highest priced to take place during the fair.
Other noteworthy sales on opening night including a 1497 proof of Albrecht Dürer’s woodcut “Die Apokalypitschen Reiter” (The Four Horsemen) from the booth of Chicago dealer R.S. Johnson; Erich Heckel’s colorful 1912 lithograph “Blaues Kleid” was snatched up from Jorg Maass Kunsthandel, Berlin, Germany; and a Jasper Johns reportedly sold in the six-figure range at Works on Paper, Philadelphia.
Julian Opie’s “Ruth With Cigarette 1” from Alan Cristea Gallery and several Japanese prints from Egenlof Gallery were also christened with red dots soon after opening, as was a large installation of 12 silkscreen prints by Donald Sultan, titled “12 Colors,” at Mary Ryan Gallery.
A special professional preview created a great deal of excitement on Thursday morning as the IFPDA-hosted event attracted museum curators from around the world. Chicago dealer Alice Adam stated that the gallery had “done very well with the museums, better than last year and particularly [with] East Coast museums.” Parisian dealer Sylvie Prouté, of Paul Prouté SA, was another dealer to observe an increase in international and US curatorial turnout, and Chicago dealer Eva-Maria Worthington, Worthington Gallery, noted several curators making inquiries in her booth, including one from the Louvre.
The excitement of the morning preview carried on throughout the day, with a large crowd making their way through the show.
London dealer William Weston reported four significant sales from his stand. Weston’s stellar selection included a three-color linocut by Picasso titled “Femme dans un Fauteuil et Guitariste. L’Aubade avec Femme dans un Fauteuil,” 1959, from an issue of 50, $95,000, and the lithograph “Buste au Fond Etoile,” 1945, that was similarly priced. Wassily Kandinsky’s 1923 lithograph “Violet” was attracting attention, $75,000, as was “Petite Interieur Bleu” by Henri Matisse, $45,000.
Often regarded as one of the most anticipated booths in the show, The Old Print Shop brought a selection of works that delighted the crowd. Two Winslow Homer etchings were attracting interest, including “Saved,” an 1899 work that was termed by the gallery as “one of the great Winslow Homer images.” A superb impression on vellum and retaining a Nineteenth Century silver lacquered frame, the exceptional work was marked $250,000. “Mending the Tears” was another Homer etching on display in the booth.
Other icons of the art world represented in the booth included Mary Cassatt with her drypoint etching and aquatint, circa 1903, titled “The Bath,” $175,000, and two Blanche Lazzell woodcut prints, with “The Seine Boat” offered at $150,000 and “The Town Home” at $125,000. Representing the artist’s estate, The Old Print Shop always has a grand selection of works by Martin Lewis. Two perennial favorites, “Shadow Dance” and “Stoops in Snow,” were marked $50,000 and $40,000, respectively.
With a contemporary feel, Jim Kempner Fine Art, New York City, offered a broad selection of materials by artists that are currently fancied. Dominating the rear wall of the booth was Kara Walker’s offset lithograph screen print titled “Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated) Confederate Prisoners Being Conducted,” executed in 2005. “A Throw of the Dice” and “Octavio Paz Suite; Nocturne III,” lithographs by Robert Motherwell, hung nearby. Works by other artists on view in the booth included John Baldessari, Chuck Close, David Hockney, Alex Katz and Sol LeWitt.
Breaking new ground, the Print Fair’s first installation piece, “Half-Life,” an eerie jungle-esque three-dimensional lithography and woodcut relief on Mylar construction by Nicola López, was sold by Tandem Press, Madison, Wis. Acting on the advice of his art advisor, who had viewed the construction during opening night preview, West Coast collector Jordan Schnitzer acquired the print. Schnitzer purchases works to be exhibited in public collections and provides funding for outreach and educational purposes. “Half-Life” will be installed at the Portland Museum of Art and then eventually relocated to The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon.
Aside from the $3 million Picasso sold from Mulder’s display, numerous other choice items were offered. Picasso’s “Nature Morte sous la Lampe,” a 1962 linocut from an edition of 50, was also among the offering, “price on request,” as was “Bacchanale au Taureau” that was stickered at $60,000. German Impressionists were also offered, with a rare set of ten Karl Schmidt-Rottluff woodcuts, 1914‱918, from the “Zehn Holzschnitte” series, $170,000.
