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Past Exhibitions

Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 11, 2017 - October 13, 2017


The Woman Question

Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka

March 14, 2017 - June 30, 2017


You Say You Want a Revolution

American Artists and the Communist Party

October 18, 2016 - March 4, 2017


Recent Acquisitions

July 12, 2016 - October 7, 2016


Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Featuring Watercolors and Drawings from the Robert Lehman Collection

March 29, 2016 - July 1, 2016


Paula Modersohn-Becker

Art and Life

November 3, 2015 - March 19, 2016


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 21, 2015 - October 16, 2015


Leonard Baskin

Wunderkammer

April 23, 2015 - July 2, 2015


Alternate Histories

Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Galerie St. Etienne

January 15, 2015 - April 11, 2015


Marie-Louise Motesiczky

The Mother Paintings

October 7, 2014 - December 24, 2014


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 15, 2014 - September 26, 2014


Ilija/Mangelos

Father & Son, Inside & Out

April 24, 2014 - July 3, 2014


Modern Furies

The Lessons and Legacy of World War I

January 21, 2014 - April 12, 2014


Käthe Kollwitz

The Complete Print Cycles

October 8, 2013 - December 28, 2013


Recent Acquisitions

And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market

July 9, 2013 - September 27, 2013


Face Time

Self and Identity in Expressionist Portraiture

April 9, 2013 - June 28, 2013


Story Lines

Tracing the Narrative of "Outsider" Art

January 15, 2013 - March 30, 2013


Egon Schiele's Women

October 23, 2012 - December 28, 2012


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 17, 2012 - October 13, 2012


Mad As Hell!

New Work (and Some Classics) by Sue Coe

April 17, 2012 - July 3, 2012


The Ins and Outs of Self-Taught Art

Reflections on a Shifting Field

January 10, 2012 - April 7, 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


Decadence & Decay

Max Beckmann, Otto Dix, George Grosz

April 12, 2011 - June 24, 2011


Self-Taught Painters in American 1800-1950

Revisiting the Tradition

January 11, 2011 - April 2, 2011


Marie-Louise Motesiczky

Paradise Lost & Found

October 12, 2010 - December 30, 2010


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


Seventy Years Grandma Moses

A Loan Exhibition Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the Artist's "Discovery"

February 3, 2010 - April 3, 2010


Egon Schiele as Printmaker

A Loan Exhibition Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the Galerie St. Etienne

November 3, 2009 - January 23, 2010


From Brücke To Bauhaus

The Meanings of Modernity in Germany, 1905-1933

March 31, 2009 - June 26, 2009


They Taught Themselves

American Self-Taught Painters Between the World Wars

January 9, 2009 - March 14, 2009


Elephants We Must Never Forget

New Paintings Drawings and Prints by Sue Coe

October 14, 2008 - December 20, 2008


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


Leonard Baskin

Proofs and Process

October 9, 2007 - January 5, 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


Fairy Tale, Myth and Fantasy

Approaches to Spirituality in Art

December 7, 2006 - February 3, 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


Parallel Visions II

"Outsider" and "Insider" Art Today

April 5, 2006 - May 26, 2006


Ilija!

His First American Exhibtion

January 17, 2006 - March 18, 2006


Coming of Age

Egon Schiele and the Modernist Culture of Youth

November 15, 2005 - January 7, 2006


Sue Coe:

Sheep of Fools

September 20, 2005 - November 5, 2005


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 II

Self-Taught Artists

January 18, 2005 - March 26, 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


Animals & Us

The Animal in Contemporary Art

April 1, 2004 - May 22, 2004


Henry Darger

Art and Myth

January 15, 2004 - March 20, 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


In Search of the "Total Artwork"

Viennese Art and Design 1897–1932

April 8, 2003 - June 14, 2003


Russia's Self-Taught Artists

A New Perspective on the "Outsider"

January 14, 2003 - March 29, 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


Grandma Moses

Reflections of America

January 15, 2002 - March 16, 2002


Gustav Klimt/Egon Schiele/Oskar Kokoscha

From Art Nouveau to Expressionism

November 23, 2001 - January 5, 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


"Our Beautiful and Tormented Austria!": Art Brut in the Land of Freud

January 18, 2001 - March 17, 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


European Self-Taught Art

Brut or Naive?

