Van de Weghe Fine Art, a stellar exhibition history from Magritte to Carl Andre
CENTRAL PARK IS A SINGULAR DESTINATION IN NEW YORK. WHILE UPTOWN NO LONGER HAS A MONOPOLY ON UPSCALE LIVING, IT DISTINGUISHES ITSELF AS A HEARTLAND FOR EXCELLENT SCHOOLS, CLASSIC RESIDENCES, GREAT DINING AND THE LEGENDARY MUSEUM MILE THAT INCLUDES THE METROPOLITAN, MET BREUER AND THE GUGGENHEIM. IN THE LATE 19th CENTURY, NEW YORK’S ROBBER BARONS BEGAN BUILDING ALONG THAT STRETCH OF FIFTH AVENUE, PRIVATE RESIDENCES THEN, MUSEUMS NOW SUCH AS HENRY CLAY FRICK’S MANSION ON 70th AND FIFTH AVENUE AND THE NEUE GALLERY NEW YORK ON 86th STREET OFF FIFTH. BUILT BY INDUSTRIALIST WILLIAM STARR MILLER’S AND LATER OCCUPIED BY MRS. CORNELIUS VANDERBILT III, THE NEUE GALERIE WAS RESTORED TO ITS ORIGINAL CONDITION BY THE BRILLIANT ARCHITECT ANNABELLE SELLDORF WITH SUBTLE ADDITIONS OF ALL THE MODERN STANDARDS REQUIRED BY TODAY’S MUSEUMS.
IN 2008, VAN DE WEGHE FINE ART RETURNED TO THE UPPER EAST SIDE TO OPEN A SECOND GALLERY AT 1018 MADISON AVENUE BETWEEN 78TH AND 79TH STREET, ULTIMATELY CONSOLIDATING TO THIS SINGLE NEW YORK VENUE. SINCE ITS INCEPTION IN 1999, THE GALLERY HAS PRESENTED SECONDARY MARKET MODERN, POST-WAR AND CONTEMPORARY EUROPEAN AND AMERICAN MASTERS. THE GALLERY HAS A LOYAL AND HARD-WORKING TEAM THAT ALLOWS CHRISTOPHE TO TRAVEL WORLDWIDE TO VISIT COLLECTORS AND TO PARTICIPATE IN THE ART FAIRS THAT TAKE PLACE AROUND THE WORLD.
VAN DE WEGHE FINE ART, 1018 MADISON, IS HOUSED IN A LANDMARK ART BUILDING LOCATED BETWEEN 78th and 79th STREET NOTED FOR ITS BLACK AND WHITE TERRAZZO SIDEWALK CREATED BY ALEXANDER CALDER IN 1970.
I was the first gallery in Chelsea to show secondary market works in an exposed public space, giving the public, dealers and collectors access to my material. Most collectors of secondary market works tend to congregate uptown and stay in hotels or have homes on the Upper East Side. I had always loved the 1018 building and when Per Skarstedt’s space became available, I was excited to be in a space of his again.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE EXHIBITIONS AT 1018 MADISON THAT STAND OUT AND WHY? YOUR EXHIBITION HISTORY COVERS SUCH A WIDE SPECTRUM OF ARTISTS AND SIGNIFICANT MODERN MOVEMENTS. WHAT IS THE THINKING BEHIND YOUR CURATORIAL PROGRAM?
My thinking has always been very consistent. If I like a work as a collector and would want it in my home, then I will buy it.
Our 2016 exhibition of works by Rene Magritte has a special resonance for me. I feel close to him as he is a Belgian artist and my favorite surrealist and there is my family connection with the Magritte Room at the Grand Casino in Knokke.
Our exhibit concentrated on the paintings, gouaches and drawings Magritte made in the 1940s and 50s. Magritte had developed a rich vocabulary of images of everyday objects and, unlike many surrealists, utilized the techniques and materials we associate with academic representation. While other surrealist painters tend towards a biomorphic abstract style, I am drawn to the simplicity and directness of Magritte’s images that also offer a wealth of meanings, symbols and poetic metaphor.
