Taking in Chelsea

Dr. Elin Lake-Ewald


There is no down time for New York’s art scene. Even before the intense art season opens, meandering through Chelsea brought sightings of shows that make its inconvenient locale (west-siders might disagree) well worth the commute across town.

Last Saturday lots of galleries were in the process of setting up, except for Sikkema Jenkins where the Kara Walker exhibition was so crowded an alternate visit was necessary. It was still crowded when I returned on Tuesday, but there was better visibility with fewer art enthusiasts huddled around the work.

Louise Fishman at Cheim & Read drew fans for this veteran of the AbEx generation, as did her contemporary Yvonne Thomas at Berry Campbell. Peter Saul at Mary Boone didn’t even try to mask his emotions when it comes to President Trump. It was all out there in riotous paint, sort of like being smacked in the face by a dead duck.

I had never been to Production at Art & Commerce. On display was a huge two-floor exhibition of rather marvelous photographs, past and present. Another crowd pleaser was Maya Lin’s Ebb & Flow presentation with its crazy rows of glass beads all over the gallery. Lisson Gallery exhibited an important retrospective of Leon Polk Smith. The 1960’s Minimalist paintings/ sculptures shaped into vivid images appeared just as fresh as if they had come out of his studio today.

What I did observe of the Chelsea scene reminded me of the beginning of the end of days of SoHo. An influx of highly commercial galleries that one would not have associated with “Chelsea” prior to their arrival.

More to come later…

Two Days of Art in Portland, ME

A Review of 'A New American Sculpture: Lachaise, Laurent, Nadelman, and Zorach'

When a friend suggested at the conclusion of a trip that I join her and two other art collectors touring Maine museums I thought first of lobsters, and said yes to two days in Portland. I sincerely did enjoy the art – and the lobsters.  Lachaise, Laurent, Nadelman and Zorach is the main exhibition at the four-story Portland Museum, and it was worth the one-hour flight to see the work of the four sculptors, immigrants who became decades long friends. The photos tell their story. What I did miss were Zorach’s bronze animals. This show was about human forms, moving through space, dancing, and loving.

Dorthea & Leo Rabkin Foundation 

At the Dorothea and Leo Rabkin Foundation (www.rabkinfoundation.org) its Executive Director Susan Larsen showed us work by Leo that probably has never been exhibited before, prescient forms that predated a good deal of contemporary sculpture. This little-known foundation has produced a major coup in the art world by initiating a new grant program for visual art journalists, writers who don’t get a lot of publicity but who serve an important role in the arts. Grants of $50,000 each went to eight writers: Phong Bui, Charles Desmarais, Bob Keyes, Jason Farago, Jeff Huebner, Carolina Miranda, Christina Rees, and Chris Vitiello.

On View at the Maine College of Art: 

The last stop was to the Institute of Contemporary Art at the Maine College of Art for a painting exhibition of both abstract and figurative works by artists from around the nation. And then we each independently revisited the Portland Museum – the exhibition was that good. I think I’d like to return to Portland very soon.

Exhibition Review: Relative Value systems in the renaissance era

Relative Value: The Cost of Art in the Northern Renaissance 

On view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art 

62 masterpieces of varying media and function that invite the examination of historical worth and relative value systems of the era 

The Rest on the Flight into Egypt Follower of Quentin Metsys (Netherlandish, mid-16th century) and Master of the Liège Disciples at Emmaus (Netherlandish, active mid-16th century), ca. 1540

The Rest on the Flight into Egypt

Follower of Quentin Metsys (Netherlandish, mid-16th century) and Master of the Liège Disciples at Emmaus (Netherlandish, active mid-16th century), ca. 1540

The most original show at the MET these days is on the first floor – back of the building.

Maybe the curators have tired of listening to museum-goers speculate out loud how much a particular painting or ivory object is worth.

Okay, if that’s what they’re interested it let’s give it to them, but let’s not make it too easy or too obvious. We will inform them as to what a particular artwork is worth in the equivalent of a coin of the realm in the 16th-17th centuries. Mostly in cow power.