January 18, 2000 - March 11, 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


Sue Coe: The Pit

The Tragical Tale of the Rise and Fall of a Vivisector

March 30, 1999 - June 5, 1999


Henry Darger and His Realms

January 14, 1999 - March 13, 1999


Becoming Käthe Kollwitz

An Artist and Her Influences

November 17, 1998 - December 31, 1998


George Grosz - Elfriede Lohse-Wächtler

Art & Gender in Weimar Germany

September 23, 1998 - November 11, 1998


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


Sacred & Profane

Michel Nedjar and Expressionist Primitivism

January 13, 1998 - March 14, 1998


Egon Schiele (1890-1918)

Master Draughtsman

November 18, 1997 - January 3, 1998


The New Objectivity

Realism in Weimar-Era Germany

September 16, 1997 - November 8, 1997


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


That Way Madness Lies

Expressionism and the Art of Gugging

January 14, 1997 - March 15, 1997


The Viennese Line

Art and Design Circa 1900

November 18, 1996 - January 4, 1997


Emil Nolde - Christian Rohlfs

Two German Expressionist Masters

September 24, 1996 - November 9, 1996


Breaking All The Rules

Art in Transition

June 11, 1996 - September 6, 1996


Sue Coe's Ship of Fools

March 26, 1996 - May 24, 1996


New York Folk

Lawrence Lebduska, Abraham Levin, Isreal Litwak

January 16, 1996 - March 16, 1996


The Fractured Form

Expressionism and the Human Body

November 15, 1995 - January 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


Earl Cummingham - Grandma Moses

Visions of America

January 17, 1995 - March 18, 1995


Drawn to Text: Comix Artists as Book Illustrators

November 15, 1994 - January 7, 1995


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

September 13, 1994 - November 5, 1994


55th Anniversary Exhibition in Memory of Otto Kallir

June 7, 1994 - September 2, 1994


Sue Coe: We All Fall Down

March 29, 1994 - May 27, 1994


The Forgotten Folk Art of the 1940's

January 18, 1994 - March 19, 1994


Symbolism and the Austrian Avant Garde

Klimt, Schiele and their Contemporaries

November 16, 1993 - January 8, 1994


Art and Politics in Weimar Germany

September 14, 1993 - November 6, 1993


Recent Acquisitions

June 8, 1993 - September 3, 1993


The "Outsider" Question

Non-Academic Art from 1900 to the Present

March 23, 1993 - May 28, 1993


The Dance of Death

Images of Mortality in German Art

January 19, 1993 - March 13, 1993


Art Spiegelman

The Road to Maus

November 17, 1992 - January 9, 1993


Käthe Kollwitz

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

September 15, 1992 - November 7, 1992


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

May 19, 1992 - September 4, 1992


Richard Gerstl/Oskar Kokoschka

March 17, 1992 - May 9, 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


The Expressionist Figure

September 10, 1991 - November 9, 1991


Recent Acquisitions

Themes and Variations

May 14, 1991 - August 16, 1991


Sue Coe Retrospective

Political Document of a Decade

March 12, 1991 - May 5, 1991


Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka

Watercolors, drawings and prints

January 22, 1991 - March 2, 1991


Egon Schiele

November 13, 1990 - January 12, 1991


Lovis Corinth

A Retrospective

September 11, 1990 - November 3, 1990


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


Grandma Moses

November 14, 1989 - January 13, 1990


Sue Coe

Porkopolis--Animals and Industry

September 19, 1989 - November 4, 1989


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


Fifty Years Galerie St. Etienne: An Overview

February 14, 1989 - April 1, 1989


Folk Artists at Work

Morris Hirshfield, John Kane and Grandma Moses

November 15, 1988 - January 14, 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


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


Folk Art of This Century

February 10, 1987 - March 28, 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


Expressionist Painters

March 25, 1986 - May 10, 1986


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


European and American Landscapes

June 4, 1985 - September 13, 1985


Expressionist Printmaking

Aspects of its Genesis and Development

April 1, 1985 - May 24, 1985


Expressionist Masters

January 18, 1985 - March 23, 1985


Arnold Schoenberg's Vienna

November 13, 1984 - January 5, 1985


Grandma Moses and Selected Folk Paintings

September 25, 1984 - November 3, 1984


American Folk Art

People, Places and Things

June 12, 1984 - September 14, 1984


John Kane

Modern America's First Folk Painter

April 17, 1984 - May 25, 1984


Eugène Mihaesco

The Illustrator as Artist

February 28, 1984 - April 7, 1984


Early Expressionist Masters

January 17, 1984 - February 18, 1984


Paula Modersohn-Becker

Germany's Pioneer Modernist

November 15, 1983 - January 7, 1984


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


Alfred Kubin

Visions From The Other Side

March 22, 1983 - May 7, 1983


20th Century Folk

The First Generation

January 18, 1983 - March 12, 1983


Grandma Moses

The Artist Behind the Myth

November 15, 1982 - January 8, 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


