Sunday, November 4, 2012

An Excuse for a Party

There’s a new art fair coming to the Armory in New York and this one will have a French flair. The Syndicat National Des Antiquaires, the French art and antiques association centered in Paris, and Sanford L. Smith & Associates, New York’s legendary art show manager, have organized “The Salon Art + Design”.  All dealers everywhere are looking for new venues and this is an effort by the French to get more global exposure.  In fact the Syndicat’s next venue is expected to be Hong Kong.  We know well one participating member of the Syndicat, the Kraemer family, who concentrate on French 18th century furniture of the highest caliber but have never before exhibited in the U.S.  I don’t know yet what they will show at the Salon Art + Design, but you can be sure it will be incredible.

Then we have another friend and colleague by the name of Emanuel von Baeyer, originally from Germany, who has made his home in London.  He is a very serious prints and drawings dealer with the emphasis on the former.  He is coming here to do the International Fine Print Dealers Fair, which is also organized by Sanford L. Smith. We have done Master Drawings, New York together with Emanuel in the past and this year, in addition to participating in the Print Fair at the Armory, he asked us if he could show some prints at our gallery at the same time.

With these two fairs happening we decided to do an exhibition at Stiebel Ltd., with some of our own prints and a marvelous French 18th century lunar clock in the center.

There is an additional hook here and to explain it, I need to give you a little history.  In 1990 we opened a separate entity called Stiebel Modern.  It featured representational painting with emerging artists but also some well established ones.  We closed it 5 years later because we felt that we were spread too thin.  Then as now, one of my favorite contemporary artists is Lucian Freud (1922-2011). To me his work puts to rest the dictum of Clement Greenberg, the champion of Abstract Expressionism, that, “The one thing you can’t do anymore is make a portrait.” Freud himself said “I would wish my portraits to be of the people, not like them.  Not having a look of the sitter, being them.”

Unfortunately, I was not able to acquire a painting by the artist for the opening but we borrowed a fabulous one from a private collector.  I did, however, purchase a number of prints from Brooke Alexander Freud’s American publisher.  We did not sell any of these during Stiebel Modern’s tenure so I put them away. 

"Blond Girl" by Lucian Freud (1922-2011)

"Man Posing" by Lucian Freud (1922-2011)

Slowly but surely I began to see more and more interest in these prints and then in 2007-2008 The Museum of Modern Art did an exhibition of Freud’s etchings from 1982 on when Freud went back to this medium after a 34 year hiatus.  All of the prints that I had acquired dated from 1984 to 1990.  Now a year after Freud’s death seems to me to be a very good time to take out these gems, which have not been on view in over 20 years. 

I hope that you will be able to join us tomorrow evening (Tuesday, November 6 from 6-8pm) have a drink and enjoy the exhibition which will run through the end of the month.

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