The need to equate art with money – or what the Northern Renaissance collectors would pay for a precious item in terms of what was of approximately the same value in more mundane objects – that’s the crux of the show and more than well worth the visit.

How much is that gorgeous goblet worth, that gold chalice with intricately sculpted and inch high jeweled and elaborately costumed figures so meticulously carved that each finger is individually rendered? I’d say 255 cows. And that crystal bird from Nuremberg with ruby eyes? That’s 275 cows and worth every moo. Suppose a baron wanted a woodcut by Albrecht Dürer for his wall (although it was probably kept in an album in those days), he’d only have to come up with half a cow in payment. Not sure how that worked. Another object that’s not much more than a commoner’s earthenware vessel with a decorative lead glaze would have been an eighth of the value of a cow. Would that include prime ribs?

I like the idea of a new approach to arousing interest in the many gorgeous, but often overlooked objects in this treasure chest of a museum. The MET has created another way of showing us that there is so much of such interest within its metaphorical vaults that it isn’t absolutely necessary to bring in objects from elsewhere to excite the viewers. I would like to give my thanks to the Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts and the curator(s) of the exhibition and the effort he/she made to think beyond the obvious and arouse new interest in old things that the Met owns. And, of course, for the audiences of 2017, it had to be about value – or do I mean price?

Source: otoole-ewald.com/blog/valuation

Art appraisal & Conservation

Dr. Elin Lake-Ewald addresses the most frequently posed questions concerning Conservation:

What is the difference between conservation and restoration?

  • Conservation is the process of controlling the environment around an object to slow its decay
  • Restoration procedures seek to return the object to its original condition, and preferably, its original usage.

For instance, a textile 19th-century American quilt that appears age darkened and sagging on its hanging apparatus may need only professional washing and backing to brighten up the cloth and alleviate the strain of hanging on the wall. This is considered conservation since there will be no alteration to any portion of the textile.

If on the other hand, the quilt displays signs of extensive moth damage and small sections must be replaced or repaired, the repair work is considered restoration. There will have been one or more pairs of hands, other than those of the original maker, that have worked on the quilt.

How to find the “right” conservator?

Our response: The best way to choose a conservator is to ask more questions. For instance, ask a professional you may hire for the job:

  1. What type of training he or she has had to perform this task
  2. The length of his or her professional experience
  3. If conservation is the focus of work or do they wear many hats, such as appraising, dealing, etc. 
  4. Experience in working with the kind of object for which the client seeks help
  5. Membership in professional associations having a code of ethics 
  6. References and previous clients
  7. Availability for the assignment and hourly fees
  8. Responsibility for insuring an item, conservator or client
  9. Arranging for transportation, conservator or client
  10.  If an appraisal of the item is required before restoration begins

What should the client expect from the conservator?

  1. Personal examination of the object prior to suggested treatment
  2. Cost of the treatment and time frame
  3. Documentation should be provided following the completion of treatment, including both written and photographic records
  4. Disclosure of risk involved in undertaking restoration or conservation
  5. Information as to cost of transporting artwork and who is responsible, client or conservator

How do you find a professional conservator?

  1. A recommendation from someone who has used the conservator with successful results with the same type of object
  2. Contact with local museums for recommended practitioners
  3. Request that the artist, if living, restore the work of art. However, since the artist has rarely had conservation training, technical problems may arise from going this route.
  4. Contact with The American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC) and FAIC Conservation Services Referral System

AIC is the national non-profit organization of conservation professionals. There is a Conservation Services System (CSRS), but the inclusion of a conservator’s name on the list does not imply professional endorsement since the list is created from information provided by AIC members and has not been verified further. The conservators are grouped according to categories of Fellow, Professional, Associate, or Associate that reflect varying levels of experience, professionalism, and professional recognition. 

How to prevent problems in conservation?

