Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Art all around

Met Life Building in tribute to Monet. 8:50 PM. Photo: JH.
Another beautiful sunny day in May in New York. Lunch with Liz Smith talking about the internet where Broadway and Hollywood’s premiere columnist is heading in the autumn. We’ll be able to read the lady all over the world. Finally.

Last night, art night; two stops. James Graham & Sons gallery on 1014 Madison between 78th and 79th. They are celebrating their 150th anniversary in the gallery business – the second oldest family owned gallery in America (after Vose in Boston). The business was started in 1857 by a Scottish immigrant named Samuel Graham, who sold “Furniture.”

DPC and Liz Smith at Michael's  
Elizabeth Lindemann and her father Robin Graham of James Graham & Sons
Many an art dealer got started in antiques in those days when a customer would be looking for a piece of art – a painting or a sculpture. It was the third generation, namely James Graham who had a strong interest in painting and sculpture of the American West. One of Mr. Graham’s significant clients was Amon Carter, whose collection became a Fort Worth museum bearing his name.

Today, James Graham & Sons is recognized as a leading authority in numerous genres of American art, specializing in the Hudson River School, American Impressionism, the Ashcan School, the Eight and the Stieglitz Circle.  The sculpture department of the gallery is known for American and European bronzes from the 19th and 20th centuries, as well as Modernist and contemporary work.  

To celebrate their anniversary, the gallery has an exhibition, James Graham & Sons: A Century and a Half in the Art Business, showcasing highlights from the gallery’s history.  Many of the works are now in the collection of museums.

The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, are among the major lenders to the exhibition. Many important works of art have been exhibited in the gallery over the past 150 years including work by such American artists as Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Hart Benton, Martin Johnson Heade, Oscar Bluemner, James Peale, Sanford Robinson Gifford, Guy Pène du Bois, Andrew Wyeth, Alice Neel, Frederic Remington and Augustus Saint-Gaudens. New paintings from contemporary gallery artists such as Stephen Hannock and Nancy Lorenz will also be on view.

The exhibition runs through June 29th. Don’t miss.
People of Chilmark, Thos Hart Benton 1920. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, gift of Joseph H. Hirshhorn.
Eye of Fate. Oscar Bluemner, 1927. Museum of Modern Art, gift of James Graham & Sons.
Childe Hassam, Just Off the Avenue, Fifty-third Street, May 1916. Private Collection.
Guy Pene du Bois, Night Club, 1933. Hirschhorn Museum, gift of Mr. Hirshhorn.
From Graham I walked down the avenue to the Wildenstein gallery on East 64th Street between Madison and Fifth to another art exhibition, celebrating not a birthday but the art/culture/ business/social synergy of 21st century New York. The House of Ruinart (champagne) was hosting a champagne reception (very good champagne too) with Wildenstein. Their guests were the Young Patrons Circle of the American Friends of the Louvre, and the occasion was a preview viewing of their exhibition: Claude Monet: A Tribute to Daniel Wildenstein and Katia Granoff

Monet, The Red House, Venice, 1908.
The exhibition features over sixty paintings from public institutions and private collections, some rarely or never seen.  The “Young Patrons” hosts were Kipton Cronkite and Olivia Chantecaille. Christopher Forbes, Chairman of the American Friends of the Louvre, introduced the evening.

The Louvre is visited by more than a million Americans every year – almost 20% of its total annual visitors. As a result there’s an American organization that helps support the museum’s programs, exhibitions and making the permanent collection more accessible to English speaking visitors. The Young Patrons will help advance that mission. It’ll also give a lot of younger art patrons, mavens, etc., the opportunity for special visits and trips organized by the Louvre. Read: grand and exquisite travel plans.

There were about sixty “Friends” attending including Adelina Wong Ettelson, Nicole Hanley, Annabel Vartanian, Alex Zoullas, Charles Bich, and Fabiola Bercasa.

The Wildenstein occupies a stately limestone mansion reminiscent of Paris. The exhibition at the top of a grand staircase in the second galleries is rich and covers more than 40 years of the painter’s work. The exhibition celebrates the completion of the catalogue raisonne started more than a half century ago by Daniel Wildenstein and Katia Granoff. It is a collector’s and an art historian’s dream.

Like the Graham gallery, the Wildenstein is an old family gallery, founded in Paris 130 years ago by Nathan Wildenstein. Some of the greatest masterpieces found in museums and art foundations throughout the world have at one time or another passed through the hands of Wildenstein.
Monet, Bordigherra, the Sasso Valley, 1884. Private collection.
Adolph Monet in the Garden of "Le Coteau" at Sainte-Adresse, 1867.

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