New York, June 22, 2020: The IFPDA Fine Art Print Fair wrapped its first online only edition on June 14th with 125 international booths and more than 5,000 works. Originally scheduled to be held at the Javits Center in New York in October with 70 exhibitors, the IFPDA moved the fair online, invited all members to participate, and waived all exhibitor fees in response to the current economic and health crises.
The fair received critical praise from national media and hundreds of thousands of online visitors, with sales across a wide range of works. Executive Director Jenny Gibbs said of the opening days, “We were pleasantly surprised when the calls and emails started coming in from collectors and curators who wanted to tell us how much they were enjoying the online fair. What we heard from our VIPs was that they particularly liked having more time to make considered purchases.”
The online fair also captured an audience new to print collecting. Judith Solodkin, a master lithographer and proprietor of fine art print publishers Solo Impressions Inc. said, “ I was happy to answer so many questions about technique and print definition.. . . [We} sold a Howardena Pindell woodcut, a Judy Chicago lithograph, and a small Zarina piece made for the Guggenheim Museum.”
There was notable strength in Japanese prints with one of the strongest sales of the online fair reported by Scholten Japanese for an ukiyo-e woodblock print by Kitagawa Utamaro, “Painting the Eyebrows” (ca. 1795-96) listed at $350,000. Scholten sold a second work by Utamaro with a listed price of $85,000. There were more strong sales in the Japanese print sector with Egenolf Gallery, which sold a woodblock print from the 1920s by Kawase Hasui for $35,000.
There was activity in the old master sector as well, with C.G. Boerner, Harris Schrank, Jan Johnson, Pia Gallo, Sarah Sauvin, David Tunick, Emanual von Baeyer, Hill-Stone, and Genser Fine Art all reported sales. Canadian dealer Jan Johnson placed two important old master works with a major US museum and David Tunick sold a rare and important Dürer (The Rhinoceros, 1515) on the opening day of the fair to a private collector for six figures.
Among the modern and contemporary works on offer, stand-out sales included a unique work by Elizabeth Peyton (“Genuina y Pura”, 1990) sold by Leslie Sacks with a listed price of $300,000, an aquatint by Alex Katz sold by Gregg Shienbaum Fine Art for $25,000, and a silkscreen, canvas, and mirror multiple by Larry Bell published and offered by Pace Prints with a listed price of $40,000.
Notable among the modern and contemporary booths were strong sales for works by African-American artists. The booth of Mary Ryan Gallery featured the late Emma Amos, with four works sold with prices ranging from $6,000 to $30,000. Amos, who passed away during the fair, was part of an earlier generation of black American artists who have only recently begun to receive recognition. Others included a Rashid Johnson (Untitled/Anxious Man, 2019) published and sold by Brand X for $12,500, several new works by Derrick Adams published and offered by Tandem Press; and the work of Stanley Whitney in the booth of Two Palms.
A new feature of the online fair was a series of digital conversations between Executive Director Jenny Gibbs and artists and art-world insiders. Gibbs invited Kiki Smith, Derek Adams, Polly Apfelbaum, Orit Hofshi, and Judy Hecker to weigh in on their favorite pieces from the fair. Derek Adams commented on the size of the fair saying, “It was definitely a challenge picking only five works at the IFPDA Print Fair . . . I ended up purchasing three amazing works." Kiki Smith’s selections from the fair were emblematic of her unequivocal embrace of the medium saying, “Printmaking is such an incredibly large and expansive medium. How an artist holds that space is always miraculous.”
Also new this year was a special section highlighting the more than 30 fine art print publishers among the IFPDA members including Two Palms, Crown Point Press, Universal Limited Art Editions, Tandem Press, Tamarind Institute, Paragon, Mixografia, Durham Press, Shark’s Ink, and Stewart & Stewart, who are currently celebrating the 40th anniversary of their business.
At the close of this new and successful online initiative David Tunick, President of the IFPDA, observed, “We were thrilled that our first online fair was so well received by IFPDA members, collectors, and museums. It was gratifying to see our audience embrace the format, and we look forward to offering a second iteration, possibly in the fall."