While there are usually ups and downs in the market depending on the season, the first half of 2019 has been strong for our gallery with activity across multiple periods and genres within 18th-, 19th- and 20th-century American art. Museums have been especially active over the past several months and have expressed interest in a wide variety of quality works. A focus on big names in the postwar and contemporary world, both in terms of blockbuster shows and record-breaking auction prices in the marketplace, has created opportunities for institutions to acquire works that may not be receiving as much attention and are more affordable. In the past several months, we have placed a Benjamin West portrait from the 1760s and a Robert S. Duncanson landscape from the mid-1850s with institutions in need of examples from this period. Museums are also focusing on objects that span across traditional curatorial departments or exploring an artist working in multiple disciplines, such as Lockwood de Forest, Max Kuehne and Robert Laurent whose carved furniture pieces have been placed at major institutions in Houston, Chicago and New York.
Museums, like private clients, also buy across a variety of price points. Many curators have discretionary funds in the $25,000 to $150,000 range that are being used to fill gaps or to add works by artists with less name recognition. A Cecilia Beaux portrait was recently purchased in this manner. Such sales are more immediate, while more expensive items, like a major portrait by Robert Henri that sold for seven figures to a Midwestern institution, often take several months to complete. Smaller museums with incredible collections and exhibition programs... are also active buyers for meaningful works of art. Most recently, we have placed a major James Henry Beard genre scene, a William Stanley Haseltine Italian subject and a Dawson Dawson watson painting in Southern institutions. Museum curators and directors... are also looking for works that appeal to their patrons for their personal collections or may wish to acquire for the institutions in question; a John Sloan Gloucester subject from 1917 has thusly been selected for a Florida venue.
One artist gaining in popularity is O. Louis Guglielmi, the social realist, precisionist and surrealist, whose work from the Ebsworth Collection recently sold at auction for $225,000. We have sold several examples in the recent past and presently have four paintings in the gallery ranging from the 1930s to the 1950s. Artists of this ilk are also coming to the forefront in museums as evident in MOMA’S exhibition of Lincoln Kirstein’s collection featuring Bernard Perlin, whose work we recently sold to the Greenville County Museum of Art; Pavel Tchelitchew; Honore Sharrer; and Peter Blume, whose work we have sold to the Vero Beach Museum of Art.
DEBRA FORCE FINE ART
13 E. 69th Street, Suite F
New York, NY 10021, (212) 734-3636 www.debraforce.com
Debra Force Fine Art, located on New York’s Upper Eastside, specializes in American paintings, drawings and sculpture from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.