Satellite Print Fair Is A Crowd-Pleaser

NEW YORK CITY — Small in size, but large in stature, the Satellite Print Fair at the Bohemian National Hall November 8–10 was a true crowd-pleaser. With just 14 dealers exhibiting in the library and exhibition room at the hall, the space was limited, yet the confines of the show created a cozy, friendly and often times bustling atmosphere for the dealers and shoppers alike.

This show, new on the scene and a complementary event to the New York Print Fair at the Park Avenue Armory, provided a excellent opportunity for enthusiasts of works on paper to enjoy quality middle-to-upper-end art. Steven Thomas, a specialist in Arts and Crafts period woodblock prints, managed the event. The Woodstock, Vt., dealer/promoter commented, “It was beyond what we hoped for. It was incredibly attended by a great number of museum curators and serious collectors.”

There was no admission charged to get into the fair, which is something that certainly assisted in large numbers in attendance.

“The people that came were very informed about what they wanted, very focused,” said Thomas in the days following the show. The manager also reported good sales from virtually all of the dealers, with one of them commenting, “More museum curators came through this show than at the last ten shows I have exhibited at combined.” Several of the dealers reported institutional sales, including Thomas who also reported “more sales than I have ever made at a print show. It was steady all three days.”

Thomas presented a good assortment of prints, including a special offering of works dubbed “Reunited (X2),” where color woodcut prints by coveted artists were matched up with their original wooden printing blocks. Included in the selection was Karl Knaths’ “Lilac and Lilies”, circa 1932, that was purchased from Knaths’ estate in 1987 and exhibited at the Provincetown Art Museum in 1988 as part of the “Provincetown Printing Blocks” exhibition. The matching print was recently purchased from the estate of Laughlin Phillips and reunited with its block. Phillips was a past director of the Phillips Collection in Washington. D.C. Other works displayed by Thomas included a matching Ora Inge Maxim print and block, a set by Margaret Patterson and Agnes Weinrich.

Next door at Edward Pollack Fine Arts, Portland, Maine, a wonderful assortment of art was covered with a virtual “who’s-who” of the art world hanging on the walls and spread across his tables. Rockwell Kent’s “First Pool” was one of several images by the artist on display, along with works by Frank Benson, Roland Clark, Grant Wood and Diego Rivera. A Paul Cadmus color lithograph on toned paper with hand coloring was titled “Dancers Resting.” A Will Barnet pencil study for a painting was offered, as was a small Arthur Dove watercolor.

Other original art included a rare Mary Cassatt preliminary sketch titled “At The Opera.” The rare work was removed from her sketchbook when it was broken up and marked with the estate stamp. Pollack related that the sketchbook had been inherited by a woman who took care of Cassatt in her old age and that the painting executed from the sketch was in the collection of the Boston Museum of Art.

Los Angeles dealer Henry Klein was on hand with a large assortment of small and affordable prints that he commissions from contemporary artists. “I have been commissioning work since November of 2001 to commemorate the attacks on the World Trade Centers and now have a whole folio of small works, such as ‘New Day’ by Jan Hisek that depicted broken hearts around the towers, along with the spirits of those whose lives were claimed in the terrorist attack. I try not to get in the way and tell people what to draw,” stated the dealer. “It is very interesting because through their work you can witness their feelings and see how they personally view the attack — the impact that September 11 had on them.”

Klein has also been working with contemporary Czechoslovakian artists, such as Oldrich Kulhanek, whose large-format print was among the offerings, titled “Job III” and depicting what the dealer termed a “Biblical Job.”

Contemporary prints by a variety of artists was at Oehme Graphics, where master printer Susan Oehme, Steamboat Springs, Colo., was presenting an interesting assortment of folios. Oehme has collaborated with artists such as Sol LeWitt, Helen Frankenthaler and Frank Stella over the years. This year the printer was featuring the work of Brooklyn artist Jason Karolak with a boxed series of 12 solar plate etchings titled “Alembic.”

“Rain in the Mountains,” a masterful print by Gustave Baumann, was offered at The Annex, Santa Rosa, Calif. “Baumann cut the original blocks in 1925,” explained dealer Gala Chamberlain, “and this is an impression from 1956. His income was based totally on sales of his woodcuts. When he sold out of one edition, he would start a new one.” Chamberlain, who handled his estate and is currently finishing up a catalogue raisonné on the artist, called Baumann “America’s premier woodcut artist.”

Elizabeth Catlett’s 1970 artist’s proof linocut titled “Sharecropper” was a standout in the booth of Sragow Gallery, New York City. Dealer Ellen Sragow commented that the gallery specializes in WPA art from the 1930s and 1940s, as well as art that spanned the 1950s. An early work by Rolph Scarlett, a 1940 block print landscape titled “Red Landscape,” was representational of the selection, as were a number of Lou Barlow wood engravings, such as “Jitterbugs.”

Seattle dealer Sam Donaldson was on hand with a selection of contemporary prints by artists from India, as well as a standard selection of American classics. Highlighting the display was a large pen and ink wash by Leonard Baskin titled “Dog II.” The rare piece was displayed at MoMA in 1952 and was said by the dealer to “relate in time and subject to a series of small engravings for Baskin’s Castle Street Dogs,” a book comprising of a set of wood engravings. Baskin lived on Castle Street where “scabrous and lousy” dogs roamed the street and the artist “regarded them with care and interest, sketching them and eventually publishing the book in 1952. Only 20 copies of the book were printed.”

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