  1. Select a conservator who specializes in either painting or ceramics, paper or three-dimensional objects, not all of them. A jack of all trades in this field is invariably a master of none.
  2. If an appraiser provides a report that recommends restoration, the client should be provided with the name and contact numbers of the conservator, as well as professional treatment proposal and direct cost. The client should be able to deal directly with the conservator.
  3. Avoid having the conservator express an opinion about loss in value following restoration since this is within the province of the appraiser, not a conservator. It is a normal reaction for a conservator to believe the results of his or her work will do wonders for a damaged piece; an appraiser may take a less subjective viewpoint. For instance, damage to the paint layer of a monochromatic painting, such as those by Yves Klein, Brice Marden, Ellsworth Kelly or Robert Mangold is difficult to inpaint or compensate and will always reflect light differently than the untouched portion when viewed from an oblique angle.
  4. Always disclose restoration. If a sale is considered in the future, it is best to hold on to the conservation report to pass on to the potential purchaser who may elect to bring in his own conservator to look at the artwork prior to purchase. Full disclosure is the only ethical, and reputation-safe, procedure for either dealer of collector.

Essentials for Conservation Framing

  1. Have the framer use recommended methods and materials for conservation framing, matted with acid-free buffered mats and backboards, and with Japanese paper hinges held in place with cooked starch paste.
  2. Separate artwork from glass either with proper matting or a fillet. 
  3. Use glass or acrylic glazing materials over artwork to protect against environmental elements. Acrylics should not be used for charcoals, pastels or chalk drawings since they can striate static electricity.

Selected Conservation Terms

  • Abraded: Loss of media and/ or paper fibers caused by friction
  • Acid: A substance with a pH below 7.0 that weaken cellulose in paper, board, and cloth
  • Alkaline: Substances with a pH above 7.0 that may be added to materials to neutralize acids
  • Buckling: Soft random distortions of the support
  • De-acidifications: Chemical treatment that neutralizes acid in paper and deposits and alkaline buffer
  • Faded: Loss of color
  • Fill: Replacement of lost support material
  • Foxing: Yellow/ brown circular staining of paper
  • Fugitive: Unstable media or color
  • Inherent Vice: Material of method of construction in an art object that causes or aids deterioration of the object
  • Mat Burn: Darkening of support caused by contact with acidic vapors
  • Neutral: Having a pH of 7.0, neither acid nor alkaline
  • Preservation: Activities associated with maintaining materials for use, either in original form or some other format
  • Reversibility: Ability to undo a process or treatment with no change to object
  • Secondary Support: Mounting support, stretcher, backing or backboard
  • Skinning: Abrasion where thin layer of support surface has been removed
  • Surface Cleaning: Removal of accretions by mechanical means


Laura Stirton Aust, ARTcare Inc.,

Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works

Thompson, Tatyana M., “Dilemmas of Compensation in Contemporary Art, Western Association for Art Conservation Annual Meeting 1993, pp 29-32

Case Studies in files of O’Toole-Ewald Art Associates, Inc., New York

Erik Paol's Thoughts on Art Basel 2017

Erik Paol is a Certified Appraiser 17th - 20th century Fine Art. Has held positions at auctioneers Van Ham, Cologne; Dorotheum, Vienna; Bonhams, London. Expertise in complex litigation & finance, public domain & cultural heritage, artists' estates. Specialization in corporate collections and large volumes appraisals. 

Not having been to the fair for a few years (perhaps a bit cooled-down), I was glad to enjoy the fair again thanks to some really inspiring exhibits and some good shows at Beyeler and Tinguely:

1.  Shame on me; haven’t noticed this lamp earlier. But it takes the satellite-fair Design Miami in hall #1 in order to find out that Dutch Studio Drift sells this object in the US for already over a decade now! Real dandelion-seeds filter the harsh LED-light, seen at Carpenters Workshop Gallery/ London.

Art appraisal

2.  A major sale at Design Miami was this impressive dining table and ten chairs (1960) by Brazilian designer Joaquim Tenreiro, sold by R & Company/New York to a Dutch buyer.  

art appraisal 00.jpg

3.  Sorry, my chauvinism doesn’t stop here; I was particularly happy to see that 1960’s and 1970’s Conceptual Art from Holland was doing great; this is a still from the 4 minutes 16mm movie Nightfall (1971) by Bas Jan Ader, seen at Metro Pictures/New York (digital edition of three, €120k).  

