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Report from the Front

Art criticism, sometimes with context, occasional politics. Published in hard copy 2-4 times a year. New shows: "events;" hard copy rates & how to support the online edition: "works."

 

EDITH HALPERT AT THE JEWISH MUSEUM: COMBINING BUSINESS WITH PLEASURE

Stuart Davis, Egg Beater No. 1, 1927, oil on linen. Collection of Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, gift of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 31.169. Artwork © Estate of Stuart Davis / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

 

In 1906, a 6-year-old girl, Edith Gregoryevna Fivoosiovitch, migrated from Kyev (then in Russia, now in Ukraine) with her family to New York City.  She grew up to love art, study it and try to make it, but doesn't seem to have been very good at it herself. She therefore learned all about selling in Manhattan department stores and elsewhere. 

 

She married a painter, Samuel Halpert, became known as Edith Gregor Halpert, and in 1926 opened in Greenwich Village what was to become known as the Downtown Gallery.  The tale of this pioneering art dealer, the first to exclusively represent American moderns and American folk art, is told in absorbing detail by "Edith Halpert and the Rise of American Art" at The Jewish Museum (through February 9). Read More 

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MARY WEATHERFORD, ELIZABETH NEEL & STUART DAVIS

"Lines Thicken: Stuart Davis in Black and White" at Paul Kasmin. Installation shot.

On September 28, Roberta Smith in The New York Times ran a long article about seven abstract painters having exhibitions in Manhattan. Along with Larry Poons, Frank Bowling, and Ed Clark – all of whom I too reviewed on September 28 -- she celebrated two further shows in Chelsea “Mary Weatherford: I’ve Seen Seven Gray Whales Go By” at Gagosian (closed October 15) and “Elizabeth Neel: Tangled on a Serpent Chair” at Mary Boone (closed October 27). On October 5, I saw these two shows, as well as "Lines Thicken: Stuart Davis in Black and White" at Paul Kasmin (through December 22). Read More 

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AN EARLY AMERICAN SWINGER: STUART DAVIS AT THE WHITNEY

Stuart Davis (1892-1964), Place Pasdeloup, 1928. Oil on canvas, 36 3/8 x 29 inches (92.4 x 73.7 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 31.170 (c) Estate of Stuart Davis/ Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.
I am probably the wrong person to review “Stuart Davis: In Full Swing” at the Whitney Museum of American Art (through September 25). To be sure, I’d agree with other critics that it’s a cheerful, brightly-colored exhibition of approximately 100 examples of this fine All-American artist’s mature late Synthetic Cubist style. Read More 
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