19th and 20th Century European and American Folk Art

January 19, 1982 - March 6, 1982


The Folk Art Tradition

Naïve Painting in Europe and the United States

November 17, 1981 - January 9, 1982


Austria's Expressionism

April 21, 1981 - May 30, 1981


Eugène Mihaesco

His First American One-Man Show

March 3, 1981 - April 11, 1981


Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele

November 12, 1980 - December 27, 1980


Summer Exhibition

June 17, 1980 - October 31, 1980


Kollwitz: The Drawing and The Print

May 1, 1980 - June 10, 1980


40th Anniversary Exhibition

November 13, 1979 - December 28, 1979


American Primitive Art

November 22, 1977


Käthe Kollwitz

December 1, 1976


Neue Galerie-Galerie St. Etienne

A Documentary Exhibition

May 1, 1976


Martin Pajeck

January 27, 1976


Georges Rouault and Frans Masereel

April 29, 1972


Branko Paradis

December 1, 1971


Käthe Kollwitz

February 3, 1971


Egon Schiele

The Graphic Work

October 19, 1970


Gustav Klimt

March 20, 1970


Friedrich Hundertwasser

May 6, 1969


Austrian Art of the 20th Century

March 21, 1969


Egon Schiele

Memorial Exhibition

October 31, 1968


Yugoslav Primitive Art

April 30, 1968


Alfred Kubin

January 30, 1968


Käthe Kollwitz

In the Cause of Humanity

October 23, 1967


Abraham Levin

September 26, 1967


Karl Stark

April 5, 1967


Gustav Klimt

February 4, 1967


The Wiener Werkstätte

November 16, 1966


Oskar Laske

October 25, 1965


Käthe Kollwitz

May 1, 1965


Egon Schiele

Watercolors and Drawings from American Collections

March 1, 1965


25th Anniversary Exhibition

Part II

November 21, 1964


25th Anniversary Exhibition

Part I

October 17, 1964


Mary Urban

June 9, 1964


Werner Berg, Jane Muus and Mura Dehn

May 5, 1964


Eugen Spiro

April 4, 1964


B. F. Dolbin

Drawings of an Epoch

March 3, 1964


Austrian Expressionists

January 6, 1964


Joseph Rifesser

December 3, 1963


Panorama of Yugoslav Primitive Art

October 21, 1963


Joe Henry

Watercolors of Vermont

May 1, 1963


French Impressionists

March 8, 1963


Grandma Moses

Memorial Exhibition

November 26, 1962


Group Show

October 15, 1962


Ernst Barlach

March 23, 1962


Martin Pajeck

February 24, 1962


Paintings by Expressionists

January 27, 1962


Käthe Kollwitz

November 11, 1961


Grandma Moses

September 7, 1961


My Friends

Fourth Biennial of Pictures by American School Children

May 27, 1961


Raimonds Staprans

April 17, 1961


Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka and Alfred Kubin

March 14, 1961


Marvin Meisels

January 23, 1961


Egon Schiele

November 15, 1960


My Life's History

Paintings by Grandma Moses

September 12, 1960


Watercolors and Drawings by Austrian Artists from the Dial Collection

May 2, 1960


Martin Pajeck

February 29, 1960


Eugen Spiro

February 6, 1960


Käthe Kollwitz

December 14, 1959


Josef Scharl

Last Paintings and Drawings

November 11, 1959


European and American Expressionists

September 22, 1959


Our Town

One Hundred Paintings by American School Children

May 23, 1959


Marvin Meisels and Martin Pajeck

May 1, 1959


Gustav Klimt

April 1, 1959


Käthe Kollwitz

January 12, 1959


Oskar Kokoschka

October 28, 1958


Village Life in Guatemala

Paintings by Andres Curuchich

June 3, 1958


Two Unknown American Expressionists

Paintings by Marvin Meisels and Martin Pajeck

April 28, 1958


Paula Modersohn-Becker

March 15, 1958


The Great Tradition in American Painting

American Primitive Art

January 20, 1958


Jules Lefranc and Dominique Lagru

Two French Primitives

November 18, 1957


Margret Bilger

October 22, 1957


The Four Seasons

One Hundred Paintings by American School Children

June 11, 1957


Grandma Moses

May 6, 1957


Alfred Kubin

April 3, 1957


Franz Lerch

March 2, 1957


Egon Schiele

January 21, 1957


Josef Scharl

Memorial Exhibition

November 17, 1956


Irma Rothstein

May 19, 1956


Käthe Kollwitz

April 16, 1956


A Tribute to Grandma Moses

November 28, 1955


As I See Myself

One Hundred Paintings by American School Children

May 20, 1955


Juan De'Prey

