Hirschl and Adler Galleries: 3 centuries of painting, sculpture and decorative arts

by leslierankowfinearts

Eric Baumgartner Senior Vice President Hirschl & Adler Galleries

Eric Baumgartner
Senior Vice President
Hirschl & Adler Galleries

HIRSCHL AND ADLER GALLERIES WAS FOUNDED IN 1952 AND HAS ENJOYED A STELLAR REPUTATION FOR PRESENTING WORKS AND EXHIBITIONS OF THE HIGHEST QUALITY OF BOTH EUROPEAN AND AMERICAN ART. THE GALLERY INVENTORY INCLUDES A DIVERSE RANGE OF MEDIUMS: PAINTINGS, WATERCOLORS, DRAWINGS, PRINTS AND SCULPTURE BUT ALL DOCUMENT THE COMMITMENT OF GALLERY OWNER, STUART FELD,  AND THE GALLERY’S STAFF,  IN RESEARCHING AND ORGANIZING EXHIBITIONS OF BOTH HISTORICAL AND CONTEMPORARY THEMES AND FEATURING INDIVIDUAL ARTISTS OF NOTE.

FOR MANY YEARS, HIRSCHL AND ADLER WAS LOCATED ON EAST 70th STREET IN AN ELEGANT TOWNHOUSE NEAR THE FRICK MUSEUM. THEIR RELATIVELY NEW HEADQUARTERS, IN THE CROWN BUILDING, 730 FIFTH AVENUE AT 57th STREET IN NEW YORK, IS AN IMPRESSIVE AND THOUGHTFUL EXPANSION OF EXHIBITION SPACE, PRIVATE VIEWING ROOMS AND INVENTORY ACCESSIBILITY. THE GALLERY’S UNIQUE AMERICAN FURNITURE COLLECTION SERVES AS AN BEAUTIFUL BACKDROP FOR THE PAINTINGS AND SCULPTURE ON DISPLAY. http://www.hirschlandadler.com/about.html

ERIC  BAUMGARTNER, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT AND DIRECTOR OF AMERICAN PAINTING AND SCULPTURE, IS KNOWLEDGEABLE AND INFORMATIVE AND ALWAYS A PLEASURE TO WORK WITH AND I AM VERY PLEASED TO INTRODUCE ERIC TO THE LRFA BLOG. HIS PASSION AND SCHOLARSHIP ON AMERICAN ART IN GENERAL AND 19th CENTURY AMERICAN HUDSON RIVER SCHOOL PAINTERS AND NEO-CLASSICAL SCULPTORS IN PARTICULAR HAVE ENRICHED ME AND MY CLIENTS WHEN VISITING THE GALLERY OR THE GALLERY’S OUTSTANDING EXHIBITION BOOTHS AT ART FAIRS THAT INCLUDE THE WINTER ANTIQUES SHOW AT THE PARK AVENUE ARMORY, NEW YORK, THE AMERICAN ART FAIR AT BOHEMIAN NATIONAL HALL ON EAST 73rd STREET OR THE FORTHCOMING ART DEALERS ASSOCIATION ART SHOW FROM MARCH 4 – 8TH. http://www.artdealers.org/the-art-show/information

ERIC, THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR TAKING THE TIME TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE LRFA BLOG.

WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF HIRSCHL & ADLER GALLERIES? WHEN WAS IT FOUNDED AND WHERE WAS IT ORIGINALLY LOCATED?

Hirschl & Adler Galleries was the brainchild of art dealers Norman Hirschl and Abraham Adler. They formed a partnership in 1953 and opened a gallery in the Marguery Hotel at 270 Park Avenue between 47th and 48th Streets. Mr. Hirschl had previously worked at the prestigious Macbeth Gallery, and, with his Macbeth colleague Alfred Duveen, rediscovered the work of the enigmatic American landscape painter Thomas Chambers. So while American art wasn’t the prime focus of the early Hirschl & Adler Galleries in the 1950s, the partners didn’t shy away from it, either.

HIRSCHL AND ADLER GALLERIES

HIRSCHL AND ADLER GALLERIES

WHAT WAS THE ORIGINAL FOCUS OF THE GALLERY AND WHAT ARTISTS AND WORKS WERE IN INVENTORY DURING ITS FORMATIVE YEARS?

One of the first gallery shows organized by the young Hirschl & Adler was Five Schools and Five Centuries of Art, a show which encapsulated the partners’ aspiration to show all schools of Western European and American art from the Renaissance into the mid-20th century. Five Schools traveled to six southern cities to popular and critical acclaim, and set the bar for hundreds of survey and monographic exhibitions that the gallery organized over the next 60 years. Hirschl & Adler’s day-to-day inventory back in the 1950s included the mainstays of art collecting at the time—Old Master portraits, English portraits from the 18th century, European genre paintings from the 19th century, Barbizon landscapes, and French Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. Toward the end of its first decade, Hirschl & Adler represented the estate of American artist Robert Henri, the leader of the so-called Ashcan School, so American art found its way into its inventory even in these early years.

Masterworks: The Best of Hirschl & Adler Installation view, 2011

Masterworks: The Best of Hirschl & Adler
Installation view, 2011

 

HOW HAS THE GALLERY EVOLVED OVER THE SIX DECADES THAT H&A HAS BEEN IN EXISTENCE?

By the mid-1960s, Norman Hirschl and Abe Adler noticed that American art—the neglected stepchild in Western art—was receiving more and more attention by art historians and museums, and recognized a business opportunity by adding American art to its formidable repertoire. They went searching for someone who could lead a new department devoted to American art, and in 1967 found Stuart Feld, who had been Associate Curator in Charge of the Department of American Paintings and Sculpture at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Stuart was a frequent visitor to Hirschl & Adler Galleries during his years as a young curator, and found many American treasures that found their way into the Museum’s collection, including two great trompe l’oeil still lifes by William Harnett and Jefferson David Chalfant. Under Stuart’s guidance and vision over the next 46 years, Hirschl & Adler’s focus shifted to American art, and it quickly became a leading specialist in the field.

Masterworks: The Best of Hirschl & Adler Installation view, 2011

Masterworks: The Best of Hirschl & Adler
Installation view, 2011

STUART FELD IS PRESIDENT OF HIRSCHL & ADLER. FOR HOW MANY YEARS HAS HE HELD THAT POSITION AND WHAT IS HIS PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND IN THE ART WORLD?

Stuart joined Hirschl & Adler in 1967. He holds a Master’s of Arts from Harvard University, where he was one of the first graduate students to specialize in the various arts of the United States. He worked as a teaching fellow at Phillips Academy in Andover, MA, and assisted the director of the Academy’s Addison Gallery of American Art. In 1961, Stuart was granted a fellowship at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and eventually served as Associate Curator of American Paintings and Sculpture. In 1965, he co-authored the first catalogue of The Met’s American art collection. He was invited to join Hirschl & Adler Galleries to spearhead a new department devoted to American art. The new department proved to be so successful that, by 1982, Stuart became the gallery’s sole proprietor.

IN OUR NEXT BLOG, ERIC WILL SHARE HIS ACADEMIC AND PROFESSIONAL HISTORY. ERIC IS A GREAT RACONTEUR AS WELL AS A SEASONED DEALER IN AMERICAN ART. PLEASE TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO VOICE ANY QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS THAT YOU HAVE ON THIS RICH AND SIGNIFICANT ASPECT OF THE ARTS. I KNOW HIS REPLIES WILL BE BOTH INFORMATIVE AND ENGAGING.

THANK YOU!