gse_menu_B1

 

Gustav Klimt

Left: Gustav Klimt in his studio garden. Circa 1912-14. Photograph.

Right: Poster for the First Secession Exhibition. 1898. Private collection.

EXHIBITIONS (*INDICATES SOLO EXHIBITION)

IFPDA Print Fair 2017

October 26, 2017 - October 29, 2017


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 11, 2017 - October 13, 2017


Recent Acquisitions

July 11, 2017 - October 13, 2017


Art Basel 2017

June 15, 2017 - June 18, 2017


The Woman Question

Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka

March 14, 2017 - June 30, 2017


The Woman Question

Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka

March 14, 2017 - June 30, 2017


ADAA Art Show 2017

March 1, 2017 - March 5, 2017


Recent Acquisitions

July 12, 2016 - October 7, 2016


Recent Acquisitions

July 12, 2016 - October 7, 2016


Art Basel 2016

June 16, 2016 - June 19, 2016


ADAA Art Show 2016

March 1, 2016 - March 6, 2016


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 21, 2015 - October 16, 2015


Recent Acquisitions

July 21, 2015 - October 16, 2015


Art Basel 2015

June 17, 2015 - June 21, 2015


ADAA Art Show 2015

March 3, 2015 - March 8, 2015


Alternate Histories

Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Galerie St. Etienne

January 15, 2015 - April 11, 2015


Alternate Histories

January 15, 2015 - April 11, 2015


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 15, 2014 - September 26, 2014


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 15, 2014 - September 26, 2014


Art Basel 2014

June 19, 2014 - June 22, 2014


ADAA: The Art Show 2014

March 5, 2014 - March 9, 2014


Recent Acquisitions

July 9, 2013 - September 27, 2013


Recent Acquisitions

And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market

July 9, 2013 - September 27, 2013


Art Basel 2013

Galerie St. Etienne, Hall 2.0, Booth D11

June 13, 2013 - June 16, 2013


Face Time

Self and Identity in Expressionist Portraiture

April 9, 2013 - June 28, 2013


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 17, 2012 - October 13, 2012


The Lady and the Tramp

Images of Women in Austrian and German Art

October 11, 2011 - December 30, 2011


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 5, 2011 - September 30, 2011


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 13, 2010 - October 1, 2010


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 24, 2008 - September 26, 2008


Transforming Reality

Pattern and Design in Modern and Self-Taught Art

January 15, 2008 - March 8, 2008


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 5, 2007 - September 28, 2007


Who Paid the Piper?

The Art of Patronage in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna

March 8, 2007 - May 26, 2007


More Than Coffee was Served

Café Culture in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna and Weimar Germany

September 19, 2006 - November 25, 2006


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 6, 2006 - September 8, 2006


* Coming of Age

Egon Schiele and the Modernist Culture of Youth

November 15, 2005 - January 7, 2006


Recent Acquisitions

And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market

June 7, 2005 - September 9, 2005


Every Picture Tells a Story

The Narrative Impulse in Modern and Contemporary Art

April 5, 2005 - May 27, 2005


65th Anniversary Exhibition, Part I

Austrian and German Expressionism

October 28, 2004 - January 8, 2005


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 24, 2003 - September 12, 2003


In Search of the "Total Artwork"

Viennese Art and Design 1897–1932

April 8, 2003 - June 14, 2003


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 25, 2002 - September 20, 2002


Gustav Klimt/Egon Schiele/Oskar Kokoscha

From Art Nouveau to Expressionism

November 23, 2001 - January 5, 2002


Recent Acquisitions (And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 26, 2001 - September 7, 2001


From Façade to Psyche

Turn-of-the-Century Portraiture in Austria & Germany

March 28, 2000 - June 10, 2000


Saved From Europe

In Commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of the Galerie St. Etienne

November 6, 1999 - January 8, 2000


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts About Looted Art)