April 19, 1955


Erich Heckel

March 29, 1955


Freddy Homburger

March 2, 1955


Masters of the 19th Century

January 18, 1955


Oskar Kokoschka

November 29, 1954


Isabel Case Borgatta and Josef Scharl

October 12, 1954


James N. Rosenberg and Eugen Spiro

April 30, 1954


Per Krogh

April 2, 1954


Cuno Amiet

February 16, 1954


Eniar Jolin

January 14, 1954


Irma Rothstein

December 8, 1953


Josef Scharl

November 11, 1953


Grandma Moses

October 21, 1953 - October 24, 1953


Wilhelm Kaufmann

September 30, 1953


Lovis Corinth, Oskar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele

May 27, 1953


A Grandma Moses Album

Recent Paintings, 1950-1953

April 15, 1953


Streeter Blair

American Primitive

February 26, 1953


Paintings on Glass

Austrian Religious Folk Art of the 17th to 19th Centuries

December 4, 1952


Hasan Kaptan

Paintings of a Ten-Year-Old Turkish Painter

October 29, 1952


Margret Bilger

May 10, 1952


American Natural Painters

March 31, 1952


Ten Years of New York Concert Impressions by Eugen Spiro; Four New Paintings by

January 26, 1952


I-Fa-Wei

Watercolors of New York by a Chinese Artist

December 1, 1951


Käthe Kollwitz

October 25, 1951


Drawings and Watercolors by Austrian Children

May 21, 1951


Grandma Moses

Twenty-Five Masterpieces of Primitive Art

March 17, 1951


Roswitha Bitterlich

January 18, 1951


Oskar Laske

Watercolors of Vienna and the Salzkammergut

October 14, 1950


Tenth Anniversary Exhibition

Part II

May 11, 1950


Austrian Art of the 19th Century

From Wadlmüller to Klimt

April 1, 1950


Chiao Ssu-Tu

February 18, 1950


Anton Faistauer

January 1, 1950


Tenth Anniversary Exhibition

Part I

November 30, 1949


Autograph Exhibition

October 26, 1949


Gladys Wertheim Bachrach

May 24, 1949


Oskar Kokoschka

March 30, 1949


Eugen Spiro

February 19, 1949


Frans Masereel

January 13, 1949


Ten Years Grandma Moses

November 22, 1948


Käthe Kollwitz

Masterworks

October 18, 1948


American Primitives

June 3, 1948


Egon Schiele

Memorial Exhibition

April 5, 1948


Miriam Richman

February 7, 1948


Vally Wieselthier

Memorial Exhibition

January 10, 1948


Christmas Exhibition

December 4, 1947


Fritz von Unruh

November 10, 1947


Käthe Kollwitz

October 4, 1947


Grandma Moses

May 17, 1947


Lovis Corinth

April 16, 1947


Hugo Steiner-Prag

March 15, 1947


Mark Baum

January 11, 1947


Eugen Spiro

November 25, 1946


Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

May 17, 1946


Ladis W. Sabo

Paintings by a New Primitive Artist

April 8, 1946


Georges Rouault

The Graphic Work

February 26, 1946


Käthe Kollwitz

Memorial Exhibition

November 21, 1945


Fred E. Robertson

Paintings by an American Primitive

June 13, 1945


Max Liebermann

The Graphic Work

April 18, 1945


Vienna through Four Centuries

March 1, 1945


Eugen Spiro

January 20, 1945


Grandma Moses

New Paintings

December 5, 1944


Käthe Kollwitz

Part II

October 26, 1944


A Century of French Graphic Art

From Géricault to Picasso

September 28, 1944


Max Liebermann

Memorial Exhibition

June 9, 1944


Juan De'Prey

Paintings by a Self-Taught Artist from Puerto Rico

May 6, 1944


Abraham Levin

April 15, 1944


Lesser Ury

Memorial Exhibition

March 21, 1944


Grandma Moses

Paintings by the Senior of the American Primitives

February 9, 1944


Betty Lane

January 11, 1944


WaIt Disney Cavalcade

December 9, 1943


Käthe Kollwitz

Part I

November 3, 1943


Will Barnet

September 29, 1943


Lovis Corinth

May 26, 1943


Josephine Joy

Paintings by an American Primitive

May 3, 1943


Oskar Kokoschka

Aspects of His Art

March 31, 1943


Eugen Spiro

February 13, 1943


Seymour Lipton

January 18, 1943


Illuminated Gothic Woodcuts

Printed and Painted, 1477-1493

December 5, 1942


Abraham Levin

November 4, 1942


Walt Disney Originals

September 23, 1942


Documents which Relate History

Documents of Historical Importance and Landmarks of Human Development

June 10, 1942


Honoré Daumier

April 29, 1942


Bertha Trabich

Memorial Exhibition of a Russian-American Primitive

