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Käthe Kollwitz

Left: Self-Portrait. 1924. Woodcut. Private collection.

Right: Käthe Kollwitz. Photograph.

EXHIBITIONS (*INDICATES SOLO EXHIBITION)

All Good Art is Political

October 26, 2017 - February 10, 2018


All Good Art is Political

Käthe Kollwitz and Sue Coe

October 26, 2017 - February 10, 2018


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


ADAA Art Show 2017

March 1, 2017 - March 5, 2017


IFPDA Print Fair 2016

November 3, 2016 - November 6, 2016


IFPDA Print Fair 2016

November 3, 2016 - November 6, 2016


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


IFPDA Print Fair 2015

November 4, 2015 - November 8, 2015


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


IFPDA Print Fair 2014

November 5, 2014 - November 9, 2014


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


Modern Furies

The Lessons and Legacy of World War I

January 21, 2014 - April 12, 2014


* Modern Furies

The Lessons and Legacy of World War I

January 21, 2014 - April 12, 2014


IFPDA Print Fair 2013

November 6, 2013 - November 12, 2013


* Käthe Kollwitz

The Complete Print Cycles

October 8, 2013 - December 28, 2013


* Käthe Kollwitz

The Complete Print Cycles

October 8, 2013 - December 28, 2013


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


* Käthe Kollwitz

A Portrait of the Artist

April 13, 2010 - June 25, 2010


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 24, 2008 - September 26, 2008


Hope or Menace?

Communism in Germany Between the World Wars

March 25, 2008 - June 13, 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


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


Sue Coe: Bully: Master of the Global Merry-Go-Round and Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 8, 2004 - October 16, 2004


Body and Soul

Expressionism and the Human Figure

October 7, 2003 - January 3, 2004


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 24, 2003 - September 12, 2003


* Käthe Kollwitz:

Master Printmaker

October 1, 2002 - January 4, 2003


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 25, 2002 - September 20, 2002


Workers of the World

Modern Images of Labor

April 2, 2002 - June 15, 2002


The "Black-and-White" Show

Expressionist Graphics in Austria & Germany

September 20, 2001 - November 10, 2001


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

June 26, 2001 - September 7, 2001


Art with an Agenda

Politics, Persuasion, Illustration and Decoration

April 10, 2001 - June 16, 2001


The Tragedy of War

November 16, 2000 - January 6, 2001


The Expressionist City

September 19, 2000 - November 4, 2000


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

June 20, 2000 - September 8, 2000


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


The Modern Child

(Images of Children in Twentieth-Century Art)

September 14, 1999 - November 6, 1999


Recent Acquisitions

(And a Look at Sixty Years of Art Dealing)

June 15, 1999 - September 3, 1999


* Becoming Käthe Kollwitz

An Artist and Her Influences

November 17, 1998 - December 31, 1998


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts About Looted Art)