4.  Yes, another example of Dutch Conceptual Art; a photo collage by Jan Dibbets titled Big Comet (1973), seen in hal #2 at Peter Freeman Inc./New York:

But here stops the Dutch promotion. As appraisers, I think, it is wise to ask as many prices as possible. A few years ago, my partners and I appraised a collection that also contained a nice series of Date Paintings by On Kawara.
Conclusion; that it’s about time to re-assess the old values for these two paintings.  
They were offered at €1,2m each, illustrating the strength of Conceptual Art.

What I perhaps missed in the past and absolutely enjoyed this year’s show were plenty of examples of timeless eclecticism:

5.  For instance Victoria Miro Gallery/London, that were best known for the Kusama shows, represents the Milton Avery Estate in Europe (and Alice Neel’s). It makes Art Basel a symphony, seeing these fine works from the 1940’s amidst cutting-edge contemporary art:

6.  More Art Basel versatility; a smashing work by Julian Schnabel (1990) at Almine Rech/Brussels and, yes, even sculptures (€200 to 400k) by American Outsider artist William Edmondson (ca. 1940) at Salon 94/Paris:


7.  Eclecticism also reached another satellite-fair; Liste, the art-fair for the less-established galleries. Peculiar enough, some southern-European galleries showed talent from the ‘70’s and ‘80s. Nogueras Blanchard/Barcelona, for example, showed exquisite Typings by American Autiste Savant Christopher Knowles from the mid-1970’s at prices between €7,5-€10k:


8.  Fondation Beyeler had an extremely well-hung Elsworth Kelly-room:

Beyeler’s first photo exhibition, the Wolfgang Tillmanns show was super-impressive:

Last but not least, the Tinguely Museum treated the art traveler with an exhibition by the controversial artist Wim Delvoye (the pig-tattooist, all about eclecticism and ornamentation):




Lawrence van Hagen's Pop-Up & What to See in Chelsea

One of the most refreshing exhibitions in Chelsea right now is Whats Up New York the Pop Up three story show at 132 10th Avenue, curated by Lawrence van Hagen. Unfortunately I only learned of it a week before its upcoming closing on Thursday the 25th. Amazing stuff, with work shared between Americans and Europeans, most of the latter group unknown to me previously, but who made me glad to have come. For instance, the Larry Bell painting seen in the photo that includes van Hagen, is mirrored by two works by Martini Basher while the Daniel Turner reflects similarly paint slashes by Johnny Abrahams. There’s a really unusually configured Kenneth Noland and a super small John Chamberlain that appears to be in an argument with a crushed metal work by Ernesto Burgos. All in all, an exhibition worth visiting.

Another amazing show at Friedman Benda, a leading design gallery, combines cleanly carved work by Wendell Castle and wildly inventive furniture by Ron Arad, Humberto & Fernando Campana and a host of other designers that make a trip to this site fanciful fun. And at David Zwirner there is the never ending shock of the late conceptual artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres with a huge room bordered by wrapped candies and two small electric clocks as the only display on the opposing wall. At Lisson Gallery paintings by the centenarian Carmen Herrara show work from the last six years and at Matthew Marks the last work by the late Ellsworth Kelly document that he was still engaged in his work until the end.

Saw lots of other not always so interesting shows, but did want to mention Charlie Ahearn at P-P-O-W. Ahearn combines film and wall art, documenting street culture and the rise of hip hop in New York City, with videos like Bongo Barbershop and Dancing industry. There’s life in these works and he makes the most of it creatively. Just one last scene – at Allan Stone Projects there is a one man show of James Havard that is quite amazing. Without describing it I suggest you pay a visit. Havard hasn’t been seen in quite a while and I wonder why now that I’ve seen this exhibition.

There’s a lot going on in Chelsea that you will never see at the big fairs.

Curator of Whats Up New York, Lawrence van Hagen adjacent to a Larry Bell painting

Curator of Whats Up New York, Lawrence van Hagen adjacent to a Larry Bell painting

Understanding The Appraisal Profession

When you retain the services of an attorney, a doctor or an accountant you expect that individual to have had the appropriate education and experience to have passed examinations that assure you of his or her competency to successfully provide the services you require.

Why then do you too often fail to demand the same requirements of an appraiser?

