May 10, 2008

The International Fine Art Fair

Habitués of the Park Avenue Armory are at that unsettling time of year - the time when the Spring shows and fairs are coming to an end and the long quiet Summer looms ahead! Fortunately these culture addicts have one last hurrah this weekend - The International Fine Art Fair, 2008 edition, opened May 8th and runs until Wednesday, May 14th.

This is always a lovely show - elegantly presented and filled with interesting things, although there seemed to be fewer exhibitors than in years past. The material covers the spectrum from Italian Renaissance (a charming little oil entitled "Nativity", c. 1510 by Benvento Tisi, AKA "Il Garofalo" on the stand of Maison d'Art, Monaco) to British and American Maritime paintings (a dramatic large canvas by Montague Dawson "Night Suspect", 1950, on the stand of Vallejo Gallery, California), and quite a bit in between!

I visited the fair on a very rainy day in New York City, so I was very happy to take my time and enjoy the show. There were several stands that I found particularly interesting and deserving of more than a cursory walk-through. My very favorite booth was that of Stoppenbach & Delestre Ltd, London. Although well beyond my budget, I enjoyed their selection of watercolors and oils by some of my favorite 19th Century French artists such as Helleu, Loir, Somm and Truchet.

Impressive, as always, was the stand of Richard Green, also from London. Hanging in their plush booth was a lovely presentation of oil paintings by European masters such as Renoir, Boudin, Béraud and Grimshaw.

I also loved prints and drawings on display at Hill-Stone, New York. Although their forte lies in the area of old master works, the inclusion of choice group of late 19th and early 20th century works on paper rounded out the booth very nicely. A very beautiful watercolor of a woman in a hat shop ("Devanture de modiste"), 1912, by Jean-Emile Laboureur and a pen and ink drawing of "An Elegantly Attired Woman pulling on a Glove", 1899, by Privat Livemont presented in a stunning and unique Art Nouveau frame, were especially wonderful.

So, art lovers, don't despair! You can wave goodbye to the Spring season in style and get your last art fair fix before heading off to the beach for the long wait until we get to do it all again in the Fall!

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