June 9, 1998 - September 11, 1998


Recent Acquisitions

A Question of Quality

June 10, 1997 - September 5, 1997


Käthe Kollwitz - Lea Grundig

Two German Women & The Art of Protest

March 25, 1997 - May 31, 1997


Breaking All The Rules

Art in Transition

June 11, 1996 - September 6, 1996


From Left to Right

Social Realism in Germany and Russia, Circa 1919-1933

September 19, 1995 - November 4, 1995


Recent Acquisitions

June 20, 1995 - September 8, 1995


On the Brink 1900-2000

The Turning of Two Centuries

March 28, 1995 - May 26, 1995


Three Berlin Artists of the Weimar Era: Hannah Höch, Käthe Kollwitz, Jeanne Mam

September 13, 1994 - November 5, 1994


Art and Politics in Weimar Germany

September 14, 1993 - November 6, 1993


Recent Acquisitions

June 8, 1993 - September 3, 1993


The Dance of Death

Images of Mortality in German Art

January 19, 1993 - March 13, 1993


* Käthe Kollwitz

In Celebration of the 125th Anniversary of the Artist's Birth

September 15, 1992 - November 7, 1992


Scandal, Outrage, Censorship

Controversy in Modern Art

January 21, 1992 - March 7, 1992


The Expressionist Figure

September 10, 1991 - November 9, 1991


Recent Acquisitions

Themes and Variations

May 14, 1991 - August 16, 1991


Recent Acquisitions

June 12, 1990 - August 31, 1990


Max Klinger, Käthe Kollwitz, Alfred Kubin

A Study in Influences

March 27, 1990 - June 2, 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


Fifty Years Galerie St. Etienne: An Overview

February 14, 1989 - April 1, 1989


Recent Acquisitions and Works From the Collection

June 14, 1988 - September 16, 1988


Three Pre-Expressionists

Lovis Corinth Käthe Kollwitz Paula Modersohn-Becker

January 26, 1988 - March 12, 1988


* Käthe Kollwitz

The Power of the Print

November 17, 1987 - January 16, 1988


Recent Acquisitions and Works From the Collection

April 7, 1987 - October 31, 1987


Käthe Kollwitz/Paula Modersohn-Becker

January 28, 1986 - March 15, 1986


The Art of Giving

December 3, 1985 - January 18, 1986


Expressionists on Paper

October 8, 1985 - November 23, 1985


Expressionist Printmaking

Aspects of its Genesis and Development

April 1, 1985 - May 24, 1985


Early and Late

Drawings, Paintings & Prints from Academicism to Expressionism

June 1, 1983 - September 2, 1983


* Käthe Kollwitz

The Artist as Printmaker

September 28, 1982 - November 6, 1982


Aspects of Modernism

June 1, 1982 - September 3, 1982


The Human Perspective

Recent Acquisitions

March 16, 1982 - May 15, 1982


* Kollwitz: The Drawing and The Print

May 1, 1980 - June 10, 1980


* Käthe Kollwitz

December 1, 1976


* Käthe Kollwitz

February 3, 1971


* Käthe Kollwitz

In the Cause of Humanity

October 23, 1967


* Käthe Kollwitz

May 1, 1965


Group Show

October 15, 1962


* Käthe Kollwitz

November 11, 1961


* Käthe Kollwitz

December 14, 1959


European and American Expressionists

September 22, 1959


* Käthe Kollwitz

January 12, 1959


* Käthe Kollwitz

April 16, 1956


* Käthe Kollwitz

October 25, 1951


* Tenth Anniversary Exhibition

Part I

November 30, 1949


* Käthe Kollwitz

Masterworks

October 18, 1948


* Käthe Kollwitz

October 4, 1947


* Käthe Kollwitz

Memorial Exhibition

November 21, 1945


* Käthe Kollwitz

Part II

October 26, 1944


* Käthe Kollwitz

Part I

November 3, 1943


Saved from Europe

Masterpieces of European Art

July 1, 1940


RECENT ACQUISITIONS

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 25, 2002 - September 20, 2002

ARTISTS

Arntz, Gerd

Coe, Sue

Darger, Henry

Grosz, George

Grundig, Lea

Heckel, Erich

Jansen, Franz M.

Klimt, Gustav

Kokoschka, Oskar

Kollwitz, Käthe

Kubin, Alfred

Leonov, Pavel

Likarz, Maria

Masereel, Franz

McCarthy, Justin

Moses, Anna Mary Robertson ("Grandma")

Nedjar, Michel

Nikifor

Pechstein, Hermann Max

Rädler, Josef Karl

Romanenkov, Vasilij

Schaefler, Fritz

Schiele, Egon

Schmidt-Rottluff, Karl

Soyer, Raphael

Traylor, Bill

Tschinkel, Augustin

Zille, Heinrich

 

ESSAY

For some years now, the essay accompanying our summer “Recent Acquisitions” exhibition has surveyed the current state of the art market. However, this past year has been unlike any other in the history of our nation. The September terrorist attacks, which happened to coincide with the start of the art season, resonated within our relatively insular art world just as they did throughout the broader population. The art community’s reactions in many respects mirrored those elsewhere: grief, fear and anger, on the one hand, were balanced by generosity and compassion, on the other. Although members of the art world are unusually privileged, culturally and often also financially, art itself expresses the most universal of human impulses. If there is an answer to the dilemma facing us today, a balm to heal our wounds and make us whole again, it may as readily be found in art as in the more ostensibly pragmatic actions of politicians, diplomats and soldiers.

 

In the weeks following September 11, pundits often told us that everything had changed. Irony was declared dead, as were materialism, celebrity worship and all the other excessively narcissistic aspects of American society. America, it was said, would never be the same. Today, a scant ten months later, such statements seem overly cataclysmic and in themselves somewhat narcissistic. First of all, the only thing that really changed on September 11 was America’s longstanding sense of invulnerability; the international developments that led to the terrorist assault had been unfolding for many, many years before. And second, the death of irony, materialism and celebrity-mongering proved to be no more than a relatively short moratorium.

