Born on April 18, 1889, in Remagen am Rhein into a Catholic family, Karl Nierendorf was educated in Cologne. He worked as a banker before World War I, but his career was disrupted in 1913 by the social upheaval in the Weimar Republic. One of his acquaintances, an art collector, introduced him to the Swiss-born German painter Paul Klee who persuaded him to attempt a career as an art dealer. The two would remain close. When Klee died in June 1940, Nierendorf published Paul Klee Paintings Watercolors 1913 to 1939 (New York: Oxford UP, 1941) as a tribute and an act of friendship. [Read more…] about The Migration of European Modern Art to New York: Solomon Guggenheim & Karl Nierendorf
Weegee the Famous: Paparazzo of the Nameless
The term paparazzo and its plural form paparazzi were first used in English in a Time magazine article dated April 14th, 1961, entitled “Paparazzi on the Prowl.” The piece put the spotlight on a new type of photographer that was giving Rome’s elegant district around Via Veneto an unpleasant reputation. [Read more…] about Weegee the Famous: Paparazzo of the Nameless
Sadakichi Hartmann: A German-Asian-American Artist’s Struggle for Identity
In response to the attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 authorizing the founding of a new federal agency, the War Relocation Authority (WRA), which began forcibly removing Japanese Americans from the West Coast and relocate them to isolated inland areas. Around 120,000 people were detained in remote camps for the remainder of the Second World War. [Read more…] about Sadakichi Hartmann: A German-Asian-American Artist’s Struggle for Identity
The Queen of Greenwich Village: Romany Marie Marchand
The coffee habit was introduced into Western Europe in the mid-seventeenth century. The emergence of the London coffeehouse transformed various aspects of intellectual and commercial life. Lloyd’s insurance, the postal system and the auction house are some of the institutions that trace their origins back to the coffeehouse.
At a time that journalism was in its infancy, the coffeehouse provided a center of communication and news dissemination. It served as a forum of discussion, often becoming a hotbed of political strife and faction. Coffeehouse culture helped shape the public sphere of the Enlightenment. [Read more…] about The Queen of Greenwich Village: Romany Marie Marchand
Museum Spotlight: Dia Beacon, Dutchess County
Dia Beacon, on the banks of the Hudson River in Beacon, Dutchess County, NY, is a museum of contemporary art with more exhibition space than Manhattan’s Guggenheim, Whitney Museum, and MoMA combined. [Read more…] about Museum Spotlight: Dia Beacon, Dutchess County
Manhattan’s Great Art Dealers: Some History
Manhattan’s 57th Street, the world’s “most expensive” street, was laid out and opened in 1857 as the city of New York expanded northward.
With the Hudson and East Rivers on either end, the area was until then largely uninhabited and clustered with small factories and workshops. As late as the 1860s, the area east of Central Park was a shantytown with up to 5,000 squatters.
Half a century later it was Manhattan’s cultural heart and an intercontinental meeting place of artists, collectors and dealers. [Read more…] about Manhattan’s Great Art Dealers: Some History
Julien Levy & Art at the Heart of Manhattan
The late 1920s and 1930s were crucial years in New York’s rise as an international artistic center. Cultural contacts between Europe and the United States multiplied. American artists who had studied in Paris returned with fresh ambitions; dollar rich patrons were willing to finance new initiatives; the First World War had unsettled European artists and gallerists, many of whom settled in New York. They were joined by others who fled the Nazi threat. Manhattan was turning into a Mecca of modernism where a multi-national cohort of artists, dealers and investors mixed and mingled.
By our standards the art world was relatively small. At any one time in that epoch, there were probably fewer than fifteen galleries active in New York with only a handful concentrating on contemporary art. A pioneering role was played by Alfred Stieglitz’s 291 Gallery on Fifth Avenue. Operational since 1905, the gallery introduced the Parisian avant-garde to an American audience. In modernist Manhattan, Stieglitz was the Godfather. [Read more…] about Julien Levy & Art at the Heart of Manhattan
The Cult of Technology: Futurism in New York
In 1906 Milan hosted the World Exhibition which, significantly, focused on the theme of transportation. The occasion for the exhibition was the inauguration of the spectacular Simplon Tunnel, connecting Milan to Europe’s major cities.
The opening up of commercial and cultural connections unleashed a burst of buoyancy. Milan became associated with the ﬁrst aesthetic movement to praise the potential of the modern metropolis. [Read more…] about The Cult of Technology: Futurism in New York
Under Threat: James Brooks / Charlotte Park Home & Studios, East Hampton
The Brooks-Park Home & Studios in East Hampton on Long Island is an important physical link to the Abstract Expressionist Art movement and the artists who made it their home.
Artists James Brooks and Charlotte Park were at the forefront of the Abstract Expressionist art movement of the 1940s and 50s. James Brooks in particular is especially is well known for painting the largest site-specific Works Progress Administration (WPA) wall mural, in the landmarked interior of the Marine Terminal at New York’s La Guardia Airport. [Read more…] about Under Threat: James Brooks / Charlotte Park Home & Studios, East Hampton
Wilhelm Grosz: The Red Sails of Forced Migration
One of the top-grossing American films of 1940 was the western Santa Fe Trail, the seventh Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland collaboration. The story concerns John Brown’s campaign against slavery just before the outbreak of the Civil War. Starting out on an acting career, young Ronald Reagan appeared in the story line as George Armstrong Custer. [Read more…] about Wilhelm Grosz: The Red Sails of Forced Migration