A recently rediscovered large-scale drawing by Angelica Kauffmann (1741-1807) offered by London’s Lowell Libson & Jonny Yarker is set to star at The Winter Show as many international dealerships return to New York City for the first time in two years.
Unusual in Kauffmann’s output for its size and finish, the 1791 black chalk drawing measures 20 x 15in (50 x 39cm) and is done on a grey prepared paper.
It depicts Polish aristocrat Anna Jadwiga Zamoyska. The artist completed it apparently as a drawn model in preparation for a multi-figure group portrait commissioned by Polish noble Count Andrzej Zamoyski.
Kauffmann, one of the most famous artists in her day, has been relatively undervalued in the past, but her star is now rising again – rapidly.
The drawing is offered for a price in the region of £200,000 at The Winter Show, which takes place at the Park Avenue Armory from January 21-30.
Jonny Yarker, whose gallery offers the Kauffmann, has not been to the US since the last physical Winter Show in 2020.
Last year’s online fair went well for the gallery – among the sales it made was another Kauffmann which was snapped up by a US museum.
“We’ve been hugely impressed by the efforts to take events online but by this stage we’re all a little bit jaded about looking at art on online viewing rooms”, says Yarker.
He echoes many other dealers when he points out that nothing replaces viewing art in the flesh. The Kauffmann is a case in point: the wash used to prepare the paper is striking in reality but shows up poorly if at all in digital photography.
Sense of expectation
“It’s got a long heritage and has that great ingredient for fairs where people show up expecting to buy something”, he says. “With some of the newer fairs that have come up they are a great experience but at The Winter Show people remember their parents or grandparents buying there.”
At the same time, the rise of the omicron variant of the coronavirus could mean more restrictions on travel and movement that threaten the event. However, organisers remain steadfast.
“New York has had strict safety protocols in place for some time and visitors understand that cultural and event spaces are required to comply with city and state regulations”, says Helen Allen, executive director of The Winter Show. Among the safety measures in place, visitors will need to be masked and present proof of vaccination before entering the Armory.
Nearly 70 exhibitors are set to stand, among them Cohen & Cohen, Peter Finer and Ronald Phillips from the UK, as well as US dealerships Thomas Coleville Fine Art, Lillian Nassau and Clinton Howell Antiques. Eleven firms join for this edition including Ambrose Naumann Fine Art, MacConnal- Mason Gallery and Rolleston Fine Art.
Milord Antiquités from Montreal is one of the newcomers, and for the business the return to New York City has been even longer awaited. It was a long-time exhibitor at the Art and Antique Dealers League of America Spring Show, which gave way to TEFAF New York Spring in 2017. Now dealer Francis Lord looks forward to his first show in the Big Apple for several years.
“It is always a great motivation and a challenge to do a fair at the Park Avenue Armory because it is one of the best locations in the world to gain access to serious collectors and some of the best design firms”, he says.
Among the highlights from Milord is a classical-style daybed by André Arbus (1903-69) with a wood frame entirely covered in parchment from c.1937-40.
Arbus was inspired by the French Directoire style of the late 18th and early 19th century, creating works like this with their proportions modified for modern buyers. The day bed, on offer at the fair for a price in the range of $70,000-80,000, was commissioned as one of a number of pieces to decorate a Parisian apartment in the late 1930s.