I’m thinking about this a lot because I just took a four day 15-hour recertification course and examination in The Uniform Standards of Processional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) one of many I’ve had to attend and be tested on over my years as an appraiser. In not so many months I will have to take a related seven-hour course. These are apart from countless attendances at symposia, lectures, museums, art panels as well as courses taken, gallery and museum visits, articles written, articles read, and whatever else it takes to keep up with my profession – just as is mandated for attorneys, doctors, accountants. In other words, we are all in the same professional boat, and paddling like crazy just to keep up with new rules, regulations and developments in our particular fields.

In other words, professional appraisers must undertake with the same rigor those standards that other professionals maintain to earn the public trust.

Because this is a big topic to take on, I’ve decided to break it up into multiple short articles. Right now all I’m trying to do is provide a little clarification on the subject of appraising.


First of all, exactly what is an appraiser? My definitions are compliant with the USPAP manual based on the Appraisal Standards Board of The Appraisal Foundation, the governing organization for all professional appraisers.

1)      An appraiser is someone who in order to develop an opinion of value without bias is expected to perform valuation services in a competent manner, independently, impartially and objectively.

2)      The appraiser’s client is the person or persons who contact an appraiser for a particular assignment, but who may not be the person responsible for payment. In other words, if an attorney engages the appraiser he is the client although the attorney’s own client is the one who pays.

3)      Before actual work is undertaken by an appraiser he or she has to determine the scope of work necessary to identify the problem to be solved, figure out and perform all the work necessary to come up with credible results for the intended use and analyze and provide the appraisal report.

These are simply general guidelines for utilizing the services of an appraiser. However, users of appraisal services should understand that professional appraisers must comply with USPAP when required by law or agreement with the client.

An appraisal may be written or verbal, but in both cases there must be a work file maintained that includes certification by the appraiser. This work file must be retained at least five years after preparation of the report or at least two years after final judicial disposition of any proceedings in which testimony was provided by the appraiser.

Any decision as to the purpose of the appraisal and the kind of value to be utilized is made between the appraiser and his client before the initiation of work so that there are no misunderstandings about the goal of the assignment. There should be a letter of agreement or formal contract drawn up prior to the onset of the work by the appraiser.

Although “valuers” (appraisers) in Europe are not compelled to follow USPAP, many do. Many more adhere to similar regulations in the “Red Book” of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). European associates of OTE, when acting as professional appraisers, are expected to also be in compliance with these standards.

With all these clarifications, we’re now at the very beginning of the job.

Next time we’ll discuss what steps the appraiser must take to perform a professional appraisal.


Elin Lake-Ewald, PhD,ASA,FRICS

The Photography Show

O’Toole-Ewald Art Associates, Inc’s photography expert, Mary Panzer, led four of OTE’s appraisers on a technical tour of the newly housed AIPAD exhibition on March 30th.

Easy access exhibition spaces made the walkathon informative and fun – except that Mary, formerly head of the Photography Department at the Smithsonian, apparently knew every dealer in the show, so we didn’t exactly do the tour at lightning speed! It’s certain to be remembered as one of the top art exhibitions of the year.

Mary Panzer, O'Toole-Ewald Art Associates Inc's Photography Expert

Mary Panzer, O'Toole-Ewald Art Associates Inc's Photography Expert


Art at The Junto or Leather Apron Club

Open spaces and shared areas have formed the mantra for new corporate spaces, such as the one visited last evening by members of The Association of Professionals Art Advisors APAA. Circling the trading desks of Junta Capital Management LP are ingeniously utilized artworks that are a paeon to Benjamin Franklin, whose work ethic and history inspired the originators of the firm.

Brian Tolle is the artist responsible for the ingenious translation of Benjamin Franklin’s persona and views through art he has created throughout the offices of Junto, from wallpaper with word formations to complex mathematical formulas invented by Franklin made into color block artworks. All this was done around central trading desks so it becomes a bit of a puzzle to follow the art throughout the spaces, but well worth it.

The Junto or Leather Apron Club was founded in 1727 by Franklin in Philadelphia to debate questions of morals, politics and philosophy, and to exchange knowledge of business affairs. It also had a charitable component that included giving a library of their own books for public use.

