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Thomas Gainsborough, R.A. (Sudbury 1727-1788 London), Travellers Passing Through a Village. Pencil, black chalk and watercolour, extensively heightened with white lead, on buff paper. 219 x 308 mm. (8 5/8 x 12 1/8 in.). Photo: Stephen Ongpin Fine Art.

NEW YORK, NY.– The 2015 edition of Master Drawings New York was a success for the thirty dealers in master drawings, watercolours, etchings and works on paper who exhibited in New York January 24 – 31. Most say they saw museum curators and patrons as well as long time clients, and curried favor with some new ones too, offering drawings and watercolors from artists well known for the past five centuries. The thirty dealers each staged individual exhibitions at galleries on or near Madison Avenue from East 64th to East 81st streets on New York’s Upper East Side.

Master Drawings New York recorded significant sales this year for the thousands of artworks presented to New York visitors this past week. Some dealers plan to extend their shows into February and can be contacted through the listing on the http://www.masterdrawingsinnewyork.com web site.

Notable sales include more than a dozen works sold by Stephen Ongpin Fine Art including Thomas Gainsborough’s “Travelers Passing Through A Village,” whose asking price was $200,000, and a John Minton work, “Derelict From Machinery,” which sold to a US museum for five figures.

Christopher Bishop Fine Art recorded the sale of a rare and important 17th century Dutch drawing also for five figures that he says, “Has both great subject matter and great provenance.” The charming depiction of lions by artist Jacques de Gheyn III was likely made in preparation for a print. “What is still impressive today, however, is the emotional immediacy of de Gheyn’s depictions of the lions. They have not lost their ability to convey fierceness. It matters little if the drawing was made principally for documentary purposes, in preparation for a print, or for inclusion in paintings, the expressive characterization of the lions is what captivates us still.” The drawing also had distinguished provenance, having been in the collection of I.Q. van Regteren Altena, who was the keeper of the Prints and Drawings Room of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

As usual, good condition and provenance helped spark sales as dealers exhibited the newest works entering their inventories. Many were newly discovered or had not been for sale or exhibited in decades, if at all.

Ongpin, based in London’s Mason Yard in St James’s off Piccadilly, sold a number of important works by celebrated artists such as Paul Signac, Gainsborough, Edouard Vuillard, John Minton, Edward Burne Jones, Alfred William Hunt, Georges Valmier, Vincenzo Gemito, Giovanni Baglione, Cornelis Saftleven and August Allonge. He says buyers ranged from American and UK museums to private collectors and sales “Represented a good mixture of Old Master, 19th century and modern drawings.”

Dealer Mireille Mosler sold an American collector an unusually large Dutch drawing during the opening preview January 23. The life-size drawing by Willem van den Berg (1886-1970) “Volendam Fishermen” from 1935 portrays Dutch fishermen and is executed in black chalk. She says, “Van den Berg shows an affection for these weathered workers, typical for Social Realism practiced in the 1930s.”

New York dealer Pia Gallo was delighted to sell a Salvator Rosa work, “Study for the Figure of Scylla” which was once owned by the Queen of Sweden, and a delicate pen and ink drawing on blue paper by Theodore Rousseau – both going to private collectors.


Salvator Rosa (Arenella/Naples 1615-1673 Rome), ‘Study for the figure of Scylla: Woman posing on a rock, lifting her dress above her waist’. Pen in light brown ink with wash in dark and light grey, mounted on album paper, Mahoney 38.7;6½ x 4¼ in (165 x 108 mm). Provenance: Queen Christina of Sweden; Prince Livio Odescalchi. Photo: Pia Gallo

First time exhibitor Eric Gillis Fine Art was very encouraged with his experience in New York, selling Leon Spilliaert’s Self-Portrait to a distinguished private collection. He says, “I was the only dealer with Belgian Symbolism Art which is a fascinating school of work that I am most eager to bring to the attention of American collectors. I have had a very good response and look forward to exhibiting again next year.”

The tenth anniversary edition of Master Drawings New York will take place in January 1916.