 

It was bizarre (and genuinely ironic), in the wake of the airplane attacks, to hear our political leaders promote shopping as a patriotic duty. Yet rampant materialism has become so intrinsic to our nation’s well-being that any significant downturn in consumer spending could theoretically have caused more economic damage than the attacks themselves. Throughout the autumn of 2001, many Americans, acting out of respect for the dead, emotional shock and existential uncertainty, did curtail their shopping. But the absence of any further domestic terrorism (other than the mercifully short-lived, if still unexplained, anthrax mailings), and the unexpectedly rapid rout of the Taliban seemed to sanction a return to normalcy. By early 2002, relief, pent-up desire, low interest rates and a lackluster stock market had spurred spending, particularly on items, like art and real estate, that could be viewed as potential investments.

 

The shape of our supposedly recovering economy remains uneven. One commentator recently likened it to an hourglass: fat on the top and bottom, but skinny in the middle. This makes sense. The rich have plenty of money, and low-cost items are low-risk, but the vast middle of our economy is still anemic. In the art market, the middle range has been eroding for several years now. Our “State of the Market Report” last summer described this phenomenon in some detail. Increasingly, collectors, dealers and the auction houses have been focusing their attention on the uppermost tier, generating enormous prices for works that are perceived to be superior in quality. As a result, there are now really two entirely separate art markets: one for top-notch works, and another for everything else.

 

While it is tempting to try to justify this two-tier market in objective terms, the truth is that sometimes there is little qualitative difference between an “A-level” and a “B-level” work. And even in cases where a quality difference is palpable, the price gap between the two levels often exceeds the gap in quality. It is no longer possible to logically extrapolate the value of a “B-level” work from an “A-level” work, because in addition to rational factors such as aesthetic merit, size, provenance and condition, there is often an unquantifiable element (generally involving some combination of hype and hubris) that skews the price of the latter. The pricing dichotomy between top-and mid-level works has become so extreme that it is undermining the whole structure of comparative valuation that undergirds the art market. The element of chance that has always been part of the auction environment plays a far larger role today than ever before.

 

The much publicized trials and tribulations of the auction giants Sotheby’s and Christie’s are thus far more than a high-stakes soap opera or the latest manifestation of America’s love-hate obsession with wealth. The recent criminal conviction of Sotheby’s majority shareholder, A. Alfred Taubman, for colluding with his counterparts at Christie’s represents the failure of a marketing strategy that has dominated the art world for nearly two decades. When Taubman took over Sotheby’s in 1983, he initiated a concerted campaign to transform the auction house from a wholesale to a retail player, in the process popularizing the notion that auction prices could be used, somewhat like stock indices, as a market barometer. Presumably, if Taubman’s approach had been profitable, collusion would not have been deemed necessary. He and competitors who followed his lead invested enormous sums in marketing and promotion, but the auction houses never really succeeded in becoming full retail operations. Because sales results can range anywhere from below wholesale to above retail, auction pricing remains an unreliable barometer of value.

 

During the 2000-2001 art season, another ill-fated attempt to transform auctions into a lush retail environment was made by Phillips Auctioneers, long a second ranking sales venue. Hoping to profit from the financially draining civil penalties imposed on Sotheby’s and Christie’s for their collusion, Phillips positioned itself as a high-end art boutique and began offering sellers outlandish guarantees to secure top-flight consignments. Even though the sales proved relatively successful, Phillips lost tens of millions of dollars because the guarantees regularly exceeded realized prices. Stung in part by the economic downturn after September 11, Phillips’ parent company, the luxury-goods purveyor LVMH, finally pulled the plug in early 2002, transferring a majority interest in the auction house to two of its directors, Simon dePury and Daniella Luxembourg.

 

Phillips’ overfunded bid for dominance was a late-blooming example of the market paradigm that proved devastating to a lot of businesses during the boom of the late 1990s. Like many an Internet start-up, Phillips bought into the erroneous idea that a company can invest huge sums of money to gain market share without worrying about the bottom line. All these companies endeavored to bypass the tedious processes entailed in building a corporate infrastructure and providing an economically viable product or service. The illusion that wealth can be generated easily and quickly, which sucked people into the stock-market bubble and fueled the financial shenanigans of behemoths like Enron, should by now be thoroughly discredited. Nevertheless, a residue of that misguided philosophy remains with us in the art world.