Franklin’s one mistake was to mistake the word Junta for Junto, which is the masculine for “joins” when he meant to use Junta or “meeting”. I suppose there weren’t many Spanish speakers among the 12 members at the time.

By Dr. Elin Lake Ewald P.h.D / ASA / FRICS

Artist Brian Tolle

Artist Brian Tolle

ASA New Jersey Chapter Presentation

The American Society of Appraisers (ASA) and O’Toole-Ewald Art Associates, Inc (OTE) are proud to invite you to the Princeton Chapter event that discusses how professional appraisers in the personal property and business sectors can combine their practices in the art world. This is the second lecture that OTE experts are giving in the ASA which highlights the firm’s innovative appraisal and personal properties services.

Join us next Monday March 20 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM at Main Street Bistro 301 North Harrison Street. Princeton, New Jersey. Purchase your ticket and RSVP at http://asaprinceton.org/events/2017/3/20/asa-princeton-march-20-2016-the-untapped-collaboration-how-business-and-art-appraisers-can-work-together

Conserving the Tang era treasure

Since 2005, the Singapore government has maintained the preserved cargo of the Tang era shipwreck found near the Belitung Island in the Java Sea, for educational display and scholarly research. OTE shares the photos taken during the underwater archaeology excavations. These experts conserved the 70,000 objects and documented each one via text and photography. The Asia Society Institute recognizes the importance of sharing major works and discoveries of historical significance with the public to understand our past.

A thousand years under the sea

This ewer survived a shipwreck that happened more than 15 centuries ago, and maintained its intact condition during 1000 years under the sea. It's unbelievable!.
The Asia Society Institute presents a very interesting exhibition "Secrets of The Sea: A Tang Shipwreck and early Trade in Asia" to celebrate Asia Week New York Association
This exhibition is a window into global artistic exchange in the ninth century. Amazingly, the exhibition presented many of the artworks discovered from gold and silver objects, bronze mirrors and groups of ceramics (all from China).

Long-necked ewer. China, probably Henan Province. Gongxian kilns. Tang dynasty, ca. 825-50. Glazed stoneware with copper-green splashes over white slip.

Long-necked ewer. China, probably Henan Province. Gongxian kilns. Tang dynasty, ca. 825-50. Glazed stoneware with copper-green splashes over white slip.

A 10-Day Celebration of Asian Art

Starting today until March 18th 2017, Asia Week New York Association reunites the best experts and the most prestigious museums to celebrate its eighth consecutive year. “Asia Week New York is a collaboration of top-tier Asian art specialists, major auction houses, and world-renowned museums and Asian cultural institutions in the metropolitan New York area.” [1]

O'Toole-Ewald Art Associates, Inc. gives you a brief insight about the participants:
*Art Dealers will showcase 50 international Asian exhibitions presenting ancient through contemporary works of art from China, India, Southeast Asia, the Himalayas, Japan and Korea.

*Major Auction Houses including Bonham's, Christie's, Doyle New York and Sotheby's will display paintings and contemporary Asian art.

*Museums and institutions will also join Asia Week by curating special exhibitions about the Asian rare treasures and culture. 

[1] http://www.asiaweekny.com/

The NY Armory Week is over: What's next?

The Armory, the ADAA and the other art shows are finally over after a high-energy week of viewing thousands of artworks citywide. And if you were one of those fortunate buyers now is the time to think about keeping up insurance on this purchase and the others in your collection. O’Toole-Ewald Art Associates, Inc. (OTE) offers advice that might help you:

  • Make sure to update appraisals every one to five years since art prices fluctuate over time
  • If you’re thinking of donating artworks to a museum or non-profit organization, then, you will need a Charitable Contribution appraisal. OTE provides this classic fine art appraisal report in conformation with IRS standards
  • Request an Insurance appraisal for each artwork of your collection. OTE fine art experts will determine the retail replacement value to ensure you have the appropriate insurance coverage and evidence to support future claims in case of any damage, fire, unexpected accidents and theft
  • If you bought art as a financial investment, you can also consider borrowing a bank loan using art as collateral. OTE provides Collateral Value appraisal for this particular situation 

If you wish to learn more about the steps needed to insure and maintain your collection, contact our multi-lingual staff to learn about the OTE valuation services.

