Strong sales and record attendance at Master Drawings New York 2020



Galerie DIDIER AARON, Inc_Photo courtesy of Jeremy Berkowitz
Jeremy berkowitz

700 glorious years of art history presented by 25 of the world’s greatest art dealers

A very successful edition of Master drawings New York concluded on Saturday February 1st with strong sales and excellent attendance throughout. The January 24 preview night drew collectors and museum curators from around the world who converged on New York City for one of the most important weeks on the fine arts calendar. Continuing the tradition of showcasing works of supreme quality and diversity, Master Drawings New York has maintained its position as the premier showcase for intimate gallery exhibitions showcasing works spanning 700 years of art history. While the event mainly focuses on drawings from the 14th to the 21st century, a selection of the best dealers also featured prominent examples of sculpture and painting. Originally conceived as an annual gallery walk, Master Drawings New York has grown into a vibrant must-see event, enjoying strong support as its range and influence grows each year.

Many of the works of art on offer were recently discovered or had not been seen on the market for decades, if at all. After spending months collecting rarities for this year’s edition, the 25 participating exhibitors unveiled new surprises to a group of passionate and scholarly collectors and institutions. Overall, sales have been strong and museum purchases in particular have been extremely active, with several pieces destined for leading institutions. Highly coveted works were collected during the opening hours of the event and sustained activity continued throughout the week.

“In 2006, when we launched Master Drawings New York, we only had 16 participating dealers. Since then it has grown in size and reputation and, with each year, achieves greater success, ”said Crispian Riley-Smith, co-founding director of Master Drawings New York. “This year was no exception with strong exhibitor sales, sold-out partnership events and the enthusiasm and engagement of all of New York’s major cultural and business players. We look forward to building on that for 2021. ”

An impressive number of museums, curators and organizations participated, 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.

The participating exhibitors took up this refrain. “We had more visitors than ever before during a Master Drawings week in New York, and we’ve been involved from the start. We have made sales to both major museums and private collectors, some of whom are new to us. It is truly the only exhibition we organize every year that functions as a successful art fair by attracting a constant flow of curators and collectors from near and far, some returning two or three times a week, ”commented David Tunick by David Tunick, Inc.

Cade Tompkins of Cade Tompkins Projects share, It was a pleasure to welcome visitors, curators, collectors and connoisseurs to our installation of Nancy Friese’s watercolors at Pierre’s Two E Lounge. The neoclassical setting lent itself perfectly to the bold, large-scale watercolors of a contemporary master like Nancy Friese.

Notable sales at Master Drawings New York included:

On closing day, the London-based dealership Stephen ongpin reported a successful sales week, sharing, “We have had a very successful Master Drawings New York week, with many sales in several areas – Old Master drawings, 19th century drawings and modern (20th century) works on paper. Of the 18 works we sold during the week, four drawings were sold to brand new clients and two were sold to American museums. Speaking of museums, we saw representatives from about two dozen American museums. The fact that we had a new catalog that was released shortly before MDNY started was also a big factor in getting good results. It was also gratifying to see that sales were made almost every day of the week, mainly to American collectors but also to a handful of foreign buyers. One of the works sold was the Portrait of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780-1867) by Marie-Anne-Adélaïde Balze, Mme. Joseph Balze.

Hans P. Kraus Jr. by Hans P. Kruas Jr. Fine Photographs commented: “We are very pleased with the participation and the abundance of new visitors to our gallery. This is the first time that we have installed this kind of hybrid exhibition of drawings by the pioneers of photography. I am happy to say that we have sold quite a few works, including a camera lucida drawing by Sir John Herschel, a wax paper negative by Earl Frederick Flachéron and a large number of harmonographs by Frederick Evans. The curve of the double elliptical pendulum by Frederick H. Evans (1853-1943) was among the works sold during Master Drawings New York.

“It has been a really exciting week. The media coverage has been excellent. It is always gratifying to see that people appreciate your level of scholarship and your commitment to the field, ”says Christopher Bishop, Christopher Bishop Fine Art. “A project that lasted almost eight years has really borne fruit with the exhibition of the newly discovered Guercino painting as well as its unification with his preparatory drawing. I couldn’t be more thrilled. In addition, I sold five of Jules Andre Smith’s watercolors. One of the five sold was that of Jules Andre Smith (1880-1959) A View of Central Park with the Dakota.

During the 2020 edition, Master Drawing New York brought together famous figures from the arts and culture for this year’s partnership events, often drawing standing crowds. Highlights of the week included a curatorial lecture from the Metropolitan Museum of Art on the Met collection (sponsored by CHRISTIE’S), a special loan exhibition from the Bowdoin College Museum of Art (sponsored in part by Peter Bownes-Johnson, partner, clients private, Vizion Insurance Brokers) and the fourth annual symposium of the Master Drawings Journal (sponsored by the Tavolozza Foundation). Free tours were also held throughout the week and were conducted in partnership with Drawing New York – a group of New York-based drawing enthusiasts and practitioners.

One of the main partnerships for 2020 was a special loaning exhibition of drawings from the Bowdoin College Museum of Art of Brunswick, Maine, on display at 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, ranging from viewing new works such as paintings, prints, murals, and tapestries, to exploring new tools and techniques, to reflecting on the practice itself. The exhibition includes some of the earliest Old Master drawings collected in America, including works from the Raphael School, Abraham Jansz. van Diepenbeeck and Dirk Vellert, as well as drawings by 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, along with general selections.


About Master Drawings New York

Master Drawings New York, the preeminent event for drawings on the art lover’s calendar, began as a relaxed gallery stroll at the Old Masters auctions and the Winter Show in New York City. Since its co-founding in 2006 by Old Masters specialist Margot Gordon in New York City and Crispian Riley-Smith from the UK, the week has grown into a much anticipated event.

Please visit our website for more information and for MDNY 2021 dates



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