This year was the first year that I attended the AIPAD photo show at the Armory (it having previously been held at the New York Hilton), and this weekend’s IFPDA show was very similar to the AIPAD show. The difference, of course, is that this time, the dealers had with them etchings, engravings, lithographs and the like (plus some drawings) rather than photographs.
As someone who is interested in different types of art, rather than just photographs, I thought I’d go to this show to learn more about the world of art prints and get familiar with the artists who created them. I’d done a little research on the web, looking up some dealers’ websites to look at what they had, but of course seeing an artwork for real is much better than seeing a reproduction on a computer screen.
The work presented in the show ranged from engravings by the likes of Rembrandt and Albrecht Durer right up to colorful contemporary pieces. Some of the small Rembrandt prints on display were absolute gems, with very fine details discernable despite their very small size.
Of course, there were plenty of works to be seen by such well known artists as Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, but what interested me most were wonderful works by some artists who I had never heard of before or who aren’t household names – people like Martin Lewis, Emil Ganso, Betty Waldo Parish, Benton Spruance, John Sloan, Wanda Gag, Ernest Fiene, Agnes Tait, Adolf Dehn, Marie Laurencin, Raphael Soyer, Albert Sterner and Eileen Soper.
Probably the one print that I had seen online and most wanted to see in person is the one at the top of this posting: “Shadow Dance,” a 1930 drypoint engraving by Martin Lewis. It’s a stunner – and I love the group of three women in sihouette on the right, each wearing their flapper hats and each caught in stride with a foot off the ground.
I also coined a new term: “print fair shoulder,” which I came up with following my original “art show shoulder.” Photo dealers keep their inventory of matted photos in transparent sleeves, with an identifying label either on the front or the back of the sleeve. Not so with print dealers, who don’t put the mattes in sleeves, but rather put a transparent sheet to cover the print beneath the window matte. (The identifying information is generally either on the back of the back matte or on the lower front of the back matte.) Therefore, as most of the mattes were taped on the left side, I would use my left hand to flip through the matted images – as my right hand would often grab only the front matte. So, after spending several hours using my left hand and arm to do this, my left shoulder eventually began to hurt from it all. Hence, the phrase.
Here, below, you can see some of my favorite images from the show, with the names of the artists beneath them. (Sadly, I was not able to find some others online, but at least I wasa able to find these.) Unfortunately, I had hoped that you’d be able to click on them to see them larger, but that function does not seem to be working for some reason.
J. Jay McVicker