March 25, 1942


Alfred Kubin

Master of Drawing

December 4, 1941


Egon Schiele

November 7, 1941


Betty Lane

June 3, 1941


Flowers from Old Vienna

18th and Early 19th Century Flower Painting

May 7, 1941


Weavings by Navaho and Hopi Indians and Photos of Indians by Helen M. Post

January 29, 1941


Georg Merkel

November 7, 1940


What a Farm Wife Painted

Works by Mrs. Anna Mary Moses

October 9, 1940


Saved from Europe

Masterpieces of European Art

July 1, 1940


American Abstract Art

May 22, 1940


Franz Lerch

May 1, 1940


Wilhelm Thöny

April 3, 1940


French Masters of the 19th and 20th Centuries

February 29, 1940


H. W. Hannau

Metropolis, Photographic Studies of New York

February 2, 1940


Oskar Kokoschka

January 9, 1940


Austrian Masters

November 13, 1939


RECENT ACQUISITIONS

July 12, 2016 - October 7, 2016

ARTISTS

Baskin, Leonard

Grosz, George

Heckel, Erich

Kirchner, Ernst Ludwig

Klimt, Gustav

Kokoschka, Oskar

Kollwitz, Käthe

Modersohn-Becker, Paula

Moses, Anna Mary Robertson ("Grandma")

Mueller, Otto

Nolde, Emil

Pechstein, Hermann Max

Schiele, Egon

Schmidt-Rottluff, Karl

ESSAY

The whole world appears broken. Instead of spreading democracy, the failure of Communism, the Iraq wars and the Arab Spring fostered unrest throughout the former Soviet empire and the Middle East. The neo-liberal economic policies promulgated by Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and their successors created a glut of wealth at the top of the economic pyramid, but little of the promised trickle-down ever materialized. Income inequality and the concomitant evisceration of the middle class were furthered by globalization, outsourcing, deindustrialization and automation. While these developments occurred piecemeal over a long period of time, we are today confronting systemic socioeconomic upheaval on a scale not seen since the demise of the agrarian economy in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The xenophobic demagoguery that permeates the political atmosphere, both at home and abroad, is reminiscent of the 1930s.

 

The art world, a perceived elite that lacks organized political clout, has been an easy target for populist rage ever since Hitler mounted his campaign against “Degenerate Art.” Though art is no more corrupt than any other field of endeavor, the business has lately been wracked by scandal and calls for reform. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last year, Nouriel Roubini (famous for predicting the 2008 collapse of the mortgage market) described the art scene as “full of shady stuff”: “routine trading on inside information…price manipulation…and tax avoidance.” The potential misuse of art as a vehicle for money laundering and tax evasion was highlighted in the revelations about the Panama-based law-firm Mossack Fonseca (which sets up shell corporations to hide billionaires’ assets, including art) and the Geneva Freeport “king” Yves Bouvier (whose little-known activities as a dealer in blue-chip art were exposed by a former client’s lawsuit). Perhaps not coincidentally, Bouvier’s legal adversary, the Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev, also figures in the “Panama Papers.” Most unnerving to art-world insiders was the trial, earlier this year, pitting the now-defunct Knoedler Gallery and its erstwhile president, Ann Freedman, against Domenico and Eleanore De Sole, who purchased a fake Mark Rothko painting from the gallery for $8.3 million in 2004. Because the parties settled before the conclusion of the trial, the legal implications of the dispute remain fuzzy. What is clear, however, is that between 1994 and 2008, Knoedler, then one of the most prestigious galleries in New York, sold some $80 million worth of Abstract Expressionist forgeries, which Freedman had acquired from an obscure Long Island dealer named Glafira Rosales. The case served as a stinging moral indictment of the art trade, affirming the belief (in the words of ARTnews reporter M. H. Miller) that this is “the largest unregulated industry in the world, besides guns and drugs.”

