Andy Schoelkopf offers his expert perspective on the American art market

by leslierankowfinearts

2010 Booth 3FOUNDED IN 2001, MENCONI AND SCHOELKOPF FINE ART OFFERS A FULL RANGE OF AMERICAN ART, FROM EARLY 19th CENTURY THROUGH MID-20th.  SUSAN MENCONI AND ANDREW SCHOELKOPF BRING TO THE BUSINESS DECADES OF EXPERIENCE IN WORKING WITH AMERICAN PAINTINGS, DRAWINGS, WATERCOLORS AND SCULPTURE. THE GALLERY, AT 13 East 69th Street, New York City, ALWAYS HAS A WONDERFUL INVENTORY OF WORKS OF DIVERSE PERIODS AND MEDIUMS.  http://www.msfineart.com

LAST WEEK, ANDY INFORMED US OF HIS BACKGROUND IN THE ARTS – A LEGACY HE INHERITED FROM HIS PARENTS WHO FOUNDED A HIGHLY RESPECTED GALLERY THAT REPRESENTED ARTISTS SUCH AS MILTON AVERY AS THEIR CAREERS WERE JUST DEVELOPING. HIS BUSINESS PARTNER, SUSAN MENCONI, HAS HAD A DISTINGUISHED HISTORY AT HIRSCHL AND ADLER GALLERIES, CURATING EXTRAORDINARY SHOW THAT I REMEMBER VERY DISTINCTLY, AND AS DIRECTOR AT THE OUTSTANDING RICHARD YORK GALLERY.

ANDY, THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR TAKING THE TIME TO PARTICIPATE IN THE LRFA BLOG. IT IS ALWAYS A PLEASURE TO SPEAK WITH YOU.

THE SCOPE OF YOUR INVENTORY SPANS TWO CENTURIES, STARTING WITH NINETEENTH CENTURY PAINTINGS, SCULPTURE, AND WORKS ON PAPER. DOES ANY PARTICULAR MEDIUM OR PERIOD OF WORK DOMINATE YOUR DEALER INTERESTS AND THE INVENTORY AT THE GALLERY?

No one medium or period dominates, but we do have a few areas of focus where we can add the most value.  For example, we have sold a great many of the finest Luminist paintings and some extremely important works by the artists of the Hudson River School, the American Impressionists, and we have an extremely robust business in American Modernism where we focus on works from about 1910 up through 1950.

HOW DO YOU VIEW THE RESPONSE OF THE AMERICAN ART MARKET TO THE COLLAPSE OF THE FINANCIAL MARKET IN 2008, SYMBOLIZED BY LEHMAN BROTHERS’ CLOSING, BUT INVOLVING, AS WE KNOW, ALL FINANCIAL INVESTMENT HOUSES AND BANKS?

The market did what it has done every time there has been a real seizure in the financial markets of the United States, it basically stopped functioning properly and froze in place.  The real issue is that collectors become very focused on the state of the financial markets and they can’t invest the money or time required to collect art confidently.  Through a number of these market “crashes” over the past thirty years, we have seen that buyers and sellers find themselves too far apart on value and expectations and that creates a lot of friction in the market and few deals get done.  Buyers, of course, keep in mind the lowest figure they hear in times like those and sellers keep in mind the highest price they have heard.  When the market stops functioning properly the gap between those two expectations gets much broader.  In truth, this illiquidity creates a tremendous opportunity for museums and dedicated private collectors who stick it out and find works of art that might not be available to them in different circumstances.

HOW DO THESE MORE RECENT EVENTS COMPARE TO THE ACCOUNTS YOU HAVE CULLED AND STUDIED IN EARLIER PERIODS OF AMERICAN ART?

We are just out of it, so I suppose that means that this one still stings more than previous market jitters.  And, of course, the scale of the financial turmoil in 2008 and 2009 was really much grander than anything we have lived through, so this is not terribly surprising.  I think it is also true that the rebound may be quicker and more robust than any I remember because we are incredibly busy now and had a great year in 2012.  Things seem to be functioning quite well now and I personally feel more bullish about the market now than I did in 2006-2007.

Item # 2843 photo

WE ARE APPROACHING THE 100th ANNIVERSARY OF THE INFLUENTIAL 1913 ARMORY SHOW, THAT TRULY REVOLUTIONIZED OUR DEFINIITION OF ART WITH THE INTRODUCTION OF CUBISM, THE FRAGMENTATION OF IMAGE AND PERSPECTIVE, THE USE OF COLLAGE ELEMENTS THAT INTRODUCED THE ADOPTION OF WORDS AND LETTERS INTO “HIGH ART”, AND THE LIBERATION FROM REALISTIC REPRESENTATIONAL WORK TO ABSTRACTION.

WHAT A WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITY FOR US TO UNDERSTAND THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS EXHIBITION ON MODERNIST WITH ANDY SCHOELKOPF’S PROFOUND KNOWLEDGE OF THIS PERIOD. IN OUR NEXT BLOG.

ANDY WILL DISCUSS ITS INFLUENCE IN AESTHETIC TERMS AND ALSO AS IT AFFECTS THE ART BUYING PUBLIC FOR WORKS OF THIS PERIOD.

UNTIL THEN!