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Thursday, 08 October 2015 14:07

Hauser & Wirth to Open a New Gallery in Chelsea

International powerhouse gallery Hauser & Wirth has filed papers for a new home in New York's Chelsea neighborhood, four blocks north of its current location on 18th Street, which it has occupied since January 2013.

The gallery put in a permit application with the city Tuesday to knock down the two-story white building on 542 West 22 Street.

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Brandeis University’s Rose Art Museum has opened an offsite gallery in an empty commercial space in downtown Waltham, Massachusetts, the Boston suburb that the Rose calls home.

Named Rosebud, the gallery will showcase video work from the museum’s collection and, according to a news release, aims to “activate public engagement with contemporary art through curated exhibitions and programs that revive underutilized properties in the city of Waltham.”

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Starting this week, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art will be something it hasn't been in recent memory: overwhelming.

When the museum unveils the final stage of its multi-year renovation this week, it will be the first time in 50 years that every gallery in the museum is in use, and its exhibit space will be larger than it's ever been.

"When entering Morgan Great Hall, people will gasp, or that's what we're hoping," said museum Director Susan Talbott. "This is the most number of paintings I believe we've had [on exhibit simultaneously], ever."

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A five-story, cast-iron building in New York's SoHo neighborhood was designed by Nicholas Whyte in 1870. Almost a century later, artist Donald Judd bought 101 Spring Street and the address has been associated with him, his family, and his oeuvre ever since. At the time, Judd used the ground floor as his personal gallery, pioneering the idea of “permanent installation” in contemporary art and turning his very living space into a sculpture. When the artist passed away in 1994, access to the building was limited. It wasn’t until Architecture Research Office restored the residence, even down to the patina and chipped paint, that the Judd Foundation opened the building as a public museum.

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A former longtime Jasper Johns assistant was ordered Thursday to spend 18 months behind bars after admitting he stole artworks from the pop artist's Connecticut studio and arranged for them to be sold by a Manhattan gallery for nearly $10 million.

James Meyer, 53, of Salisbury, Connecticut, was also ordered to pay $13 million in restitution and to forfeit $3.9 million.

U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken said he believed Meyer was genuinely remorseful and was primarily a "kind, caring, thoughtful" man who committed a serious offense, selling unauthorized artworks on at least three occasions from 2006 to 2011, pocketing more than $4 million.

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The National Portrait Gallery is to hold its first exhibition of abstract portraits featuring no human faces, as it questions whether it is really necessary to see what its famous sitters look like.

A selection of rarely-seen abstract portraits by Jack Smith will make up the gallery’s first display of entirely non-figurative portraits.

Instead, curators will attempt to raise questions about the human form and how artists should “evoke a human presence” in the modern day.

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The Rhode Island School of Design has received $2.5 million from David Rockefeller to endow a curatorial position at the school’s museum and to support a new gallery.

RISD announced Monday that Rockefeller’s pledge would fund and expand the museum’s collection of decorative arts and design.

RISD says the majority of the money will go toward a position to lead the department of decorative arts and design.

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In describing what awaits bidders on March 27-28 when Bertoia Auctions presents Part II of the fabled Max N. Berry Collection, gallery associate and auction coordinator Rich Bertoia offered an analogy from the motion-picture world.

“When they do a sequel in Hollywood, it’s never as good as the original, but the follow-up to Part I of Max’s collection, which we auctioned last November, will be a blockbuster.”

The auction of just over 500 lots is devoted exclusively to selections from Berry’s extraordinary lifetime assemblage of rare mechanical banks, early American tin and horse-drawn toys, as well as his incomparable sub-collection of bell toys and premium-quality penny toys. Additionally, the lineup will be peppered with other toys that captured Max’s fancy over the years, like hand-painted German tin toys, a Mickey Mouse Hurdy Gurdy and other comic character rarities. “If it appealed to Max, he bought it – but it had to be something really special for that to happen,” Bertoia said.