The Armory Show
Yayoi Kusama Guidepost to the New World (2016) presented by Victoria Miro Gallery
Alexandre Arrechea L2VED2CH3 (2016) presented by Galeria Casado Santa Pau
Douglas Coupland Towers (2014) presented by Daniel Faria Gallery
ADAA Art Show
Alex Katz Nicole (2017) presented by Gavin Brown Enterprise

COLLECT International Art Fair at London

OTE's European Associate, Gillian Craig, shares her visuals during Collect - The International Art Fair for Contemporary Objects at the Saatchi Gallery London which is presented by the Crafts Council of UK.

Gillian reports that Collect provides a unique opportunity to see and buy museum-quality works by leading craft masters and showcases the finest examples of contemporary craft presented by 30 galleries from around the world. Founded in 1971, and incorporated by Royal Charter, the Crafts Council is Britain's national agency for contemporary craft. It is a charity and its work is made possible by the support of foundations, patrons, sponsors and through public funding by The Arts Council England.

You can also visit COLLECT's website at http://crafts-council.myshopify.com/collections/collect

mid-January Art Shows in NYC

At certain times of the year art events come in clusters, filled with relentless high pitched chatter, multiple shoe changes, frantic scurries across town weighted down with bags of free brochures and occasional energy bars, allowing little time for sleep or regular meals or coherent thought.

Some of these times are more fun than others though because the regimen isn’t at all grueling and the discoveries negate the three hours standing/walking without a chair. Such was the case in mid-January with the Outsider Art Fair, the Winter Antiques Show, the Master Drawings multiple venues, and the IFA lecture on Carolingian Ivory. The last two weren’t mandatory for art appraisers, although they should have been for anyone who says he or she “really loves art.”

What did I take away from the Outsider Fair? A reaffirmation of what I have told colleagues here and in Europe – this is an expanding field, worthy of scholarly investigation, and increasingly appealing to collectors. The Fair itself is endlessly amusing, but also deeply fascinating, both because of the singular visions of the artists involved, both those with histories of mental disabilities, obsessional delusions or intuitive brilliance for art making. And the prices are so seductive.

Once I had an office only a block away from the Museum of Sex on West 27th Street, but never had either the inclination to visit or the courage, perhaps because the entrance was right smack on Fifth. But the invitation to view a show of erotic Outsider Art eradicated any possible prurient interests on my art and transformed it into an educational event. My only post-attendance worry is that the house photographer took a photo of me for their records and I can’t for my life remember what I was standing in front of at the momentous time.

As of this writing I still have time to return to the Winter Antiques Show because this finely tuned panorama of exquisite items cannot be enjoyed in one pallid walk through. It’s changing a little though, moving slightly and discreetly into a modern age without broadcasting it, but I hope not too much. There are a great many other exhibitions in Manhattan that show marvelous contemporary design, but where else would one see Pitcairn Island wood carvings of Fish carved by the descendants of Fletcher Christian and his band of settlers who had been the mutineers of the ship Bounty. These marvelously elegant inventive miro wood carvings were created by the first through eighth generation descendants of the sailors who had arrived at the Polynesian island of Pitcairn in 1790, found this week at the aptly named Lost City Arts.

I won’t even attempt to discuss the other two events because speaking the language of Esoteric can’t be properly translated on Twitter or on an OTE blog.

Dr. Elin Lake-Ewald ASA, FRICS, President of O'Toole-Ewald Art Associates Inc.

The American Art Exhibition at Bohemiam Hall

The American Art Exhibition at Bohemiam Hall was filled with an upbeat aura, as if dealers believed a turning point had arrived in the all too quiet market for American Art over the past few years. Compared to prices for Contemporary and Impressionist Art the press has heralded at recent auction sales, prices at this exhibition were more than modest – and for rather wonderful works.