June 9, 1998 - September 11, 1998


Taboo

Repression and Revolt in Modern Art

March 26, 1998 - May 30, 1998


Recent Acquisitions

A Question of Quality

June 10, 1997 - September 5, 1997


The Viennese Line

Art and Design Circa 1900

November 18, 1996 - January 4, 1997


Breaking All The Rules

Art in Transition

June 11, 1996 - September 6, 1996


The Fractured Form

Expressionism and the Human Body

November 15, 1995 - January 6, 1996


Recent Acquisitions

June 20, 1995 - September 8, 1995


On the Brink 1900-2000

The Turning of Two Centuries

March 28, 1995 - May 26, 1995


55th Anniversary Exhibition in Memory of Otto Kallir

June 7, 1994 - September 2, 1994


Symbolism and the Austrian Avant Garde

Klimt, Schiele and their Contemporaries

November 16, 1993 - January 8, 1994


Recent Acquisitions

June 8, 1993 - September 3, 1993


Naive Visions/Art Nouveau and Expressionism/Sue Coe: The Road to the White House

May 19, 1992 - September 4, 1992


Scandal, Outrage, Censorship

Controversy in Modern Art

January 21, 1992 - March 7, 1992


Viennese Graphic Design

From Secession to Expressionism

November 19, 1991 - January 11, 1992


Recent Acquisitions

Themes and Variations

May 14, 1991 - August 16, 1991


Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka

Watercolors, drawings and prints

January 22, 1991 - March 2, 1991


Recent Acquisitions

June 12, 1990 - August 31, 1990


The Narrative in Art

January 23, 1990 - March 17, 1990


The Galerie St. Etienne

A History in Documents and Pictures

June 20, 1989 - September 8, 1989


* Gustav Klimt

Paintings and Drawings

April 11, 1989 - June 10, 1989


Recent Acquisitions and Works From the Collection

June 14, 1988 - September 16, 1988


From Art Nouveau to Expressionism

April 12, 1988 - May 27, 1988


Recent Acquisitions and Works From the Collection

April 7, 1987 - October 31, 1987


Oskar Kokoschka and His Time

November 25, 1986 - January 31, 1987


Viennese Design and Wiener Werkstätte

September 23, 1986 - November 8, 1986


Gustav Klimt/Egon Schiele/Oskar Kokoschka

Watercolors, Drawings and Prints

May 27, 1986 - September 13, 1986


The Art of Giving

December 3, 1985 - January 18, 1986


Expressionists on Paper

October 8, 1985 - November 23, 1985


European and American Landscapes

June 4, 1985 - September 13, 1985


Arnold Schoenberg's Vienna

November 13, 1984 - January 5, 1985


* Gustav Klimt

Drawings and Selected Paintings

September 20, 1983 - November 5, 1983


Early and Late

Drawings, Paintings & Prints from Academicism to Expressionism

June 1, 1983 - September 2, 1983


Aspects of Modernism

June 1, 1982 - September 3, 1982


The Human Perspective

Recent Acquisitions

March 16, 1982 - May 15, 1982


Austria's Expressionism

April 21, 1981 - May 30, 1981


Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele

November 12, 1980 - December 27, 1980


* Gustav Klimt

March 20, 1970


Austrian Art of the 20th Century

March 21, 1969


* Gustav Klimt

February 4, 1967


The Wiener Werkstätte

November 16, 1966


25th Anniversary Exhibition

Part I

October 17, 1964


Austrian Expressionists

January 6, 1964


Group Show

October 15, 1962


Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka and Alfred Kubin

March 14, 1961


Watercolors and Drawings by Austrian Artists from the Dial Collection

May 2, 1960


European and American Expressionists

September 22, 1959


* Gustav Klimt

April 1, 1959


Austrian Art of the 19th Century

From Wadlmüller to Klimt

April 1, 1950


Small, Good Art Works from the 19th and 20th Centuries

January 27, 1949


Franz Barwig the Elder, Franz Barwig the Younger and Gustav Klimt

March 12, 1948


Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele

September 15, 1945


Saved from Europe

Masterpieces of European Art

July 1, 1940


Group Exhibition

May 1, 1939


Austrian Art

February 1, 1939


Important Paintings

November 29, 1937


Anton Faistauer, Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele

June 1, 1933


Gustav Klimt and Bruno Lauterbach

March 29, 1928


* Gustav Klimt

May 20, 1926


RECENT ACQUISITIONS

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 5, 2011 - September 30, 2011

