A highlight of the January cultural calendar is the annual Master Drawings event. 2016 marks the tenth anniversary of this celebration of the art of drawing in all its various forms and styles. Twenty-nine galleries from New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts as well as several European cities are participating, giving drawings aficionados plenty of tantalizing examples from Old Master to Contemporary.
What's unique about Master Drawings is that it is not held in one location but spread out over the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Some dealers are fortunate to be able to show in their own galleries while others borrow or share the premises of friends or colleagues. The result is a sort of pop-up art walk extending from 63rd to 86th Streets and from Fifth to Third Avenues with a surprise to be found at every stop.
I had the great pleasure to be able to visit a number of dealers on the preview evening, Friday, January 22, just before the big snow storm hit. What a delight to view the exquisite offerings of Stephen Ongpin Fine Art, London, who brought a superb selection of drawings and watercolors from Tiepolo to Redon, and to discover the lovely French Symbolist works on view with Laura Pecheur, Paris (see Louis Legrand "Elegante with a Blue Fan", 1900, pastel on paper, at right).
Richard Berman Fine Art, New York, deserves a very special mention for the most intriguing venue - inside a vault in basement of a bank - where he showed his beautiful pen and ink Old Master drawings.
Mary Anne Martin Fine Art, New York displayed an outstanding group of drawings by Latin American muralists with José Clemente Orozco's gouache "Five Heads (Beggars)", 1940, being a standout. Just downstairs, Van Doren Waxter showed an extensive collection of early abstractions by Richard Diebenkorn executed in gouache and graphite on paper.
It is always amazing to see the depth and breadth of the drawings genre and this is the perfect way to view six centuries of beautiful works on paper in a variety of elegant locations. Master Drawings runs until Sunday, January 31.