700 Glorious Years of Art History Presented by 25 of the World’s Leading Fine Art Dealers
A very successful edition of Master Drawings New York concluded on Saturday, February 1, with robust sales and excellent attendance throughout. The Preview Evening on January 24, drew collectors and museum curators from all over the world who converged on New York for one of the most important weeks on the fine art calendar. Continuing the tradition of presenting works of supreme quality and diversity, Master Drawings New York has maintained its position as the premier showcase for intimate gallery exhibitions displaying artworks spanning 700 years of art history. While the event focuses primarily on drawings from the 14th to the 21st centuries, there were a selection of top dealers also displaying prime examples of sculpture and painting. Originally conceived as an annual gallery-walk, Master Drawings New York has grown into a dynamic, ‘must-see’ event, receiving strong support as its range and influence has grown each year.
Many of the artworks offered were newly discovered or had not been seen on the market in decades, if at all. Having spent months gathering rarities for this year’s edition, the 25 participating exhibitors unveiled new surprises to a keen and scholarly group of collectors and institutions. Sales overall were robust and museum buying, in particular, was extremely active with several pieces going to high-profile institutions. Highly coveted works were snapped up in the opening hours of the event and steady business was sustained throughout the week.
“In 2006 when we first began Master Drawings New York, we had only 16 participating dealers. Since then it has grown in size and reputation and with each year, achieves greater success,” says Crispian Riley-Smith, co-founding director of Master Drawings New York. “This year has been no exception with strong exhibitor sales, sold out partnership events and enthusiasm and engagement from all the key cultural and commercial stakeholders in New York. We look forward to building on this for 2021.”
An impressive number of museums, curators and organizations attended, including J. Paul Getty Museum, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, Minneapolis Institute of Art, The Morgan Library and Museum, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, Cleveland Museum of Art, The Courtauld Gallery, London, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, among others.
Participating exhibitors echoed this refrain. “We had more visitors than I can remember ever before in a Master Drawings New York week, and we've been participating since the beginning. We made sales to both major museums and private collectors, including some new to us. It is truly the only exhibition we do every year that works like a successful art fair in attracting a steady stream of curators and collectors from near and far, with some returning two and three times within the week,” commented David Tunick of David Tunick, Inc.
Cade Tompkins of Cade Tompkins Projects shared, “It was a pleasure to greet visitors, curators, collectors and connoisseurs to our installation of Nancy Friese’s watercolors at The Pierre’s Two E Lounge. The neoclassical setting loaned itself perfectly to the bold, large-scale watercolors by a contemporary master such as Nancy Friese.”
Notable sales at Master Drawings New York included:
By closing day, the London-based dealer Stephen Ongpin reported a successful week selling, sharing “We enjoyed a very successful Master Drawings New York week, with numerous sales across several areas - Old Master drawings, 19th Century drawings and Modern (20th century) works on paper. Of the 18 works that we sold during the week, four drawings were sold to brand-new clients and two were sold to US museums. Speaking of museums, we saw representatives from around two dozen American museums. The fact that we had a new catalogue which was published shortly before the start of MDNY was also an important factor in achieving successful results. It was also rewarding to note that sales were made on almost every day of the week, mainly to collectors in America but also to a handful of foreign buyers.” One of the works sold was Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’ (1780-1867) Portrait of Marie-Anne-Adélaïde Balze, Mme. Joseph Balze.
Hans P. Kraus Jr. of Hans P. Kruas Jr. Fine Photographs commented, “We were very happy with the turn-out and the abundance of new visitors to our gallery. This is the first time we have installed this sort of hybrid exhibition of drawings by the pioneers of photography. I’m happy to say we sold quite a few works including a camera lucida drawing by Sir John Herschel, a waxed paper negative by Count Frédéric Flachéron and a large number of harmonographs by Frederick Evans.” Frederick H. Evans’ (1853-1943) Twin elliptical pendulum curve was among the works sold during Master Drawings New York.
“It was a truly exciting week. The media coverage was excellent. It’s always gratifying to see that people appreciate your level of scholarship and commitment to the field,” says Christopher Bishop, Christopher Bishop Fine Art. “A project that has taken nearly eight years to complete has really paid off with the exhibition of the newly discovered Guercino painting as well as its unification with its preparatory drawing. I couldn’t be more thrilled. In addition, I sold five of the Jules Andre Smith watercolors.” One of the five sold was Jules Andre Smith’s (1880-1959) A View from Central Park Featuring the Dakota.
During the 2020 edition, Master Drawing New York brought together celebrated figures in arts & culture for this year’s partnership events, often drawing standing room only crowds. Highlights of the week included a Metropolitan Museum of Art Curatorial Lecture on the Met’s Collection (sponsored by CHRISTIE’S), a Special Loan Exhibition from Bowdoin College Museum of Art (sponsored in part by Peter Bownes-Johnson, Partner, Private Clients, Vizion Insurance Brokers), and the Fourth Annual Master Drawings Journal Symposium (sponsored by the Tavolozza Foundation). Free tours were also given throughout the week and were led in partnership with Drawing New York - a NY-based group of drawing enthusiasts and practitioners.
One of the major partnerships for 2020 was a special loan exhibition of drawings from the Bowdoin College Museum of Art of Brunswick, Maine, on display in at the Driscoll Babcock on 22nd E 80th Street. The exhibition, Drawn Together: Five Centuries of Drawing from the Bowdoin College Museum of Art includes highlights from the Museum’s rich collection of drawings, the first such public collection in the United States. The exhibition examines the important role of drawing as a creative practice, from envisioning new works such as paintings, etchings, murals, and tapestries, to exploring new tools and techniques, to reflect on the practice itself. Included in the exhibition are some of the first Old Master drawings collected in America, including works from the school of Raphael, by Abraham Jansz. van Diepenbeeck, and by Dirk Vellert, together with drawings of 19th-century American masters such as Winslow Homer and Elihu Vedder, and works by contemporary artists including Nancy Grossman, Titus Kaphar, Alex Katz, and Edda Renouf.
Images of the works mentioned in the release are available for download here, as well as general selects.
About Master Drawings New York
Master Drawings New York, the preeminent event for drawings on the calendar of art lovers, began as a casual gallery walk during the Old Masters auctions and The Winter Show in New York. Since its co-founding in 2006 by Margot Gordon, an Old Masters specialist in New York City, and Crispian Riley-Smith of UK, the week has grown into a highly anticipated occasion.
Please visit our website for further information and for MDNY 2021 dates www.masterdrawingsnewyork.com.
About Master Drawings New York
Established in 2006 and co-founded by Margot Gordon and Crispian Riley-Smith, Masters Drawings New York (MDNY) is the pre-eminent event for exhibiting and celebrating old master through contemporary drawings in the United States. Dealers from the United States and Europe showcase their highest quality drawings in galleries along Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Scheduled for the last week of January, the event coincides with the major Old Master auctions and scholarly events focused on drawings. It is a week dedicated to historic art, where collectors, scholars, museum curators and dealers travel to New York from around the world to view artwork and participate in the events around the city.