Sitting at my desk in our gallery in Hudson, NY on a sunny Friday, another in a string of lovely late Spring days ticks away outside. Recently, the numbers 42, 30, and 1 come to mind as they represent respectively, the number of years since our firm was founded by my parents (1973), since I joined the gallery (1985), and since the opening of our first retail gallery here in historic Hudson a year ago. Reflecting on the passage of time for me can either result in feelings of “Boy, that seems so long ago” or “Wow, that went by in the blink of an eye.” Today’s reflections provide a bit of both.
Art Basel Miami Beach has been on my art dealer bucket list for a while. The stars had never quite aligned, but they did this year. And since 2014 marks our first year with a retail gallery (in our 42nd year of business), it seemed like a perfect time to check things out in sunny Florida. So plans were made to drive down with some dealer friends, stopping in shops all along the way to search for “roadshow treasures”, and spend 6 nights immersed in the spectacle. The center of the art world – GLOBALLY – is Miami and Miami Beach during this week. And by center one can feel free to picture a black hole. And so my journey began…
One of the potential misconceptions about ABMB is that it is just one show. It is actually a huge collective of art, design, fashion, music, and museum shows, parties and events which run practically round the clock. Continue reading
The types of things that keep art dealers up at night are probably a bit different than other businesses. One of the most hair raising for me is moving large statuary. And this would include a marble sculpture from 1871 by William Henry Rinehart which we needed to move from our private gallery over to our new retail gallery in Hudson, NY. Our gala opening exhibition Panorama – 250 Years of American Art was slated to feature this lovely and near pristine work, so moving day inevitably arrived. And while I didn’t sleep particularly well the night before, on the morning of our move the Woman of Samaria and I were in good spirits.
A big part of being an art dealer and gallery owner is your office. I like to think of my office as 1/3 high tech Batcave, 1/3 art reference library, 1/3 garage-workshop-cleaning closet-shipping room and 1/3 gallery space. I know, that’s four thirds, which is exactly how it feels when you could always use “just a bit more space” for everything. Our new gallery has a very nice, if smallish office, and the window of the office allows a clear view to our front door – especially helpful during the hours when we are open to the public.
The 1/3 gallery and 1/3 art reference library are kind of the fun parts of the equation, as they are where our eyes and our instincts come into play keenly, as we research works we are considering, and those we have already acquired. Continue reading
I started hearing the buzz about the Historic city of Hudson, NY, around two years ago. A good friend and gallery owner kept mentioning it whenever we spoke. And last fall, while traveling together for a show in Winnetka, IL, he kept beating Hudson’s drum – louder! In the meantime, publications like the New York Times, Elle Decor, New York Magazine, and the Wall Street Journal were banging their own “Hudson drums”. So I finally agreed to do a scouting trip last Fall, and the magic of the place found its way into my imagination. It took a while to find a suitable gallery space, but lightning struck quickly in late March, when a two story space in an old cigar factory became available.
As the end of 2013 fast approaches, and we look forward to the excitement and challenges we’re sure to find in 2014, we’ve taken a moment to pause and reflect on our 40th year in business. The good will and cheer we’ve received from clients and associates both old and new has been heartwarming. And our daily routines continue with one overriding thought: that we have one of the best jobs in the world. Being intimately connected to art – which is the end product of a human need to express, create, share, and teach – is a privilege. Art nurtures us in ways nothing else can, and joins us together in ways nothing else can.
I couldn’t quite figure out why I liked art for many years. Until one day, in a quieter moment, as I sat in front of a painting I had looked at a hundred times before, I realized it was speaking to me for the hundredth time, and had never once repeated itself. The artwork hadn’t changed. Myself, and my perceptions, had. Art has the power to speak to us, and, just maybe, if we’re willing to listen, help us change and grow. I’m pretty sure that the artist’s themselves would say the act of creating can do the exact same thing.
We hope your Holiday Season will be filled with joy for you and yours. Perhaps taking a moment to reflect both inwardly and outwardly, like the subject in Francis Criss’ painting Christmas Day, would be good for everyone.
See you in 2014!
Most visitors to museums, galleries, or private collections view the art being displayed in presentation ready condition. For historical art, this usually means that somewhere along the way a trip to the conservator was necessary. Few artworks spend their existence in hermetically sealed bubbles, therefore the ravages of time can create considerable issues and challenges for conservators. The skilled hands and encyclopedic knowledge of a conservator are what can make a work of art look superb. In our experience conservators are like restaurants – you can find quick and cheap ones, exclusive and expensive ones, or ones that fall somewhere in between.
One determining factor we have when considering the purchase of a work is its condition. We love to acquire pieces which are “deliciously dirty”. By this we mean works that are basically in an untouched state – they have never been worked on by a mediocre conservator or, yikes, even worse by grandma’s brillo pad. Artworks in this unconserved state are desirable because we are able to turn them over to a highly skilled conservation team, and not have to worry about any previous efforts which might have done more harm than good. Over the years we’ve seen our fair share of artworks that are in sad states of disrepair as well as ones with unfixable issues. In many cases the owners are unaware of these condition issues and how they can potentially affect value.
One memorable work we acquired in a “deliciously dirty” state was a painting by Continue reading