Gallery of Sloan, Luks and Prendergast Now Leading Specialist in Progressive American Realism and Modernism; One of Only Four New York Art Galleries From the 19th Century Still in Business.
This September, the Kraushaar Galleries, a leading dealer in American art of the first half of the 20th century, will celebrate its 125th year of operations, a record of longevity that dates back to the 19th century and is shared by only three other New York galleries.
To commemorate its 125th year in business, the gallery will publish Kraushaar Galleries: Celebrating 125 Years, by Betsy Fahlman. The book will be released on September 7, 2010.
Kraushaar Galleries provides an overview of the Galleries’ history, from its early days as print and an artist’s supply shop (it’s first day’s take: $5.00) to its position as a leading advocate and supporter of American art of the first half of the 20th century, including The Eight and American Modernism, as a resource that has shared its records with scholars and historians for decades, and as one of the eminent galleries in its field.
Concurrent with the gallery’s 125th celebration year, the Archives of American Art New York Research Center will hold Kraushaar Galleries: Celebrating 125 Years, an exhibition of original letters, invoices, ledgers and other archival material culled from the voluminous records of the Kraushaar Galleries at the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art. The exhibition, curated by Betsy Fahlman, opens on September 8, 2010 and will run until December 8, 2010. The Archives’ New York Research Center, located at 1285 Avenue of the Americas (between 51st and 52nd Streets), is open to the public from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
“The life of the Kraushaar Galleries has spanned revolutions in politics and art, the emergence of American painting in international awareness, and an expanding interest in art of many different forms and media,” said gallery co-director Carole M. Pesner. Co-director, Katherine Degn, added, “Throughout this era of immeasurable change, we have been and continue to be honored to be a participant in the evolution of the rich and sprawling landscape of American culture.”
About Kraushaar Galleries
Charles W. Kraushaar opened the Kraushaar Galleries in 1885. Early clients for his artists’ supplies included Frederic Remington, Thomas Moran, and Albert Bierstadt. Encouraged by his success, Kraushaar took on his 16-year old brother, John, as an employee.
During its history, the gallery has given artists their first exposure to curators, historians, other artists, and the general public. Kraushaar gave Henri Fantin-Latour his first American exhibition in 1890. It gave George Luks, who John Kraushaar met playing baseball, his first exhibition, in 1913, and John Sloan his first solo show in 1917. It also represented William Glackens and Guy Pène du Bois for decades and showed works by Maurice Prendergast, Ernest Lawson, Everett Shinn, Marsden Hartley, and Gaston Lachaise. Working in collaboration with photographer, gallerist, and colleague Alfred Stieglitz, John Kraushaar placed numerous works by Charles Demuth with prominent collectors and institutions. Beginning in the nineteen-teens, the gallery’s activities helped shape the course of American art.
Following Charles Kraushaar’s death in 1917, John Kraushaar steered the gallery in an increasingly Modernist direction. Although best known for handling American progressive realist and Modernist works, John sold Pablo Picasso’s Woman in White, now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Henri Matisse’s Interior with a Violin Case, now in the Museum of Modern Art, to Lillie P. Bliss. Among scores of other major European paintings that Kraushaar sold and now in American museums is Paul Gauguin’s Self Portrait, now in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, which Kraushaar sold to noted collector Chester Dale.
The gallery also promoted its artists by lending frequently to exhibitions organized by small museums and student groups. In 1929, Kraushaar began lending works to The Harvard Society for Contemporary Arts, and association of undergraduates. Members of the group included Lincoln Kirstein, John Nicholas Brown, and John Walker III, who later became director of the National Gallery of Art.
Antoinette Kraushaar, John’s daughter and a gallery employee starting in 1917, took an increasingly prominent role in the gallery throughout the 1930s, as John’s health declined, and became the gallery’s director in 1946 upon his death. She continued to work with figurative and, increasingly, abstract art, adding, among others, John Koch, William Kienbusch and John Heliker to the gallery stable.
Miss Kraushaar retired in 1988 and died in 1992. That year, Carole M. Pesner, who had worked at the gallery since 1959, became just the fourth director in the gallery’s 107-year history. Ms. Pesner has since been joined as co-director by Katherine Degn, who started working at the gallery in 1986.
Beyond its commercial activities, Kraushaar has long worked with curators, scholars, and academics in support of research in the field of American art. Its records provided the foundation for two catalogues raisonne: Maurice Brazil Prendergast, Charles Prendergast: A Catalogue Raisonne by Carol Clark, Nancy Mowll Mathews, and Carol Clark (Williams College Museum of Art, 1990) and John Sloan's Oil Paintings: A Catalogue Raisonne, Parts One and Two, by Rowland Elzea (University of Delaware Press, 1992).
Kraushaar Galleries continues to specialize in 20th century American art. It also represents contemporary artists Catherine Drabkin and Lee Walton and numerous artists’ estates. Kraushaar holds periodic exhibitions and participates in major art fairs in the United States.