Almost 200 mechanical banks are entered in the March event, many of them with provenance from some of the all-time great bank collections. A number of pieces are of a caliber so high, they just don’t show up at auction more than once in a 20-year stretch, Bertoia said. “This will be one of those very unusual sales where even advanced collectors can find some of those near-apocryphal banks that have eluded them for so long,” he said.

A top highlight is a Stevens Darky Kicking Watermelon bank, one of only three known to either Bertoia’s or their experts who were called in to assess and catalog the collection (Oliver Clark, Russ Harrington and Mike Caffarella). A visually compelling design, the bank was formerly held in the Stan Sax collection and will be auctioned with a $200,000-$300,000 estimate.

Another high-profile bank is Berry’s Jerome Secor Freedman’s Bank, which has a rich trail of provenance, starting with its purchase in 1939 from dealers in Mexico. The buyer, who paid $8 for it, was a pioneer collector and prominent banker from Fostoria, Ohio, named Andrew Emerine. From Emerine, the African-American-themed bank passed to another legendary collector, Mosler Safe Company president and CEO Edwin H. Mosler Jr. After Mosler, the bank’s next owner was Stanley P. Sax, whose collection was auctioned by Bertoia’s in 1998. It was at that auction that Max Berry acquired the Darky Kicking Watermelon, and it instantly became one of his most treasured possessions. It is entered in the March 27-28 auction with a presale estimate of $150,000-$200,000. All existing receipts and other written provenance will convey with the bank.

Other top-notch cast-iron banks set to cross the auction block include a red-version Mikado, which is expected to sell for upward of $75,000; and an Organ Grinder and Bear, possibly the only extant example with a movable arm on the grinder, $10,000-$12,000. Another possibly unique survivor is a Zig-Zag bank of cast-iron, tin and cloth, with a crossover Santa theme.

“The Zig-Zag bank has a very clever action,” said Bertoia. “You put a penny on top of Santa’s head, the coin zig-zags down, and a jack-in-the-box springs up. There should be hands up in the air all over the auction room for this bank. It’s a favorite with collectors.” Zig-Zag is estimated at $125,000-$175,000.

Three extremely desirable lead banks are found in the Berry collection, including two that were designed by Charles A. Bailey: A Chinaman in Rowboat, estimate $80,000-$90,000; and a Cat and Mouse in beautiful condition. A third lead rarity, which was patented in 1905 but whose manufacturer is unknown, is the Blacksmith bank. It will be offered together with a 1940 photo of its designer, Ohioan Fred Plattner, then age 80, seated and holding the bank.

An array of wonderful tin banks includes an Empire Cinema, $15,000-$20,000; a colorful, hand-painted William Weeden Ding Dong Bell, $60,000-$75,000; and two more Saalheimer & Strauss Mickey Mouse banks that complete the coveted four-bank series that was introduced during last November’s sale.

Horse-drawn cast-iron toys have always been particular favorites of Max’s, especially the very early productions. His collection includes several variations of Spyder Phaetons, both by Hubley and Kenton, that typify luxury auto travel of the early 20th century. The selection also includes an elegant Pratt & Letchworth Barouche, $10,000-$12,000; a fleet of Hubley Circus wagons and bandwagons; a Kyser & Rex Cage Wagon with a bear, lion and other animal figures, $8,000-$10,000; and a very rare Kenton Uncle Sam nodder horse-drawn toy, $6,000-$8,000. A 28-inch-long Pratt & Letchworth Caisson drawn by four horses is the only example known to Bertoia’s. “It’s in jaw-dropping condition,” Rich Bertoia said. “We expect it to sell above $50,000.”

Many other exceptional cast-iron toys will be auctioned, including a circa-1870s Ives Washer Woman, three US Hardware sculls, and from Hubley: a Penn Yan motorboat, Static speedboat, and Surfer toy. Whimsical nodders, police patrols and fire-related vehicles will fill out the section impressively.

Max Berry’s fondness for American bell toys was always common knowledge amongst collectors, said Bertoia. “His is one of the most complete collections of its type, and it includes a number of toys with amusing themes – he was drawn to that type because the designs are so creative. They run the gamut from animals to people to comic characters, and are mostly of cast iron.”

