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Purchase Story

The 2017 ADAA Art Show

Julie Schlenger Adell | March 5th, 2017

New York City

The Art Show, the Art Dealers Association of America’s annual show, shone brightly this year. The art was the star. The unfussiness and quiet elegance of the booths in the Park Avenue Armory’s Drill Hall allowed showgoers—and there were thousands each day from March 1 to 5—to remain focused on the offerings the 72 dealers had chosen this year for the country’s longest-running art fair.

Moreover, sales were made every day and especially on opening night, during a gala preview party held Tuesday, February 28, to benefit the Henry Street Settlement. This was the 29th collaboration between the ADAA and Henry Street, a 124-year-old social services organization that assists more than 60,000 New Yorkers each year.

A final study drawing by Stuart Davis (1892-1964) for a commission that he received to paint a mural for the gentlemen’s lounge at Radio City Music Hall sold at James Reinish’s booth. The study for the mural, Men without Women, 1932, ink, blue crayon, and traces of pencil on paper, measures 22" x 34½". Davis’s dealer Edith Halpert was instrumental in getting the commission for the artist.

Duck, 1933, by Carl Walters (1883-1955), glazed terra cotta, 6 5/8" x 10" x 5¾", ink stamp underneath, was priced at $9500 by James Reinish & Associates, New York City. Walters was included in 1926 in the opening exhibition of the Downtown Gallery, which was originally called Our Gallery.

“It was an incredible fair,” said James Fuentes, a New York City dealer who does only a couple of fairs each year. “All of this work belongs in museums,” said the young dealer, whose gallery is on Delancey Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, not far from Henry Street. He founded his gallery ten years ago and specializes in contemporary art.

Thomas Colville, whose booth this year was dedicated to works by George Inness, said that since November there has been a “drastic” change in the business. “Business was slow last year from May until November, but after the election it started taking off.” Colville, based in Guilford, Connecticut, and New York City, sold five paintings at the American Art Fair in November and ten works of art at the Winter Antiques Show in January, he said. He had sold two large Inness paintings when M.A.D. spoke to him at the Art Show over the weekend as well as doing other business from his inventory.

For dealer Meredith Ward, opening night saw “real buying. The mood was great and I heard from my colleagues that business was good,” she said, recapping the show on the final day. She sold a work by Charles Biederman during opening night and was delighted that a former buyer “came back around” and bought from her.

James Reinish, a dealer from New York City, had a booth in the front of the show and was consistently busy. He focused on Edith Halpert and her Downtown Gallery, featuring works by Charles Sheeler, Ben Shahn, Elie Nadelman, Gaston Lachaise, and George Ault. Halpert’s gallery opened in Greenwich Village in 1926. “This pioneering gallery was open for more than 40 years and established or furthered the careers of many of the most important artists of the American Modernist movement, as well as their peers,” Reinish wrote in a description of his booth. “American Modernism is bought by American collectors,” he said, “not by the Asians and not much by Europeans.” American artists such as Hopper, O’Keeffe, Sargent, and Bellows “are cracking the ice a bit,” however, he noted. Some sales made included a drawing by Stuart Davis, paintings by Max Weber and by John Marin, and a sculpture by Nadelman.

Menconi & Schoelkopf Fine Art, New York City, showed American Modernism from 1913 to the early postwar years, including works by Alfred Maurer, Stuart Davis, Joseph Stella, and Ralston Crawford. These two oil paintings by Maurer (1868-1932) were being sold on behalf of the family that acquired them in 1932. On the left is Landscape with Trees,  1925-30, 21½" x 18", signed. On the right is Fauve Landscape with Tree and Road, 1925-30, 21½" x 18", signed indistinctly lower center, signed on the lower left on the back. Each had an asking price of $75,000.

The ADAA show will return to the Park Avenue Armory in 2018, dates still to be determined, said a representative from Sanford Smith & Associates, which manages the show in conjunction with the ADAA. The accompanying photos concentrate on artworks from the 19th and early 20th centuries and several contemporary artists.

Further information, including a listing of dealers and their addresses, is available online (

Head by Elie Nadelman (1882-1946), 1912-13, wood, 11¾" x 6¾" x 6¾" with base, sold at the booth of James Reinish & Associates, Inc. “to a good client” during the preview, said Reinish.

Hirschl & Adler Modern, New York City, presented “Dialogue in Stone,” showcasing sculptures by Elizabeth Turk (b. 1961), who is a Californian based in Santa Ana and who lives part time in New York City. “She pushes the medium of marble,” explained gallerist Liz Feld. Turk uses dental tools and files and electric grinders to create “a provocative tension between the intrinsic strength of the stone and its inherent fragility.” She works primarily with Carrera marble and sometimes with Vermont black marble. Seen at right are two sculptures from Turk’s “Script” series, priced at $230,000 and $245,000. The “table jewelry” sculpture was priced at $25,000.

Thomas Colville Fine Art, Guilford, Connecticut, and New York City, had a dedicated booth entitled “George Inness: Master of the American Landscape.” Fifteen paintings were set off by planters that added to the lushness of the booth. Seen here is Across the Meadows, Montclair, New Jersey, 1891-93, signed, 31 7/8" x 41 1/8", which had an asking price of $275,000. It sold.

Meredith Ward Fine Arts, New York City, explored the influence of the Abstraction-Creation movement in Paris on 20th-century American artists. Artworks seen here are, from left to right, an untitled 28¾" x 23 5/8" oil on canvas, 1935-36, by Frederick Kann (1884/6-1965), priced at $110,000; Plastic Polygon by Charles Green Shaw (1892-1974), 1936, oil on panel with relief, 10" x 10½", priced at $95,000; an untitled 1960s work by Steve Wheeler (1912-1992), 27" x 30", oil and ink on canvas, priced at $80,000; 9/1935 by Charles Biederman (1906-2004), a 1935 oil on canvas, 13" x 10¼", priced at $38,000; and Abstraction in Pink by Ilya Bolotowsky (1907-1981), 1939, oil and gesso on masonite, 30" x 27", priced at $185,000. The Biederman artwork sold opening night, and the show was “successful” for her, Ward said.

Norman Lewis (1909-1979), known for his calligraphic abstract compositions, was featured in the booth of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, LLC, New York City, which is the exclusive representative of the artist’s estate. Two works were sold opening night, including Figures, a 1951 oil and ink on gessoed panel, 24" x 20", signed and dated, which had an asking price of $280,000. “It was an extraordinary show for us,” said Halley K. Harrisburg, gallery director, who is married to Rosenfeld. “We’ve rehung the booth. Lewis is doing well at auction and internationally, too. He’s truly seen as a first-generation Abstract Expressionist, belonging with [Jackson] Pollock and [Franz] Kline.” The gallery made sales to private collectors and institutions.

Originally published in the May 2017 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2017 Maine Antique Digest

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