Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Master Drawings New York Comes to Town

Getting a good view of the ceiling recreation of a Pontormo fresco at Christopher Bishop's exhibit.
The art of drawing has often been called art history’s first draft: the moment when an artist puts pencil, chalk, or pen to paper is when an idea first takes shape. 

For a week beginning Saturday, January 26th, a global band of connoisseurs, collectors, and curators of drawings converged on the Upper East Side for Master Drawings New York (MDNY), the pre-eminent art world event for fine drawings. Begun in 2006 by Margot Gordon, a New York-based Old Master Drawings specialist, and Crispian Riley-Smith of London as a casual gallery crawl during the master auctions and Winter Antiques Show, it’s grown to become a much-anticipated week-long event. This year, 21 exhibitions were presented — capping an art season in which fine drawings starred as never before.
Art lovers visited 21 exhibitions up and down the Upper East Side.
All over the Upper East Side, close looks at drawings.
Despite the predictable January chill, New Yorkers came out en masse for MDNY. Art lovers greeted old friends and acquaintances and met new ones in the kind of intimate and relaxed settings that are so hard to find at auctions or art fairs. Events organized in collaboration with The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Master Drawings Journal brought collectors together with top curators. On opening night, champagne flowed in small galleries up and down Madison Avenue.
All is ready for the opening reception at Stephen Ongpin.
Curators from the Detroit Institute of Arts Museum on opening night.
The London-based dealer Stephen Ongpin presented five centuries of drawings, including a 17th-century ink drawing that served as the face of MDNY 2018.
Godfried Maes (1649–1700), The Head of Medusa (detail). Exhibited by Stephen Ongpin Fine Art.
Jill Newhouse reported the sale of five works, including ones by Degas and Rousseau, and on the last day of the show, David Tunick was able to happily depart for the West Coast knowing that he had made six sales, with several more drawings placed on reserve.
An impromptu lesson in art history at Stephen Ongpin's. Jill Newhouse with Abel-Dominque Boyé's self portrait.
Viewers take in David Tunick's MDNY exhibition.
At David Tunick, art receives a close look.
Konrad Bernheimer and Carlos Picon at Colnaghi.
Otto Nauman (left) with Rachel Kaminsky and Cliff Schorer.
At Agnews & Naumann Fine Art, Agnews Gallery Director Anna Cunningham with two colleagues in the art trade, Henry Gentle, a restorer, and Tim Watson, a painting liner.
Ketty Gottardo of The Courtauld Gallery, Richard Berman, and Anita Sganzerla of The Courtauld Institute of Art.
James Trezza among drawings on view in his MDNY exhibition.
Henri Matisse, Femme Assise, c.1944, at Trezza. Egon Schiele, Seated Woman, 1916, at Wienerroither & Kohlbacher.
One secret to the success of MDNY is that many dealers plan their exhibitions a year ahead and save their most important drawings to showcase in New York.  Among those presenting special themed exhibitions this year were Découvert Fine Art of Rockport, Massachusetts; Tomasso Brothers of London and Leeds; Martyn Gregory; and Christopher Bishop. Other veteran dealers, like Kraushaar Galleries, Mireille Mosler and Davis & Langdale, shone simply by assembling very fine and idiosyncratic drawings, often by lesser-known masters. 
MDNY dealer Christopher Bishop, on right, with John Lloyd. Raffaello Tomasso at the Tomasso Brothers exhibit at Carlton Hobbs.
Eileen and Fred Hill and MDNY Dealer Martyn Gregory.
Visitors scrutinizing a drawing by Pontormo in Christopher Bishop's gallery space.
Ceiling recreation of a Pontormo fresco at Christopher Bishop.
Orazio Gentileschi, The Crowning of Christ, at Colnaghi.
Francois Marius, Granet Communion, 1836, at Didier Aaron.
Winslow Homer, The Breakwater, 1883, at Findlay Galleries.
Contemporary art made an impression, particularly at the installations of Cade Tompkins Projects of Providence, Rhode Island, and Anthony Grant.
Cade Tompkins in front of a watercolor by contemporary artist Nancy Friese.
Cy Twombly, Some Flowers for Suzanne (detail), 1982, at Anthony Grant.
With MDNY 2018 now a memory, Crispian Riley Smith is back in London, attending to the organizational needs of London Art Week, a sister show to Master Drawings New York that opens in that fair city on Thursday, June 28th.
Crispian Riley-Smith back in London.

Photographs courtesy of MDNY Exhibitors and Cutty McGill