Monday, November 9, 2009

Celebrating a Symbiotic Relationship

On November 2 the Private Art Dealers Association (PADA) gave its annual grant to support the goals of a public not-for-profit institution. Past honorees have ranged from Frick Art Reference Library to The Studio Museum of Harlem.

This year the recipient chosen was the Master Drawings Association which has published the scholarly quarterly Master Drawings since 1963. The publication includes articles on the art of draftsmanship from the Renaissance to the present.

The award was given at PADA’s annual dinner at the Lotos Club in New York. There were between 70 and 80 guests including member art dealers, scholars, collectors, as well as museum curators and the Director of the J. Pierpont Morgan Library, William Griswold, who is also President of The Master Drawings Association. Robert Dance, president of PADA explained how important the publication Master Drawings was to the field and to the trade. He warmly welcomed all and introduced the recipient and speakers, Bill Griswold and Jane Turner, known to the world as Editor of the Grove Dictionary of Art and now Editor of Master Drawings.

Bill Griswold told those assembled how much such grants meant to the success of their publication. Each issue is expensive and donated funds make the difference between being able to publish and not. Jane Turner’s remarks revolved around the symbiotic relationship between art dealers and scholarship and how many of the dealers were scholars in their own right. (As an aside, it is interesting to note that one of the great scholars of French 18th century painting and drawing was the French Art Dealer, Jean Cailleux. When he published his articles at the end of the 1960’s and the beginning of the 1970’s at the end of the Burlington Magazine he had to pay for them like advertisements). Jane Turner pointed out how this prejudice against the trade has largely changed, a point that was celebrated by this assembly of curators, collectors, scholars and the art dealers.