A note of philanthropy emerged from Mulder’s sale of the Picasso as the dealer announced, through IFPDA, his intention to use 75 percent of the proceeds to help expand a foundation he set up five years ago. Calling the foundation “The Funding Network” (www.thefundingnetwork.org.uk), it comprises a group of donors who fund organizations working for a fairer, healthier and more sustainable world. Mulder asserts it would be “a pity if the wealth of the art market stayed in a cozy circle with no chance to impact wider issues facing the world,” reported the IFPDA.
New York City dealer David Tunick was pleased with the offering of a large grouping of Old Master prints on display in his stand. Having reacquired many of the works from an old-time well-established collection, the dealer presented Albrecht Dürer’s 1498 woodcut print of “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,” which Tunick had placed in the collection nearly 40 years ago. From the Augsburg School came a Fifteenth Century image of “Christ on the Cross, between the Virgin and St John from the Missale Brixinense,” circa 1493, and a Fifteenth Century engraving by Israhel Van Meckene, The Younger, of “The Death of the Virgin, after Schongauer.”
Chicago dealer Eva-Maria Worthington, Worthington Gallery, reported a good show and among the prime offerings displayed was a rare Gustav Klimt double-sided chalk drawing with “Hygieia” on one side and “Emilie Floge” on the verso. Circa 1898‱907, the drawing was described as a study for the famous faculty painting “Medicine” of 1907 that depicted the nude figure of “Hygieia” floating in space with one arm extended.
Other works of note from the booth included “Der Prophet,” a 1912 trial proof woodcut print pulled by Emil Nolde, and Otto Muller’s 1922 lithograph of “Drei Madchen vor dem Spiegel.” Wassily Kandinsky was also represented with “Kleine Welten VII,” a color woodcut from 1922.
Several publishers were set up at the show. Evelyn Lasry of New York City’s Two Palms was a first-year exhibitor at the Print Fair. “We had a great fair,” she said commenting about a constant flow of traffic and strong sales. “Our Chuck Close anamorphic prints, ‘Self-Portrait’ and ‘Phil,’ were a big hit with both institutions and collectors, nearly selling out in its debut.” The works were each in an edition of 20. “We also did very well with Richard Prince, Cecily Brown and Elizabeth Peyton,” stated the dealer.
Mary Cassatt, Winslow Homer and Edward Hopper were but a few of the artists whose work was presented by Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York City, the latter represented by “The Locomotive.” The 1922 etching, originally priced at $20 and so marked near the artist’s signature, was offered at “price on request.”
An attractive Louis Lozowick litho titled “57th Street (Rubber Center),” from 1929, was reasonably priced at $12,000, while a Josef Albers linoleum cut print from 1934, “Show Case,” was marked $16,700.
Celebrating the Halloween opening of the Print Fair in fashion was Patrick Albano of Aaron Galleries, Chicago, who was sporting a color-coordinated outfit that was both conservative and comical. Looking dapper in a dark suit, his shirt with a hint of purple and a bowtie that tied the color scheme together, the addition of Albano’s poofy-purple hat transformed the dealer into a cartoonish character.
While fun and games took place from time to time around the perimeter of the booth, things got serious once patrons stopped chuckling and entered the stand for a look-see at the art offered. A Thomas Hart Benton was attracting attention; however, it was the Aaron Douglas block prints titled “Bravado, Defiance, Flight, Surrender” that were claiming the spotlight. From an edition of 20, the 1926 prints are considered extremely rare, according to the dealer, who termed Douglas as one of the most important African American artists in the history of American art.
The exhibition “Aaron Douglas, African American Modernist” recently closed at the Spencer Museum of Art, but will travel through several venues, including the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C., and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City.
Long regarded as the cornerstone of New York Fine Art Print Week, a weeklong stream of events that includes multimillion dollar auctions and exhibitions of great importance at galleries throughout Manhattan, the IFPDA Print Fair was once again the lady to dance with at the ball.
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