 

The hunger for a “sure thing” is perhaps understandable in the wake of so much insecurity and anxiety. Since September 11, our world seems a far more dangerous place, and human existence appears far more fragile than it did previously. This perception is particularly acute in a city like New York, which not only bore the brunt of the terrorist attacks, but is also the center of the international art market. Disappointed with stocks, collectors would like to believe that art offers a more solid alternative. People crave certainty in art, even while acknowledging that certainty exists nowhere else.

 

The quest for certainty exacerbates the bifurcation of the art market that was already evident before September 11. This quest, which pushes the top of the market higher, can also be observed at lower altitudes. In every price range, collectors aver that they want only the “best.” As the amount of art on the discard heap grows larger, and the quantity of cream at the top smaller, one imagines that a moment of reckoning cannot be far off. It is difficult to predict what form such a reckoning might take. A universal price collapse is surely possible. But equally possible— and in fact necessary— is the reestablishment of a rational pricing structure that hews more closely to genuine gradations in quality while at the same time recognizing the difference between retail and wholesale.

 

The big auction houses failed in their bid to become viable retail outlets because an auction always comes down to the circumstances and whims in play on the date of sale, and the retail market simply cannot absorb all the art that is available on any one day. Dealers have historically acted as holding areas for this excess art, evening out transient variations in supply and demand and ensuring that both sellers and buyers get a fair price. Whereas auction results fluctuate based on the pressures of the moment, dealers have the leisure to accurately assess the quality and value of an art work in the context of other pieces by the same artist.

 

With the auction houses retrenching, knowledgeable dealers have a far greater role to play in shaping the future of the art market than at any point in the last twenty years. In addition to safeguarding a reasonable hierarchy of value, a good dealer can help a collector determine which works really are the “best.” Although certification by an outside authority (a famous name in the provenance, publication in a respected monograph) can provide seemingly objective guidelines, all aesthetic judgements are ultimately subjective. And tastes change over time. There are no short cuts or sure things in the art world, any more than there are in the rest of the world. True collecting entails protracted self-education and the honing of an idiosyncratic personal vision. Dealers serve as indispensable guides on a long journey of discovery. In this spirit, the Galerie St. Etienne has always seen its role as primarily educational. We strive to provide collectors with the information necessary to make their own determinations of both quality and value. Just as important as showcasing the singular extraordinary object is the ability to provide historical context for a broad range of art works. During this last year, we have employed both approaches in our roster of exhibitions. The season was bookended by two of our signature theme shows: one, in the fall, on Expressionist prints, and another, in the spring, on images of labor. The two central exhibitions of the year featured the artists for whom the gallery is best known. A presentation of drawings by Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka and another of paintings by Grandma Moses were timed to coincide with two travelling museum exhibitions organized by the Galerie St. Etienne (in Italy and the U. S. respectively).

 

Our summer “Recent Acquisitions” exhibition, as is traditional, recaps the gallery’s shows of the past season while simultaneously highlighting the most interesting additions to our inventory. At a time when collectors and dealers are complaining of a shortage of good material, we are especially pleased with the “new” works by Henry Darger, Klimt, Schiele, Käthe Kollwitz, Alfred Kubin and Moses that have come into the gallery during the last few months. As always, we accompany the art of these renowned masters with a broad selection of work by other Expressionists and self-taught artists, including (in the latter category) our recent “discoveries,” Pavel Leonov, Josef Karl Rädler and Vasilij Romanenkov.

 

Our principal contemporary artist, Sue Coe, while continuing to explore the animal subjects to which she has long been devoted, was (like all of us) deeply shaken by the events of September 11. Her monumental drawing 9-11 memorializes both the heroism and the profound sadness which will hereafter be associated with that historic date. Signed, limited-edition prints of the image may be purchased from the gallery for the benefit of the Henry Street Settlement, a social-services agency that has performed critical outreach among the direct and indirect victims of the World Trade Center disaster.

 

And so we return, full circle, to the subject with which our essay began. This has been a year in which we all yearned for quick and easy answers. We wanted to be done with the pain, to either move on, or if possible, to go back to the status quo ante. Collectors looking for that elusive “sure thing” will gradually come to realize that there is no certainty in art, but art does offer a haven of a different kind. Art is one of the oldest forms of human expression. It speaks to the indominability of the human spirit, the sacred and ineffable amidst the mundane. As we grope our way toward an understanding of what has happened to us, and what it will mean, there is still solace to be found in art. Given time and reflection, the answers will come.

 

Checklist entries include catalogue raisonné numbers, where applicable. Unless otherwise indicated, image dimensions are given for the prints and full dimensions for all other works.