The collection’s early American hand-painted tin “pull” bell toys create a virtual menagerie of animals – horses, dogs, sheep, goats, elephants and more. Also, there are many that depict ladies riding horses.

American hybrid toys of hand-painted tin with cast-iron wheels include J & E Stevens velocipedes, Althof Bergmann goat-drawn wagons, and an especially nice figure of a girl pushing a suffragette on wire wheels. The latter toy could reach the $15,000 range. Also, there will be many popular clockwork toys of the type pictured in classic antique toy reference books, e.g., Barenholtz.

Many years ago, Max Berry purchased a major collection of penny toys. He continued to build on to it, increasing not only its volume but also the breadth of subject matter depicted by the miniature tin artworks. Part II of Berry’s penny toy lineup includes two different styles of Bavarian Dancers, Girl in a Swing, Girl in a Gondola, Boy Catching Butterfly, a rare Rabbit Pushing a Basket, and a Roundabout amusement park ride.

In summarizing what lies in store on March 27-28 when Bertoia’s hosts the second exciting sale of Max Berry’s collection, auction company owner Jeanne Bertoia commented: “If you liked Part I, you’ll love Part II. And just as before, we’re making sure the auction is a fitting tribute to Max, who has done so much for the toy and bank-collecting hobby. Our gallery will be a hospitable setting where everyone can enjoy good food and conversation as they browse and preview one of the all-time great collections, which we are so honored to present at auction.”

The March 27-28, 2015 auction featuring Part II of the Max N. Berry collection of antique mechanical banks and toys will be held at Bertoia Auctions’ gallery, 2141 DeMarco Dr., Vineland, NJ 08360. A full house is expected.

All forms of bidding will be available, including absentee, phone or live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers. Please consult Bertoia’s website for preview dates/times and auction start times.

To contact Bertoia Auctions, call 856-692-1881 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Visit the company’s website at

About Max Berry:

A Washington resident, Max N. Berry has practiced international trade law since 1967. He represents industries and countries throughout Europe, as well as U.S. corporations and trade associations that export various products abroad. In addition, he has been active in national and local politics, and served on the Business and Finance Council for national parties.

Berry has also been significantly involved with nonprofit organizations in Washington and throughout the United States. A longtime patron of the arts, he has participated on the boards of many cultural organizations and recently served as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Smithsonian Institution. He is also on the Board of Trustees of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and serves/has served, as trustee to countless other fine art institutions.

Over the years, Max Berry has also been an actively involved member of both the Antique Toy Collectors of America and Mechanical Bank Collectors of America, for which he has served with distinction as pro bono legal adviser.

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Friday, 27 February 2015 10:22

Gagosian Gallery Explores the Artist’s Studio

In these days of post-studio, post-Internet artistry, of nomadic careers and collaborative cohorts, the artist’s studio can sometimes seem like a thing of the past, a relic from that bygone era before the supposed death of the author and the age of mechanical reproduction. But even if young artists work increasingly out of backpacks, on laptops or in tandem, alone time in a fairly private work space remains an essential condition for creativity.

To remind us of the history of the artist’s studio, its multiple roles as work space, refuge, stage, gallery and subject, the Gagosian Gallery has mounted not one but two museum-quality exhibitions, “In the Studio: Paintings” in its space on West 21st Street in Chelsea, and “In the Studio: Photographs” at its flagship gallery on the Upper East Side.

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The granddaughter of one of the world’s leading dealers of Modern and Impressionist art, whose collection was looted by the Nazis, is launching her own gallery on New York’s Upper East Side.

Marianne Rosenberg, a long time international finance lawyer, has signed a lease on a space measuring around 1,500 sq. ft in the ground floor of a townhouse on East 66th Street between Madison and Fifth Avenue, in what was formerly the home of the Dickinson Gallery. The gallery, Rosenberg & Co, is scheduled to open on March 7 and will focus on the secondary Modern market, and also work with contemporary artists.

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