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|Art Show 2000
by Meredith Mendelsohn
The 12th Annual Art Show -- the biggest fair for blue-chip U.S. art dealers -- rolls into the Seventh Regiment Armory at Park Avenue and 67th Street, Feb. 23-26. Sponsored by the Art Dealers' Association of America (ADAA), the fair includes 70 ADAA members, who work hard to find stellar Modernist works to showcase. The only thing missing is a certain buzz that more international fairs seem to generate. (For that, there's the five-year-old Armory Show, which opens Feb. 24 at the New North Pavillion, 39th St. and 11th Ave.)
But if you're looking for Picasso and Leger, Pollock, Kline and Rothko, the Art Show is the place to go. It contains quite a number of works fresh to the market -- many of which will probably be snatched up by the time you read this article.
Achim Möller of New York, for example, is featuring a Charles Demuth still life of a bouquet of flowers done in 1925. Priced at $370,000, the painting has never been on the market before -- the Rockefeller family acquired it directly from the artist decades ago and is only now offering it for sale. Jan Krugier, who represents the estate of Marina Picasso, has a Cubist painting thought to be of Olga Koklova, Picasso's first wife and Marina's grandmother. The oil on canvas has never been exhibited in the U.S. and is priced at $2.5 million. And Greenberg Van Doren of St. Louis is presenting a new work from the Sam Francis estate -- Untitled Blue Balls (1962). It's big and bold, like the title of this series, and also costs $2.5 million.
Photography is somewhat scarce, with only three galleries who specialize in the medium. New York dealer Laurence Miller, who is participating in the Art Show for the first time, has the perfect find for a titan of Wall Street -- a rare Edward Steichen 1903 vintage print of a scowling J.P. Morgan, priced at $195,000. Miller also has very contemporary material, including four 65 x 52 in. color photographs from the late 1990s "Urban Archaeology" series by French artist Stephane Couturier. Large format color photos clearly have considerable appeal for collectors -- witness recent sold-out shows by Andreas Gursky and Thomas Struth -- and Couturier's prints, priced at $8,500 to $12,500 in an edition of five, are a bargain.
Overall, though, there aren't many works by younger contemporary artists. ADAA galleries that are known for their avant-garde offerings -- Metro Pictures, Barbara Gladstone, Marian Goodman -- seem to have opted for the aforementioned Armory Show. Veteran dealer Holly Solomon, who closed her SoHo gallery earlier this season, is doing both fairs. Her Art Show booth is filled with works by Nam June Paik, subject of a retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum. Featured prominently is Mini George Maciunas (1994) -- an homage to the Fluxus founder.
As for Old Masters, David Tunick features a mini exhibition of over 60 Albrecht Durer prints, including a complete set of the Apocalypse (1498) series. Standing in Tunick's booth, enveloped by Durer's deliciously macabre images, it's easy to forget you're in a marketplace.
MEREDITH MENDELSOHN is associate editor of Artnet Magazine.