Highlights of American Paintings Week in New York

At Sotheby's, Martin Johnson Heade, The Great Florida Sunset, 1887.  Estimate $7,000,000-10,000,000
At Sotheby's, Martin Johnson Heade, The Great Florida Sunset, 1887. Estimate $7,000,000-10,000,000
(Sotheby's)
From MME Fine Art, William Trost Richards "Sunrise" , 1881.  Gouache and watercolor on artist board, 10 9/16 x 16 7/16 inches.  Signed and dated
From MME Fine Art, William Trost Richards "Sunrise" , 1881. Gouache and watercolor on artist board, 10 9/16 x 16 7/16 inches. Signed and dated
(MME Fine Art)
  • Offered at The American Art Fair by Jonathan Boos, Marsden Hartley's (American, 1877-1943) The Seashell, 1929.  Oil on board, 17 1/4 x 14 1/2 inches.  Signed and dated on the verso.

    Offered at The American Art Fair by Jonathan Boos, Marsden Hartley's (American, 1877-1943) The Seashell, 1929. Oil on board, 17 1/4 x 14 1/2 inches. Signed and dated on the verso.

    Jonathan Boos

A seven-day fête of historic American art, particularly 19th to 20th-century painting and sculpture, kicks off this weekend in New York City.

The American Art Fair begins the week of events with a by-invitation preview on Sat., Nov. 14 and public viewing of its 8th edition from November 15-18, 2015, at the Bohemian National Hall, 321 East 73rd Street, New York City. This is now the only fair that focuses on American 19th and 20th century works and features hundreds of landscapes, portraits, still lifes, studies, and sculpture exhibited by 17 premier specialists. 

Participants include Adelson Galleries, Avery Galleries, Driscoll Babcock Galleries, Conner Rosenkranz, DC Moore Gallery, Debra Force Fine Art, Forum Gallery, Godel & Co. Fine Art, Hirschl & Adler Galleries, James Reinish & Associates, John H. Surovek Gallery, Jonathan Boos, Menconi & Schoelkopf, Meredith Ward Fine Art, Questroyal Fine Art, Thomas Colville Fine Art and Tom Veilleux Gallery.

Just Off Madison on Wednesday, November 18, from 9 am to noon, offers a leisurely Upper East Side walking tour of top-tier American art galleries. Participating private dealers in this annual open house are located from East 69th to 79th Streets between Fifth and Madison Avenues, and will showcase select American paintings, sculptures, and works on paper. Participating galleries include Betty Krulik Fine Art, MME Fine Art, Conner Rosenkranz, Lois Wagner Fine Arts, Avery Galleries, Kraushaar Galleries, Menconi + Schoelkopf, Debra Force Fine Art, Jonathan Boos, David Tunick, James Reinish & Associates, Meredith Ward Fine Art, and Taylor Graham.

One special exhibit (extended through Nov. 21) on the Just Off Madison circuit is at Meredith Ward, showcasing the recently rediscovered late abstract works (1965-1973) of Flora Crockett (1892-1979).

Roberta Smith glowed about them in The New York Times, writing, "And so at the moment about two dozen of Ms. Crockett's sparkling late paintings, with their bright tangles of jazzy lines and shapes floating on pale, brushy backgrounds, form a surprising exhibition at Meredith Ward Fine Art. This is our first sighting of a body of work that could hold its own in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art or the Museum of Modern Art and in the history of American abstract painting."

Another must-see dealer exhibition (through Dec. 30) is at MME Fine Art where Fair Winds, a stunning selection of over twenty-five romantic American marine paintings, features an exquisite sunrise seascape by William Trost Richards, among other works.

Auctions include Christie's American Art sale on Nov. 19. There are several modernist works from the Collection of Dr. Herbert Kayden and Dr. Gabrielle Reem. Another highlight is a sweeping Yellowstone landscape, from 1893, by Thomas Moran with a high estimate of $5 million.

Perhaps one of the biggest prices for the week could go to Martin Johnson Heade's luminous The Great Florida Sunset, which Sotheby's has estimated to bring as much as $10 million. The work is part of the A. Alfred Taubman sale of American art, one of four sales bearing a $500 million guarantee for the estate of the former Sotheby's chairman. Other works in the Nov. 18 sale include a fantastical Charles Burchfield watercolor "The Red Admiral," featuring a butterfly against a bright landscape. Sotheby's runs a separate  American art sale on the 18th headlined by Little Giant Still Life (Black and White Version), Stuart Davis’s highly significant work from 1953, and Cheerleaders by Norman Rockwell—which exemplifies the artist’s humorous and distinctly American aesthetic.

There are gems to be found in every dollar range during the American Paintings Week's events, and the prices might just be more digestible to collectors after a week of some bloated auction records in modern and contemporary art.

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