ARTISTS

Baskin, Leonard

Beckmann, Max

Corinth, Lovis

Dix, Otto

Feininger, Lyonel

Grosz, George

Hirshfield, Morris

Kirchner, Ernst Ludwig

Klimt, Gustav

Kollwitz, Käthe

Moses, Anna Mary Robertson ("Grandma")

Motesiczky, Marie-Louise

Nolde, Emil

Pechstein, Hermann Max

Schiele, Egon

 

ESSAY

In the movie The Social Network, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg must choose between building a steady revenue stream via ad sales or going for a potentially much larger payoff by using venture capital to boost his startup’s reach and thereby its valuation. He selects the latter option. In real life, Facebook recently raised $500 million from Goldman Sachs and a Russian investor, based on a total company valuation of $50 billion: an astonishing 140-times the company’s estimated 2010 earnings. Zuckerberg and Facebook’s initial investors will probably reap their big reward through a future IPO, if they haven’t already done so through the burgeoning secondary market for shares in privately held companies. Whether Facebook or any of the other hot Internet startups, like Twitter, Groupon and Zynga, show a profit over the long term is momentarily irrelevant.

 

During the past decade, the art world has been influenced by a similar hunger for audacious returns. Small galleries act as unwitting incubators for mega-dealers such as Larry Gagosian, who poach promising artists and then raise their prices exponentially almost overnight. Like Facebook, Gagosian’s empire, and the implicit worth of his “stock,” have been enhanced by rapid global expansion: eleven galleries worldwide, churning out some sixty exhibitions per year. The glamorous veneer of all this, according to a dealer quoted in a Wall Street Journal profile of Gagosian, makes buying from him seem a privilege worth any price. Gagosian’s annual revenues are said to exceed $1 billion; the galleries’ net earnings, of course, have never been publicly disclosed.

 

The commodity value of “blue-chip” art is ostensibly affirmed by a certain number of high-profile collectors buying or selling a certain number of high-priced artworks, either through dealers such as Gagosian or at auction. However, it is sometimes debatable whether these collectors, and these sales, actually constitute a full-fledged market for the artists in question. In 2004, hedge-fund mogul Steven Cohen paid a well-publicized $8 million for Damien Hirst’s pickled (and, as it turned out, rotting) shark. In 2007, Hirst upped the ante considerably by offering his diamond-encrusted skull, ironically titled For the Love of God, for $50 million and then, in the space of a few months, capriciously raising the price to $100 million. The skull was subsequently “sold” to a group of investors who included Hirst’s London dealer, Jay Jopling, his business manager, Frank Dunphy, and the artist himself. In 2008, The Art Newspaper revealed that Jopling was warehousing over 200 unsold Hirst objects, including dozens of paintings, six “classic” medicine cabinets and a pickled cow. Shortly thereafter, on September 15 and 16, 2008, Sotheby’s hosted a sale of 223 Hirsts created specifically for that auction. The sale was at the time deemed a major triumph, not only because 218 of the lots sold (many of them to new buyers), but because it seemed to confirm the vitality of the art market in the face of Lehman Brothers’ coincidental declaration of bankruptcy. Subsequently, however, Hirst’s market has become considerably more subdued, and some have questioned whether all the Sotheby’s transactions were actually concluded.

 

Auctions have long been a popular way to pump up the market, because they are public and because most of the key players—the auctioneers, the press and a significant number of dealers—share a vested interest in touting record results and ignoring everything else. The vaunted transparency of auctions is often a fiction. Bidders can easily collude to either depress or raise prices, and secret reserves turn a portion of the bidding process into a theatrical performance. None of this is new, but the amount of money now at stake and the concomitant development of arcane financing arrangements increase the potential for abuse. Guarantees, when funded by the auction house, give the auctioneer an incentive to favor the guaranteed works over others in which the house does not have an interest. Third-party guarantees—in which a collector/investor funds a guarantee in exchange for a share of the profit above the guaranteed amount—offer the guarantor (who is usually allowed to bid) an inside track on the lot in question and a de facto (and undisclosed) discount on the gross selling price if he or she ends up buying the work at the sale. The big-ticket evening auctions are frequently dominated by the same few individuals, acting interchangeably as buyers and sellers. Synergy between a closely-knit group of consignors and bidders is thought to have been responsible for the success of the sale-within-a-sale “curated” by dealer Philippe Ségalot for the auction house Phillips de Pury in November 2010. While the 33 lots in Ségalot’s sale commanded an impressive $117 million, the 26 lots in the remainder of the auction brought only $19.9 million, less than the low estimate.