A magnificent Alexander Archipenko from 1935 was available at Forum Gallery for $475,000, a rare example that would fit easily into any collection of 21st century art.  At Meredith Ward’s booth a striking oil and ink exploration of time and space and memory, created by Steve Wheeler in the 1960s, was for sale at $40,000. Wheeler is an artist coming into recognition after too long a time.

Alexander Archipenko

Alexander Archipenko

At the Abby M. Taylor booth she pared a Bertram Hartman painting ($28,000) with a bronze tiger by Anna Hyatt Huntington ($48,000), an interesting composition that showsthat seemingly at odds work can look pretty good when placed together. Debra Force introduced a charming couple by Robert Laurent in “Flirtation” of 1921 by Robert Laurent, priced at $600,000. And at DeeDee Wigmore’s a riveting and unusually large Werner Drewes carried a price tag of $250,000. Of course there were multiple paintings and objects that commanded far lower prices, but these caught my eye so I recorded them.

Bertram Hartman & Anna Hyatt Huntington

Bertram Hartman & Anna Hyatt Huntington

Werner Drewes

Werner Drewes

Nineteenth and 20th century American Art has been in the shadows of Contemporary Art for several years, rather like the quiet sister upstaged by the glamorous one. Taste may be evolving a bit now, as antique furniture is making a sort of comeback, often to be included as a single piece  with today’s latest décor. And some collectors are looking for colorful figurative work that makes a statement without overwhelming the room. We’ll see. Tastes change so rapidly and often unexpectedly that it is impossible to be a soothsayer in the art field. But it always pays to keep looking. You never know.

Robert Laurent in “Flirtation” of 1921 by Robert Laurent

Robert Laurent in “Flirtation” of 1921 by Robert Laurent

Steve Wheeler

Steve Wheeler

A Weekend in New York City

John McLaughlin and Mark Rothko had this in common: “I want to communicate only to the extent that the painting will serve to induce or intensify the viewer’s natural desire for contemplation without the benefit of a guiding principle.” Both artists were active in the post-war period, but the art world has seen far less of abstractionist McLaughlin until now with a revival by Van Doren Waxter through seven paintings, “Marvelous Void,” a term conceived by a 15th century Japanese artist and Zen monk, whose work is interspersed with that of the 20th century painter.

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In his first exhibition since 2001 of Mike Kelley’s two and three dimensional works, Hauser & Wirth is presenting “Memory Ware,” an extraordinary presentation of the late artist’s exploration of his past through large panels of embedded buttons, chains, and keys embedded in clay or epoxy, and flat panels of personal objects presented in solitary fashion. It is a fascinating journey through a memorable life that ended in 2012.

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Joel Shapiro’s small and large scale sculpture at Dominque Levy Gallery is a colorful departure from his assertive bronze work; the vividly pigmented pieces appear to fly through the air, held there by cords, while the mightier works occupy space aggressively. In another section of the building, at Galerie Perrotin the artist Julio Le Parc provides the closing show for the gallery which will relocate to the Lower East Side in the spring. The Perez Art Museum in Miami will open a historical survey of Le Parc’s work on Friday, the 18th.

Although I’d gone to The Asia Society primarily to view the paintings of Zao Wou Ki, and found the show beautiful, I stayed to watch a genuinely engaging video of a gay (he made particular note of it himself) Buddhist monk explaining both Artemisia Gentileschi’s “Judith Beheading Holofernes” and Jeff Koon’s “Unitled” of two semi naked women interacting with a standing male figure. I sat down for a minute and ended staying for as long as it took to listen to the cheerful teacher speak to small children and a scattering of “grandmas” on his interpretation of the two works in moral terms. Why had it taken me so long to realize that different cultures will see paintings in ways totally distant from ours in the Western World? I was truly touched by the monk’s dialog on Buddhist teaching that adds still another layer to the complexity of understanding art. Art CAN make us better people in a way that had not impacted my thinking in such a manner before.

Auction Previews / November 2016

O’Toole-Ewald Art Associates Inc (OTE) appraisers are constantly exploring the multiple art scenes in the New York area. This past week OTE’s experts attended major auction houses’ post-war and contemporary art previews. These are the most popular artworks that will be sold at auctions in November 2016.