NEW YORK—The annual Art Show, organized by the Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA) and held at the Seventh Regiment Armory, appeared to benefit from the many visitors in town to see Christo and Jean-Claude’s The Gates in Central Park. The five-day fair, which ran from Feb. 24-28 and celebrated all that is blue chip, also took on a more democratic edge—at least in terms of visitors.
While the overall attendance was down a thousand from last year’s 13,000, the crowd seemed more diverse, international and younger than usual. “The story of the fair was that this was a much younger fair,” ADAA president Richard Solomon told ARTnewsletter, “and a much younger audience.”
There also appeared to be plenty of serious shopping. By the end of the fair, both contemporary and modern art dealers were reporting strong results. Additionally, more contemporary art dealers were in evidence than in years past, and many of them scored successful sales. Chelsea’s Luhring Augustine Gallery reports the sale of more than a million dollars worth of art by East Village artist Christopher Wool, featured by the gallery with a solo show. Charles Cowles, of the Charles Cowles Gallery, also presented a solo show, for painter Gene Davis (1920-85), whom the gallery has recently headlined. Cowles says he sold six Davis pieces at prices ranging from $41,000/110,000.
The Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York, found many willing buyers for Blind Spot, an 82-by-78-inch painting by Charline von Heyl, made with oil, pastel, chalk, acrylic and charcoal. The work, which fetched $30,000, has “an abstract expressionist quality that appeals to this audience,” says Petzel, a first-time exhibitor at the show.
Another Manhattan gallery, Brent Sikkema, brought works by Brazilian artists Saint Clair Cemin and Vik Muniz and by French photographer Valérie Belin. Large still-life photographs by Muniz, of collages of pieces of magazines arranged to suggest artworks by artists such as Richard Serra and Claude Monet, were sold out at the booth. The Muniz works were from editions of six, with prices ranging from $20,000/35,000 each. Belin’s photos were in editions of 10, and a few fetched $3,000 each. The gallery further notes sales of 10 candlesticks by Cemin at $3,000 each.
The Marian Goodman Gallery reports strong results, especially for drawings. The gallery sold a set of nine drawings by William Kentridge, as well as two drawings by Thierry de Cordier, who had a recent show at the Georges Pompidou Center, Paris. The gallery does not disclose prices, but de Cordier’s drawings are known to sell for about €15,000 ($20,000) each.
Boston gallery owner Barbara Krakow says she sold out her booth during the fair. Sales included: a moving-film piece by Julian Opie for $35,000; four drawings by Kiki Smith, ranging in price from $12,000/18,000; a picture by
Kate Shepherd for $20,000; and works by Donald Judd (three from an edition) at $45,000 each; a piece by Fred Sandback for $65,000; and another by Allan McCollum for $16,000. Krakow says the results are typical of the “extraordinary” sales the gallery sees at the ADAA Art Show, where it has exhibited each year since the show’s inception.
“We did very well. For the first time in a long time we were really pleased,” Eva-Maria Worthington, owner of Worthington Gallery, Chicago, told ARTnewsletter. In all, the gallery sold about 19 works for prices ranging from $5,000/60,000, says Worthington. These included works on paper by Max Beckmann, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Käthe Kollwitz; oils and mixed-media works by Michael Triegel; and several bronze sculptures by Dietrich Klinge.
Gallerist David Nash, of Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York, sold the most and least expensive items in his booth on the opening day. Nash says he sold eight pieces, five of them for prices under $50,000. The highest price was for Willem de Kooning’s 1949 painting Seated Woman, which had an asking price of $3.5 million. “The fair was solidly American,” notes Nash, who “was slightly disappointed” at the scarcity of European and Asian buyers.
Jane Kallir, codirector of Manhattan’s Galerie St. Etienne, sold a circa 1940s watercolor by Henry Darger (1892-1973) to a Museum of Modern Art trustee who had never before bought work by an outsider artist. Darger’s Jennie Richee, Escape During the Approach of a New Storm was made on three sheets of paper.
While the gallery declined to disclose the cost of the work, similar pieces by Darger range from $50/80,000. Prices are on the upswing as the Nathan Lerner Living Trust (the family of Darger’s landlord), which owns the estate, has recently decided to stop selling the artist’s works.
Joan Washburn, of the Joan T. Washburn Gallery, New York, says she sold 10 pieces, including works by de Kooning, David Smith and Myron Stout, as well as Mark Rothko’s 1944 gouache-on-paper Undersea Cabaret. Prices at Washburn’s space ranged from $5,000/350,000. She feels that sales were better than last year: “People were in a good mood—more relaxed and mellow.”
There was little photography at the show, but Edwynn Houk, of the Edwynn Houk Gallery, Manhattan, sold two 1929 photos, by Charles Sheeler (1883-1965), of the Chartres cathedral for $32,000/34,000. These images (but not prints) were included in the recent Sheeler photography show that originated at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and traveled to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Houk’s prints originally were owned by pioneering photography collector David McAlpin, who helped start the photography department at both the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan.
Garth Clark, of the Garth Clark Gallery, Manhattan, who specializes in ceramics, nearly sold out of pieces by 86-year-old Ruth Duckworth, who is having a retrospective at the Museum of Arts & Design, New York. Clark sold three of Duckworth’s abstract vessels, priced at $8,500 each. Additionally, three large stoneware sculptures of horses by Jean-Pierre Larocque brought $12,000/15,000 each.
Clark expresses pleasure with the results of his sixth year at the fair, especially given his role as the lone ceramics dealer.