 

Today’s mega-dealers and their mega-clients reflect the ethos of a new global economy in which a relatively small elite has accumulated vast wealth and sees art as just another asset class, to be traded much like any other investment. The problem is, art does not behave like any other investment. Economists may generate fancy charts to show, say, that the market for Chinese art is rising or declining, but these charts have little bearing on how a specific item will perform. Every art object is unique. For example, in February 2010 an Alberto Giacometti sculpture brought $103.4 million at Sotheby’s, and in May of the same year another sculpture by the artist fetched $53.5 million at Christie’s. However, in February 2011 all the Giacomettis (of lesser quality and with lower estimates than their two predecessors) in the evening sales at Sotheby’s and Christie’s failed to sell. Because the value of a given work is often determined by the subjective judgments and desires of a handful of collectors, art is notoriously illiquid. Art funds have repeatedly tried to solve this problem, but the unpredictable nature of the market makes it hard for any such fund to generate consistent returns. Buying shares in a portfolio of artworks is not necessarily more secure than buying a single work of art, and it is a lot less enjoyable.

 

While art may indeed be a good investment over time, the question is: which art, and how much time? In order to assess an artist’s investment potential, one needs to know not only whether the work has appreciated in the past, but whether there is a collector base large enough to absorb the number of works likely to come to market in the future. This last is a tricky point, because if prices rise too rapidly, the collectors who supported the artist at price “a” may be unwilling to step in at price “b.” That is why dealers, as a rule, like to feed works into the marketplace slowly, and to increase prices gradually, judiciously balancing supply and demand. Simultaneously, dealers try to enhance the artist’s reputation by encouraging scholarship and placing works in major museum and private collections. Ideally, an artist’s market value should reflect his or her art-historical stature. Since it takes time to build a lasting critical consensus and a solid market, art has tended to appreciate (if at all) relatively slowly. Crucially, however, the collections that have in the past appreciated most were not formed with investment in mind. Passionate engagement with the art would seem to be a more significant prerequisite for cultivating the aesthetic discernment and knowledge necessary to make wise choices.

 

A great many dealers and collectors still operate according to the preceding, tried-and-true principles. This contingent is, in fact, the core of the art market, more numerous and cumulatively better funded than the high-profile players who bat expensive artworks back and forth among themselves like so many ping-pong balls. During the recent boom, the latter group pushed prices up for everyone, but now that casual speculators have been driven from the field, the machinations of would-be market manipulators stand out in harsh relief. While auctions generate a handful of stellar results, the once glamorous evening sales have become comparatively lackluster. The shrunken market makes it difficult for auctioneers to sustain a continuous stream of multimillion-dollar bids. This sets up a vicious cycle, wherein consignors become reluctant to sell at auction, prompting the houses to offer unrealistic estimates, which increase the buy-in rate and hence the reluctance to consign. Yet the core of the market remains solid—perhaps more solid than it has been in years. Dominated by buyers who understand both quality and value, present circumstances encourage, indeed require, sellers to price works appropriately.

 

The question is: will these more sober attitudes hold, or will speculative excess once again permeate the art market as the economy recovers? The financial crisis, which propelled millions to the brink of bankruptcy and beyond, has only served to further concentrate the remaining wealth at the top. Free-marketeers claim that markets are self-correcting, automatically apportioning risk and reward, but during the boom investors figured out ways to off-load the risks while retaining the rewards. Beneficiaries of this rigged game, many financial winners now long for its continuation. Present economic circumstances recall Woody Allen’s joke about the man who thinks he’s a chicken. Otherwise sane people support his delusion, because they want the eggs.

