Beantown Art Fair Redux…A Review from the Booth

A few weeks ago with the recent Presidential election just completed, fiscal cliffs impending, and a forecast for some great late fall weather, we packed up 22 works of art, and pointed our van toward Boston. This was our 7th year exhibiting in the Boston International Fine Art Show. We were excited to get back to Beantown the weekend before Thanksgiving. As we drove into the city we passed Copley Square and the great man himself – John Singleton Copley (1738-1815). Well, we passed a bronze replica of Copley. An extraordinary artist, and one heck of a spiffy dresser!

John Singleton Copley

John Singleton Copley, a great man wearing some great shoes!

Arriving at the Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts we were confronted with the empty booth that became our home for the next 5 days. It was time to scratch our chins and think about making the art shine.

"unpacking artwork at BIFA"

Artworks…check. Thinking cap…um…check!

A big part of making a booth look good is orchestrating what goes where. Some galleries make three-dimensional mockups of their booths or think out what to put where on a computer model. Everything is preplanned and there are not a lot of surprises. I’ve always been more of a “let’s bring what we want to show – and let the art tell us where it wants to be hung” type of booth arranger. It adds a sense of anticipation and energy to the hanging process.

"Hanging paintings on the walls"

Here we go…the art starts to hang itself…

As we got to the finish line it was time to pop on the description labels, then go get ready to talk about art.

"finishing touches to the booth"

Getting everything labeled…

Opening night has always been one of our favorite parts of the show. The buzzing crowds, getting a chance to see the amazing pieces other galleries have brought, and of course the delicious nibbles.

"Joe and Marcy Caldwell"

Eighty years of combined experience, Joe and Marcy Caldwell.

Here are a few of the pieces we brought to Boston this year. It’s never easy just picking a handful of artworks for a show, since you always wish you could bring more.

"Harry Bertoia's sculpture entitled Bush."

Harry Bertoia’s “Bush” (early 1960’s)


F.H. Shapleigh's painting entitled St. Augustine Florida

F.H. Shapleigh’s “St. Augustine, FL” (1889)


Carl Holty's expressionist painting entitled Red Gold

Carl Holty’s expressionist work “Red Gold” (1958)


"Eugene Berman's painting entitled Imaginary View of Rome"

Eugene Berman’s surrealistic view of Rome (1939-1940)


Morris Graves painting entitled Winter Flower Ireland

Morris Graves’ zen-like “Winter Flower Ireland” (1954)

Throughout the weekend we talked with lots of folks who had come from all over New England and beyond to see the show. It was a great art fair for us, and in polling some of the other dealers, they felt the same. There is a collective sense among those in the art world that the market for truly great and/or rare artworks is up. Middling or lesser pieces languish as the buying public becomes more and more selective, only wanting the best of the best. We plan on returning for the 2013 BIFAS show. Until then we’ll be on the hunt for some exceptional new works. Stay tuned.

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