Curatorial expertise- a stronghold at James Reinish Inc.
JAMES REINISH AND ANN YAFFE PHILLIPS, OF JAMES REINISH & ASSOCIATES, BOTH ENTHUSIASTIC PROPONENTS OF AMERICAN AND EUROPEAN MODERNISM, COMBINE THEIR PROFESSIONAL RESOURCES AND AREAS OF EXPERTISE TO PROVIDE ASTUTE GUIDANCE IN BOTH AN ART MARKET ANALYSIS AND ART HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF ARTISTS OF THIS PERIOD. JAMES REINISH AND ASSOCIATES INC. SHOWS WORKS OF EXCELLENT QUALITY BY APPOINTMENT AND BY CURATING RELEVANT, TOPICAL EXHIBITIONS IN THEIR BEAUTIFUL, LIGHT-FILLED GALLERY TOWNHOUSE AT 25 EAST 73rd STREET, OFF MADISON AVENUE, IN NEW YORK CITY. http://jamesreinish.com/
AT ALL TIMES, A VISIT TO THE GALLERY AFFORDS ME AND MY CLIENTS AN OPPORTUNITY TO SEE WORKS THAT ARE FRESH TO THE MARKET AND LEARN EXCITING DETAILS ABOUT EACH WORK, ITS PROVENANCE AND ITS PLACE IN THE CONTEXT OF THE PERIOD, STYLISTICALLY AS WELL AS CHRONOLOGICALLY. OFTEN, THE GALLERY LAUNCHES A MAGNETIC THEME SHOW BASED ON A PERIOD OF ART, A GENRE SUCH AS STILL LIFE, OR A MEDIUM SUCH AS WORKS ON PAPER OR COLLAGE. WHATEVER THE TOPIC, EACH VISIT ENRICHES BOTH THE EYE AND THE MIND.
TODAY, JIM AND ANN WILL INFORM US ON THE EARLY MODERNIST PERIOD, A TIME OF GREAT CREATIVITY AND AMERICAN IDENTITY IN OUR HISTORY OF ART. THANK YOU BOTH!
WHAT DO YOU FIND ARE THE MOST SIGNIFICANT CHARACTERISTICS OF ART OF THIS PERIOD THAT CONTRIBUTE TO YOUR APPRECIATION OF IT AND FOCUS UPON IT?
There is something about the energy and inventiveness of the early Modernists . The Stieglitz artists and the Precisionists were certainly influenced by what they saw in Europe – every artist was –but they were trying to come up with their own vocabulary. And they didn’t care about painting pretty pictures – they were challenged by difficult, even dark images and ideas.
YOUR MOST RECENT EXHIBITION FOCUSED ON THE MODERN STILL LIFE, FROM 1910-1970. THIS IS SUCH A PIVOTAL SUBJECT MATTER FOR MODERNIST ARTISTS.
HOW DO EXPLAIN THEIR FASCINATION. ONE THOUGHT COMES TO MIND THAT PICASSO AND BRAQUE, AND INITIALLY CEZANNE WHO INSPIRED THE FRENCH CUBISTS, WERE CELEBRATED FOR THEIR STILL LIFE PAINTING. DO YOU THINK THAT HAS ANYTHING TO DO WITH IT?
I definitely think that the American artists of that period, many of whom traveled to and worked in Paris, were influenced by the Parisian avant-garde and certainly absorbed their choice of subject matter. Cubism was a new pictorial language then and still life played an important role in the development of that vocabulary. But let’s not forget the long tradition of still life painting in American art, starting with the Peales, Severin Roesen, Peto, Harnett and many others.
WHAT ARTISTS WERE INCLUDED IN THE EXHIBIT? HOW DO YOU SELECT WORKS FOR A THEMATIC EXHIBITION OR DO THE WORKS IN INVENTORY INSPIRE AN EXHIBITION
We don’t have a huge space and knew we couldn’t hang more than 25 or 30 objects. We had a strong group of still life pictures in inventory – Alfred Maurer, Alex Katz, Fairfield Porter, Joseph Stella, and more – and those pictures became the point of departure. We established categories – Cubist works, Precisionist examples, Expressionist pictures, Hard Edge Realism, etc., and then set about trying to fill in what we were missing.