 

The private nature of most art transfers, coupled with the large sums of money that can be involved, create an aura of malfeasance even where none exists. Neither offshore corporations nor freeports are illegal, and those who take advantage of them are not de-facto criminals. The use of such entities to mask criminal activity speaks to a failure of global governance that far transcends the art world. On a local level, the art market is hardly unregulated. Art sales are subject to the same consumer protections and taxes as other transactions, while money-laundering protocols exist throughout the world. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, in tandem with Homeland Security, periodically seizes suspect art, and sales tax investigations routinely root out scofflaws. While rising values increase the potential magnitude of art crimes, higher stakes also encourage greater due diligence. For example, the rash of recent cases involving Nazi-looted art has led to significantly better provenance research. Pricing transparency has likewise been improved by online resources. The problem is not so much a lack of information, but that valuations fluctuate so wildly they can be impossible to interpret.

 

“Fair market value” is defined as the price a willing buyer would pay a willing seller, neither being under any compulsion to conclude the deal and both being in possession of the relevant facts. Lately, however, the concentrated wealth of the .01% has distorted this dynamic. Egged on by auction-house personnel, collectors converge on trophy lots, generating prices that bear no relationship to the broader market and often cannot be replicated upon resale. In a year of high-profile art-related lawsuits, the one between the dealers Larry Gagosian and Pelham Europe, Ltd., is of interest less for the underlying contractual issues than for the price of the subject artwork, Picasso’s Bust of a Woman: $47.4 million when Pelham contracted to sell it to a Qatari royal in November 2014, and $106 million when Gagosian preempted that transaction and sold the sculpture to the financier Leon Black in May 2015. Given that none of the parties can be considered ignorant of the relevant facts, one wonders how the same artwork could be valued so differently within the space of just a few months. The pressures of an overheated, irrational market may also in part account for the vast discrepancies between the prices that Dmitry Rybolovlev paid Yves Bouvier and the amounts received by the owners of the paintings. According to a profile in the New Yorker, Bouvier’s markup ranged from approximately 26% to over 100%. Yet neither the billionaire buyer nor the sellers, who included mega-collector Steve Cohen, were unsophisticated. The only pertinent fact of which both sides were evidently ignorant was Bouvier’s profit. Rybolovlev’s suit against Bouvier hinges on whether the dealer lied about his compensation or merely failed to disclose it.

 

Art transactions generally conform to one of two models: outright purchase or consignment. For much of the twentieth century, auctions were primarily wholesale outlets, and most dealers owned their inventory. Given the risk inherent in such investments and the cost of capital, a 100% markup was not unusual. As auction houses moved into the retail trade in the 1980s, however, sellers became accustomed to participating in the profit upon resale. In order to compete with auctions, dealers began favoring the consignment model. Today most serious secondary market art sales, whether at auction or through a dealer, are governed by contracts in which the commission structure is clearly spelled out. On occasion a seller will accept a fixed net payment, but usually he or she wants to know how much the dealer is making and to be compensated in proportion to the final selling price.

 

Sellers of desirable artworks have considerable leverage in negotiating consignments. Auction houses not only waive the seller’s fee on such lots, but regularly kick back a portion of the buyer’s premium to the consignor. Guarantees, often necessary to win the choicest properties, are a double-edged sword. The auction house must either cede some of its profits to a third-party guarantor, or put its own funds at risk. To land the collection of its former chairman, A. Alfred Taubman, in 2015, Sotheby’s had to fork over $515 million, a sum it seems unlikely to recoup if marketing costs are taken into account. Since 2009, Sotheby’s gross sales have more than doubled, but its commission margin dropped from 21% to 14%. In the second half of 2015, the company’s stock fell 45%. Despite headline-grabbing billion-dollar sales weeks and nine-figure lots, net income at both Sotheby’s and Christie’s was down last year.

