Collecting prints with curator and expert, Jeff Bergman, director of Pace Prints
THE ART OF PRINTMAKING CAN BE EFFECTIVELY VIEWED FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE PRINT WORKSHOPS THAT PUBLISH THE EDITIONS. THE STUDIO INVITES ARTISTS TO PUBLISH AN EDITION AND IT IS VERY MUCH A COLLABORATION BETWEEN THE MASTER PRINTMAKER AND THE ARTIST WHO OFTEN FINDS A NEW AND RICH VISUAL VOCABULARY INSPIRED BY PRINTMAKING TECHNIQUES.
IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY, MAJOR ATELIERS IN EUROPE PRODUCED SOME OF THE PRINTS THAT ARE THE MOST HIGHLY VALUED IN TODAY’S PRINT MARKET. GALERIE LOUISE LEIRIS, A STUDIO IN PARIS, PUBLISHED MANY OF PICASSO’S PRINTS AND MOURLOT ENGAGED NOT ONLY PICASSO BUT ALSO MATISSE, ALEXANDER CALDER, GEORGES BRAQUE AND LEGER TO BRING THE WORK OF THESE SIGNIFICANT MASTERS TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC IN A RELATIVELY ACCESSIBLE FORM.
IN POST-WAR AMERICA, LONG ISLAND BASED U.L.A.E. FOUNDER, TANYA GROSSMAN, WAS RENOWNED FOR HER COLLABORATIVE WORK WITH JASPER JOHNS, JAMES ROSENQUIST AND CY TWOMBLY TO NAME A VERY FEW OF THE ARTISTS WHO EXPERIMENTED WITH INNOVATIVE PRINTMAKING TECHNIQUES AT HER WORKSHOP. IN LOS ANGELES, GEMINI G.E.L. FORMED FRIENDSHIPS WITH “LOCAL” ARTISTS SAM FRANCIS, KEN PRICE, ED RUSCHA AND BRITISH EX-PAT DAVID HOCKNEY. IDENTIFYING THE PUBLISHER AND THEIR REPUTATION FOR INSPIRED INTERACTION BETWEEN PRINTMAKER AND ARTIST PROVIDES THE COLLECTOR A VALUABLE TOOL WHEN CONSIDERING WORKS IN THE PRINT ART MARKET.
HERE IN NEW YORK, PACE PRINTS ENJOYS A 48- YEAR HISTORY OF COLLABORATING WITH MASTERS AND INNOVATORS OF PRINTMAKING.
TODAY, THE LRFA BLOG IS VERY PLEASED TO WELCOME BACK JEFF BERGMAN, GALLERY DIRECTOR.
JEFF, PRIOR TO PACE, YOU WERE A DIRECTOR AT JOHN SZOKE EDITIONS, KNOWN FOR PRINTS BY PICASSO, EDVARD MUNCH AND OTHER MODERN MASTERS. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHTS OF YOUR EXPERIENCE AT THIS GALLERY?
John was kind enough to give me a job with no commercial art sales experience. At the time, he was transitioning from his work as a publisher to becoming one of a handful of expert Picasso print dealers. One highlight was seeing impressions and states of prints together, especially two states of Picasso’s Minotauromachy (La Minotauromachie), 1935, John helped me see the work evolve over time.
YOU HAVE CURATED SOME WONDERFUL EXHIBITIONS IN ADDITION TO YOUR WORK AT PACE. WHAT ARE SOME CURATORIAL PROJECTS THAT RESONATE THE MOST STRONGLY? DO YOU PROPOSE A THEME FOR AN EXHIBITION?
Rachel Gladfelter, a friend and fellow Director at Pace Prints, co-curated a show called Fold at Planthouse Gallery in 2015. We did not focus on prints but it did include printmaking. The artists we were able to show are pushing the picture plane in different directions. The artists, Anders Bergstrom, Martha Willete Lewis, Matt Magee and Rachel Ostrow are all art workers as well so we had met them all in different contexts. The show was successful because of the generosity of those artists and the gallery principals at Planthouse. One of the pieces that was in the show, “Brown Bag Test, December 21, 2014, Proof and Counterproof” by Anders Bergstrom, was acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and has been exhibited at the Met already. I get to work with Museum collections often at Pace Prints, but it was especially exciting seeing work we chose for our exhibition selected for the Met.
Press Release FOLD at Planthouse Gallery http://planthouse.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Planthouse-press-release_FOLD-2.pdf
WHEN DID YOU JOIN PACE PRINTS AND WHAT WAS THE GALLERY AND PUBLISHING ARM LIKE AT THE TIME?
I joined 10 years ago while Pace Prints was expanding. We went from 1 gallery and 1 print shop to 2 galleries and 3 print shops in about 2 years. We continue to work with some of the most outstanding contemporary artists to create dozens of new works and exhibitions every year.
RICHARD SOLOMON FOUNDED PACE PRINTS IN 1968. I KNOW THAT DICK HAS AN MBA FROM HARVARD. WHAT LED HIM INTO THE ART BUSINESS IN GENERAL AND PRINT PUBLISHING IN PARTICULAR?
Dick Solomon is passionate about art and has been for decades. I believe he met Arne Glimcher in Boston right when Arne opened Pace Gallery. Beyond that, you’d have to ask the man himself.
WHO WERE THE FIRST ARTISTS THAT HE INVITED TO WORK WITH HIM?
Jean Dubuffet, Nicolas Krushenick, Louise Nevelson and Lucas Samaras. The Lucas Samaras edition “Book” from 1968 was the very first project Pace Editions published.
WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PACE GALLERY AND PACE PRINTS IN TERMS OF THE ARTISTS THAT WORK WITH PACE PRINTS TO PUBLISH EDITIONS?
Historically we have published editions with Pace Gallery artists and in recent years have welcomed collaborations with artists represented by many galleries.
IN AN INTERVIEW IN ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST WITH DICK SOLOMON IN AUGUST 2010, WITH AD CONTRIBUTOR STEVEN M.L. ARONSON,
THE AUTHOR COMMENTS:
AT PACE PRINTS, ONE OF THE BIGGEST OPERATIONS THAT PUBLISHES AND SELLS ARTISTS’ PRINTS AND MULTIPLES, AND WHICH YOU’RE THE LONGTIME PRESIDENT OF, ONE IS ALLOWED, EVEN ENCOURAGED, TO GO INTO THE STACKS AND PULL THINGS OUT AND CONSIDER THEM, PRESSURE-FREE.
IS THIS WELCOMING AND UNPRETENTIOUS ATTITUDE CHARACTERISTIC OF PACE PRINTS TODAY?
We do have racks of art that are open to the public (we even wrote it on the wall) with names and prices on each piece. We offer help to anyone who comes in and we allow people to explore if that is what they prefer. We are transparent about pricing and always happy to speak with new people whether they are buyers or new to prints entirely.
Prints should be the most democratic works of art to collect. We try and make it clear what we have and how much it is and if we don’t have it, where to go look.
JEFF, THANK YOU!
IN OUR NEXT POST, JEFF WILL PROVIDE INVALUABLE GUIDANCE TO BOTH THE NASCENT AND ESTABLISHED PRINT COLLECTOR. PLEASE JOIN US!
DROP INTO PACE PRINTS 57th STREET AND CHELSEA THIS SUMMER TO VIEW A WONDERFUL GROUP EXHIBITION OF RECENT WORKS: SELECTIONS.