Sunday, January 19, 2014

Staying In Business Sale

“Staying in Business Sale” is a sign I saw in down town Santa Fe a short while ago and I thought, right on!  That is a great title during a downturn in the market.  As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, I am closing a gallery not stopping in a field that I love.   Still there are practicalities involved and the biggest one is inventory. I have learned over the years that there are two ways people like to buy.  One is to have everything installed so it looks like a work of art.  A prominent client of ours, who you have heard of, once walked in the gallery and seeing a Louis XV Commode (chest of drawers) on a pedestal exclaimed, “But you are showing it like sculpture”!

The other way to sell is to create a jumble of works and allow the visitor to make their own discovery.  Personally, I have enjoyed both.  Penelope and I used to go antiquing in New England and the southeast and come up with some wonderful objects.  At one time you could have built a good photography collection at Argosy Books on 59th Street in Manhattan for a few dollars each just by digging through their bins and bins of photographs.

We will be closing the doors on the New York Gallery during the second half of March.  Everyone asks what are you going to do with your inventory.  There is no one answer.  Some objects will go to auction, some will be given to our partners to sell and still other pieces will go into storage for the longer term.

I hate to see works of art in storage.  If they are not seen on a regular basis something can happen to them and no one knows until it is too late.  So obviously, one of us will peek from time to time, but still it is a shame.  Someone should be enjoying them.  So in the interest of giving some works of art a better home sooner rather than later I have decided to hold a Super Sale.

Once upon a time we had a gallery called, Stiebel Modern and I plan to put out a painting by a wonderful French/Hungarian artist, Tibor Csernus (1927-2007) who we exhibited.  In June, 1993, Jed Perl reviewed his work for the New Criterion.  I believe it was when he saw his work in an exhibition at our gallery.  He wrote, “Caravaggio meets de Kooning in the recent paintings of Tibor Csernus, and the results are curious, engaging, brilliant…”  Here is our painting titled, “Matthew”.

Other treasures include a painting  by Alfred Stevens from his prime period, the 1870’s called “Avant le Spectacle”  where the woman in the beautiful white lace gown has set herself down by the fireplace with her bouquet and binoculars waiting to be picked up for the opera.   Will her beau be picking her up?  What is going through her mind?

I have also decided to offer for sale a drawing given to me as a gift for my first marriage in 1964.  It is by Pierre-Antoine Demachy (1723-1827) of “La Charlaton au Louvre”, basically a snake oil salesman in American terms.

Finally, one of my favorites, maybe because I grew up with it in my parents’ collection, is a drawing by LĂ©opold Boilly (1761-1845), a preliminary drawing for a painting now in the Louvre, “L'Averse”.

Now for the good news, I have not only literally slashed the prices close to cost but if you don’t like the price, talk to me, who knows.

Come take a look and enjoy the hunt while the doors are still open at 13 East 69th Street through the beginning of March.

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