 

Furthermore, those nine-figure paintings do not reflect the art market as a whole. In 2014, a mere 1,500 works (0.5% of lots sold) accounted for 48% of total auction revenues. The air at the top is very thin. Only a few hundred people in the world have the $100 million in disposable income necessary to buy a $5 million work of art. Meanwhile, small and mid-sized dealers struggle constantly to meet their overhead and finance participation in costly but necessary art fairs. According to Magnus Resch, professor of art management at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland, most galleries gross less than $200,000 a year, and fully 30% operate in the red. Contrary to appearances, art dealing is a difficult and not especially lucrative profession.

 

“There is art money and there is living money,” the legendary postwar dealer André Emmerich once observed. “You cannot and must not confuse the two.” Few dealers have the financial resources of their top clients. “We talk quite casually about $100,000 as a modest amount, while of course in terms of groceries and rent and school tuition, it’s a staggering sum,” Emmerich continued. “A dealer must be comfortable in dealing with the rich, without losing either his self-respect or his self-confidence.… You must know you are with them, but not of them. Some colleagues of mine suddenly find it impossible to conceive that they were not born with a silver spoon. It’s a problem, really, of inner integrity.”

 

Individuals go astray when they expect the art market to provide monetary returns of which it is incapable. This may be what hooked Ann Freedman on the seemingly underpriced forgeries that secured Knoedler’s profitability for some fifteen years. More insidious, because it is more widespread, is the effort to transform art into an investment vehicle. Even if auctions could be stripped of all the factors, like guarantees and secret reserves, that distort prices, they will never provide objective indices of value comparable to those generated by the stock market. Unlike stocks, every work of art is unique, and genuine collecting is motivated as much by emotion as by reason. Art funds have historically poor track records, because it is enormously difficult to select the right artworks, predict the rate of appreciation and then to time resales in a manner that reconciles market conditions with investor demands. Some collector/investors therefore focus on the short-term. Much like venture capitalists who throw money at multiple startups in the hope of funding a “unicorn,” these buyers spread their purchases among a variety of emerging artists. Services like ArtRank track such investments and offer online buy/sell recommendations. An algorithm, ArtRank explains, is used to assess “the intrinsic [financial] value of an artwork, not its survival value. We do not judge any works’ [sic] aesthetic or emotional value.” At all levels of the market, profit-oriented collectors try to emulate “influencers”: those known for spotting talent early on. But this can backfire if insiders pump up an artist’s prices beyond levels that can be sustained by general demand. This is what apparently happened to the once-popular brand of vacuous abstraction known as Zombie Formalism, which suffered a precipitous drop in value last year.

 

Daniel Loeb, the activist shareholder who took control of Sotheby’s in May 2014, is pursuing a different sort of investment strategy. Recent changes at the auction house are clearly designed to boost the company’s stock price. Within a year of Loeb’s takeover, longtime CEO William Ruprecht was forced out and replaced by Tad Smith, whose $20 million first-year pay package consists largely of Sotheby’s shares. At the end of 2015, Smith initiated cost-cutting measures that pushed 80 staffers to accept buyouts. It remains to be seen whether these tactics will really improve Sotheby’s bottom line. The buyouts decimated the auction house’s ranks of senior specialists, along with client relationships built up over decades. “The old art-collecting families, whose collections will soon enough be estates headed to market, will have no connection to the house,” a dealer told Artnet News. Hardest hit by the buyouts were the Impressionist and modern art departments, which have traditionally generated the highest grossing sales. Sotheby’s recent $50 million purchase of the art advisory firm Art Agency Partners suggests that the auction house is banking on a market to shift into the contemporary arena.

 

In 2015, Christie’s Impressionist and modern art sales rose 57%, while its contemporary sales declined by 14%. Thus far 2016 has seen a reversal of this trend at both major auction houses. One third of the lots in Sotheby’s May 10 sale of Impressionist and modern art failed to sell, and two days later Christie’s Imp/mod sales total barely exceeded the low estimate. However, the contemporary sales that same week fared considerably better. To be sure, sales in all categories were down as compared to 2015. There were fewer lots on offer, with lower estimates. Many potential consignors were deterred by the drop in oil prices, economic troubles in China, Russia and Brazil, and the forthcoming American elections. Both Sotheby’s and Christie’s cut back on guarantees, and as a result there were no nine-figure blockbusters. All these factors weakened the Imp/mod sales and called attention to the dwindling availability of great material in that category.