THE GALLERY HAS PRESENTED SEVERAL EXHIBITIONS OF THE WORK OF DUANE HANSON.
Yes, the gallery has worked with the estate of Duane Hanson for many years. I view him as one of the most important and influential American sculptors of our time. Hanson’s hyper-realists figurative works of the 1960s represent a radical return to figuration following a long period of abstraction in American art. His work was somewhat radical for its time. He studied at Cranbrook at a time when abstract art reigned, yet he embraced the figure and was a spokesman for the socio-political conscience of his time.
The works are cast from life, family, friends and neighbors often dressed in second-hand clothing. Life-size and lifelike, made of cast fiberglass and polyester resin, the figures are so faithful to reality that they often fool the public into believing they are real. In our 2013 Hanson exhibit, we concentrated on sculptures of ordinary people in everyday situations. Traveller, a bronze completed in 1987, presents a tourist who has taken a respite from his journey taking an improvised nap atop his baggage. In Bus Stop Lady, a polyvinyl work from 1983, a middle-aged woman waits for a ride with her shopping bags. Both these subjects reflect a momentary pause en route to an unknown destination.
In 2014, we installed Hanson’s Chinese Student, 1989: Remembering Tiananmen Square, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the protests. In the late 1960s Hanson began to address social and political subjects in his brutally realist manner. In Chinese Student, Hanson marries the political with the personal. An ordinary student turned political activist sits on the ground holding a protest sign, human in his vulnerability yet symbolic of the political violence.
THE RANGE OF EXHIBITIONS IS SO BROAD WITH THE SINGULAR CRITERIA OF QUALITY AND ART HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE AS THE COHESIVE THREAD. YOU OFTEN EXHIBIT WORKS BY THE MINIMALIST WORKS, A PERIOD I PARTICULARLY APPRECIATE. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE EXHIBITIONS THAT DOCUMENT THIS MOVEMENT?
IN 2014, we juxtaposed the works of Carl Andre with those of Donald Judd. Both artists are key figures in Minimalism, using industrial and simple materials and repetitive forms to explore our sense of time and space. Both Andre and Judd are emphatically non-representational artists, creating seemingly simple works that demand close attention.
Andre is best known for his floor installations, consisting of tile-like metal forms, and I was very pleased to be able to offer two strikingly different examples of these. 81 Ace Zinc Square, 2007 is a sprawling plane of 81 zinc plates arranged in a square with a mottled metallic surface. It occupied most of the floor in the main gallery while 6 Glarus Copper Integer, 2002 is a small arrangement in brilliant copper.
Judd, an art writer and theoretician as well as an artist, created simple, elegant forms from industrial materials: metals, plywood, concrete and Plexi. We were able to present a group of works that represent the series for which he is best known. Untitled, 1995, a “Swiss Box” aluminum enameled in reds and blues showcases Judd’s sense as a colorist while Untitled, 1969-1970, a bull-nosed “Progression” in shining brass, is emblematic of Judd’s elegant simplicity of form and material.
THE ART FAIR HAS DEVELOPED AN INTEGRAL PRESENCE IN THE ART MARKET, OFFERING A LEVEL OF CONCENTRATED SALES AND EXPOSURE TO COLLECTORS WORLDWIDE. MANY COLLECTORS PREFER ATTENDING FAIRS AS THEY PROVIDE A WIDE SPECTRUM OF ART IN A CONCENTRATED VENUE.
VAN DE WEGHE FINE ART IS A STELLAR PARTICIPANT IN THE BEST INTERNATIONAL FAIRS, CAREFULLY CURATING EACH BOOTH WITH WORKS BY ESTABLISHED MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY MASTERS. IN OUR NEXT LRFA BLOG POST, CHRISTOPHE WILL SHARE HIS THINKING ON THIS SIGNIFICANT ASPECT OF THE ART BUSINESS.
YOUR COMMENTS AND READERSHIP ARE VERY MUCH APPRECIATED!