THE GALLERY HAS ORGANIZED EXHIBITIONS OF GREAT DEPTH AND BREADTH SINCE ITS FORMATION IN 2009. WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE PAST EXHIBITIONS AND WHAT ARE SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHTS OF THOSE EXHIBITIONS?
One of our favorite exhibitions was “Precarious Balance: Noguchi’s Sculpture of the 1940s in Context” in 2010. We had a superb Noguchi interlocking slate sculpture from 1945 from a private collection – the family had owned the work since the 1960s. We decided to surround this work with pictures and sculpture by other artists of that moment – Louise Bourgeois, Herbert Ferber, David Hare, Baziotes, Gorky, Gottlieb, Roszak among others. We ended up selling the sculpture to the Newark Museum. Another favorite was “Through the Window”, which was a selective tour of American 20th Century art as seen by artists through the motif of the window. It began with modernists such as Hartley and Marin, moved through Hopper, Tooker, Wyeth, Cornell and Avery and ended with some contemporary artists and photographers such as Lee Friedlander, Nicholas Nixon and one of my personal favorites, Wolfgang Tillmans. One of our missions is to create these bridges from 20th century American art to the artists of today. We have also curated exhibitions focusing on one or more aspects of the Modernist movement. Perhaps our most ambitious exhibition was “Forms of the Fifties: Tendencies in Midcentury Fine and Decorative Arts” which included furniture and ceramics in addition to paintings, sculpture and works on paper.
THE GALLERY HAS ENJOYED NOTABLE SALES OF MODERNIST WORKS OF THE HIGHEST CALIBER THAT INCLUDE WORKS BY SUCH CELEBRATED ARTISTS AS STUART DAVIS, ARTHUR DOVE, MARSDEN HARTLEY AND CHARLES SHEELER. WHAT DEFINES A NOTABLE SALE? DOES IT INCLUDE THE PROVENANCE OF THE WORK, ITS QUALITY, AND/OR THE COLLECTION, PUBLIC OR PRIVATE, IN WHICH IT IS PLACED?
It all starts with quality. But add to that rarity and historical significance. And then the icing on the cake might be major museum exhibitions in which a work has been exhibited and certainly important collections in which a work has been included. It’s always a feather in our caps to sell an important work to an important institution, but the likelihood of ever getting those pictures is slim to none. Selling to a major private collection is also a mark of distinction and those works might fall back in your lap someday. Maybe I’ve been doing this for too long, but I’ve sold a handful of art works 3 or 4 times since I’ve been an art dealer.
IN OUR NEXT BLOG, WE WILL HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO GAIN AN INSIDER’S VIEW OF THE HISTORICAL EVOLUTION OF “ART AS COLLATERAL”. IT IS WELL-DOCUMENTED, AT THE PRESENT TIME, THAT ART CAN BE CONSIDERED AN ALTERNATIVE AREA OF INVESTMENT. ONE OF THE SIGNIFICANT FORERUNNERS OF THIS CONCEPT WAS CITIBANK, INITIATING WHAT WAS THEN AN INNOVATIVE IDEA, THE CREATION OF A FINANCIAL LENDING ARM TO COLLECTORS IN WHICH THE ACTUAL ART WORK SERVED AS COLLATERAL. ANN YAFFE PHILLIPS, A FORMER DIRECTOR AT CITIGROUP ART ADVISORY SERVICES, HAS THE INSIGHT AND EXPERIENCE TO SHARE THIS PERSPECTIVE WITH US.
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS TO POSE TO JIM AND ANN, PLEASE DO SO. THEIR OPENNESS, GREAT HUMOR, DELIGHT AND INVOLVEMENT IN OUR PROFESSION MAKE THEM EXCELLENT CANDIDATES TO PROVIDE DETAILED AND INFORMATIVE RESPONSES. I KNOW WE CAN ALL TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THEIR EXPERTISE.
UNTIL THEN… THANKS FOR READING!