 

At Sotheby’s, the second-tier Impressionists owned by the late Elmer Bobst (a wealthy pharmaceutical executive and prominent supporter of Richard Nixon) typified the sort of collection that was once de rigueur on Park Avenue. This slightly sad grouping attested to the fickleness of taste, indirectly raising questions about the longevity of the Christopher Wools and Basquiats favored by contemporary collectors. “Of the artists selling well today, roughly 80% will be basically unsellable in twenty years,” notes Marc Spiegler, director of the Art Basel empire. And this, he says, is as it should be. “Collecting contemporary art is about engaging with the Zeitgeist. People should buy art they believe in.”

 

The connection between art and passionate belief has been missing from the investment-oriented diatribes (pro and con) of the last few years. Market forces abet the disconnect. Where once artists remained loyal to the dealers who launched their careers, today it is a given that the successful ones will trade up to powerhouse galleries like Pace, Gagosian and David Zwirner. Deprived of the ability to profit from their prescience, smaller galleries rely on secondary market sales to bolster their income: a Warhol here, a Kippenberger there. In both the primary and the secondary markets, dealers today often lack a long-term commitment to and understanding of what they are selling. A case in point is Knoedler’s Ann Freedman. Unlike the gallery’s prior director, Lawrence Rubin, who had close personal ties to artists such as Frank Stella and Richard Diebenkorn, Freedman was basically an excellent salesperson. It is impossible to determine whether she knew the Rosales paintings were forgeries, and the art world continues to argue over whether she should have known. We do know that for fifteen years a fake Jackson Pollock hung in Freedman’s personal collection, and she never noticed that the signature was misspelled. She did not look; she did not see.

 

“An art dealer’s depth of experience working with particular artists, schools and periods is critical for the long-lasting, trusted relationships that successful galleries build with both artists and collectors,” notes Adam Scheffer, President of the Art Dealers Association of America. Perhaps, he optimistically suggests, the Knoedler debacle will reinforce the “fundamental roles [of] research and connoisseurship.” And perhaps, on a deeper level, the recent gyrations of the art market, the misguided emphasis on investment and the resultant scandals will encourage a renewed appreciation of the aesthetic and spiritual values that are art’s greatest reward.

 

The billionaires and occasional felons who dominate the headlines, after all, are not representative of the art world. Below the tip of the pyramid there exist many thousands of collectors, dealers, art historians, critics, curators and artists who are deeply passionate and knowledgeable about art. They are motivated neither by money nor by glory, because there is little of either in what they do. They recognize the responsibilities of their chosen profession, and they feel fortunate to be spending their lives with beautiful objects that they love.

 

Art has always been partly about money, but it has never been entirely about money. By definition collectors must have a surfeit of income after their material needs are met. However, unlike other luxuries enjoyed by the wealthy, art also serves a redemptive function. Art links human beings to the eternal, and thereby grants them a glimpse of immortality. People once ascribed such properties to the bones of saints, and to what were said to be pieces of the cross on which Christ was crucified. From the Renaissance onward, art, both religious and secular, came to serve a similar function. Great art captures something enduring about the human experience; it transcends time. In a broken world, art offers hope.

 

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As is customary, the Galerie St. Etienne’s summer show not only surveys recent acquisitions, but also recaps the past season’s projects. Last autumn we presented a highly acclaimed exhibition of works by the German artist Paula-Modersohn-Becker—her first in the United States since 1985. We followed up this spring with a show featuring never-before-exhibited watercolors and drawings by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner from the Robert Lehman collection. Our summer exhibition reassembles selected works from the Modersohn-Becker retrospective, and features Kirchner in the company of his Brücke colleagues Erich Heckel, Otto Mueller, Emil Nolde, Hermann Max Pechstein and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff. Also included in our show are highlights from the Belvedere Museum’s recent exhibition “The Women of Klimt, Schiele and Kokoschka” (co-curated by St. Etienne Co-Director Jane Kallir). Works by such gallery favorites as Leonard Baskin and Grandma Moses round out the presentation.