 

 

The Galerie St. Etienne, in business for over 70 years, has always taken the long view, attempting to foster fundamental values and a knowledgeable collector base. Continuing our tradition of scholarship, the gallery’s co-director Jane Kallir this year curated the exhibition "Egon Schiele: Self-Portraits and Portraits" for the Belvedere Museum in Vienna. Simultaneously, at home in New York, we organized the highly acclaimed show, “Decadence and Decay,” featuring the work of Max Beckmann, Otto Dix and George Grosz. As a result, our summer offerings include a spectacular selection of rarely available Dix watercolors and drawings, among them the Cubo-Futuristic Portrait of a Woman in Profile, the harrowing Head I (Mrs. D.) and the comparatively demure Rachel I. These are complemented by Grosz drawings depicting a panoply of Weimar-era characters, from the carousing fat-cats in Skat Sketch, to the dying worker in Let Those Swim Who Can—the Heavy May Sink (a famous, frequently reproduced image).

 

In tandem with the Museum of Modern Art’s outstanding exhibition “German Expressionism: The Graphic Impulse” (on view through July 11), we recently acquired a number of highly sought-after prints. Etchings from Dix’s well-known cycles War and Circus are joined by rare, early images like his Old Woman at the Café and Pregnant Woman. Also on view are several virtually unique woodcut proofs by Lyonel Feininger (the subject of an ongoing retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art) and prints by Beckmann, E.L. Kirchner, Käthe Kollwitz, Otto Mueller, Emil Nolde, Hermann Max Pechstein, Egon Schiele and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff. An impressive selection of bronzes by the American sculptor Leonard Baskin demonstrates a kindred sensibility.

 

Another highlight of the Galerie St. Etienne’s summer exhibition is a stellar group of drawings by Gustav Klimt, including many studies for major oils, some of them enhanced with color. Foremost among these is the newly rediscovered large-format ink drawing Fish Blood, which had seemingly vanished after being exhibited at the Vienna Secession in 1903. Klimt’s acolyte Schiele is represented in our show by several important drawings, among them a remarkably humanistic portrait of his lover, Wally Neuzil (made famous by a recently settled restitution dispute over a related oil), and a chilling double portrait, Embrace, depicting the artist with his bride, Edith.

 

In 2010, we were pleased to introduce to the market a "new" Expressionist, Marie-Louise Motesiczky. Motesiczky was a student of Max Beckmann and a lover, for over 50 years, of the Nobel laureate Elias Canetti. Born into a prominent Jewish aristocratic clan that once formed the financial and cultural backbone of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, she was driven into exile by the Nazi Anschluss in 1938. Paintings like Self-Portrait in Straw Hat and Self-Portrait in Black are among the artist’s most iconic works, depicting an elegant woman whose strong sense of identity helped her surmount unimaginable difficulties. Two portraits of Motesizcky’s mother, Henriette Motesizcky I, painted in 1929, and Mother in Green Dressing Gown, done in 1975, document not just the aging process, but the enduring interplay of loss and resilience. Upon her death in 1996, Motesiczky (who during her lifetime refused to part with her art) bequeathed her estate to the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, which has to date sponsored a biography, a catalogue raisonné and a European traveling exhibition. As the Trust’s representative, the Galerie St. Etienne mounted Motesiczky's first American exhibition last year and has organized a similar show at the Viennese gallery Wienerroither & Kohlbacher (through July 31). The New York Times called Motesiczky’s New York debut "a shock and a treat," suggesting that it would change our view of modern art history.

 

The Galerie St. Etienne’s other field of specialization, work by self-taught artists, is likewise undergoing a period of reassessment. In our January exhibition, Self-Taught Painters in America, 1800-1950 (organized in cooperation with the Bennington Museum), we examined the various forces that conspired to segregate this branch of art from the mainstream over the course of several centuries. These forces are now waning, making it easier to focus on the quality, development and contexts of the individual creators. While much secondary material may fall by the wayside in the process of reevaluation, it is to be hoped that the best self-taught artists will, at long last, take their place as equals alongside their schooled colleagues. We are delighted in our summer show to offer work by two time-tested self-taught painters, Morris Hirshfield and Grandma Moses. Hirshfield’s American Beauty is one of the artist’s great drawings, a full-scale imagining of the related painting that stands as an independent work in its own right. Our visitors will also have the opportunity to view three classic Grandma Moses snow scenes, We Have a Turkey, Stone Boat and Get Along.