The opening reception for The American Art Fair at the National Academy really topped off a day of looking at paintings. The caliber of paintings I’d say could probably rival what’s in the NA’s permanent collection. The event was first-class. We were greeted with a quartet and handed wine before we ascended the stairs to the busy galleries filled with works by James Peale, Childe Hassam, Emil Carlsen, Thomas Eakins and John LaFarge. In the crowd were notables including William Gerdts, impressionist and still life expert and author of over twenty-five books on American art; art historian, critic and author of With a Gem-Like Flame: A Novel of Venice and a Lost Masterpiece, David Cleveland, whose pending book on American tonalism is anxiously awaited; and Alan Fausel, vice president director of fine arts at Bonhams (and Antiques Roadshow appraiser), who we seemed to follow from the Madison Avenue gallery (or were we there first?). We’ll post more later on some of the paintings on display and where you can find them. Or here’s a novel idea, the fair continues through December 3 and admission is complimentary, so have a look for yourself!
The art fair at the National Academy did raise some ethical questions about commercialism. I didn’t have the chance to talk to Dr. Bruce Weber, the senior curator of 19th century American Art of the museum when he was looking at pictures intensively at the show. But later a staff member from Thomas Colville Gallery told me that there is a percentage on the labels of each painting, indicating the percentage of sale which will go to fund the National Academy. Buyers are supposed to payin two parts, with the first part (taxable) payable to the gallery while the rest to the academy.
UAA is excited about the lecture on Wednesday in the show discussing “Collecting in the Age of Technology“. Additional reports are forthcoming.