I opened my art gallery, Kathryn Markel Fine Arts, in 1975. Over that time, some things have changed radically but most have not. There's still the same "new notebook", newly painted gallery sense of excitement about the new artists, new art by familiar artists, and new brave galleries with new kinds of programming. It's been a wonderful life in the art world - and I hope, through this blog, to share with you the visual richness and intellectual thrills the art world has to offer.
As a dealer I have spent my career trying to make art accessible to the regular person, trying to explain why a painter paints what she does, trying to sell art that is reasonably priced, and trying to present art as a joy rather than an obscure, intellectual language that speaks only to an elite. Well before the days of blogs, I wrote advice for the artlorn on a web site at www.theartlady.com. The site is filled with information about the contemporary art market. This blog will be a continuation and expansion of that web site.
Navigating the contemporary art world requires a learning curve just as mastering anything else, be it baseball or opera. It takes time and effort, and I hope this blog gives you some of the tools to help you. We're happy to answer questions the best we can. Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
A Resume - Kathryn Markel
Born: Richmond, VA, 1946, lives in New York, married with 2 children
Educated: Northwestern University; B.A. University of Illinois, Champaign, Cum Laude
1968-1971 - Merrill Chase Galleries, Oakbrook, Illinois.
As assistant to Bob Chase, I was charged with all gallery functions from dusting to bookkeeping to selling art. Merrill Chase was one of the foremost commercial galleries in the country. This experience taught me well about the evils of the commercial art market. I saw worthless Renoir restrike etchings touted as investments that would "Put your kids through college". I saw Dali fakes being sold as the "greatest investment in the world." I saw first-hand how the people in this part of the art business manipulate the truth and just miss committing fraud in sales tactics.
1971 - 1975 - Landfall Press. Chicago, Illinois
As the primary sales person for Landfall Press, one of the first and finest lithography workshops in the country, I was a dedicated, passionate participant in the growth of the contemporary print market which started in the early 70′s. Landfall was a publisher and printer of lithographs by important artists of the time, from Philip Pearlstein, to Sol LeWitt, to Christo. My job was to travel around the country and the world, carrying over 50 pounds of artist's proofs, and sell these prints to museums, collectors, and other galleries. All this on a travel budget that allowed me the equivalent of McDonald's three times a day and Motel 6 accommodations. But we werel working for art and not financial windfall. I felt honored to be able to work with artists, and do what I could to support the printmaking revival.
1975-1985 - Kathryn Markel Fine Arts - New York, NY.
For ten years, I owned a public gallery on 57th Street that specialized in works on paper - both original prints and unique works of art on paper such as watercolor, collage, and pastel. However, as overhead went up in the early 80′s, I couldn't force a commensurate rise in the prices of my works on paper by emerging artists that I sold, and had to close my public space. The experience taught me that if you wish to sell relatively inexpensive works of art, you must invent another business model that doesn't involve the high overhead of a public New York Gallery, or, if you need to have an expensive gallery, you must sell expensive works.
1985-1999 Markel/Sears Works on Paper
In 1985, Macie Sears, my partner, and I started this new business model based on selling wonderful, but well-priced works on paper by emerging artists with minimal overhead. We were primarily open by appointment, either in our own homes or our small space on Broadway and Prince Street. Since our prices were low and we marketed primarily to corporations, which buy large numbers of works at a time, Markel/Sears proved a success.
1999 - Kathryn Markel Fine Arts Reopens -
On the 15th of June, Kathryn Markel Fine Arts reopened at 560 Broadway. Again, specializing in works on paper with the addition of paintings by the young avant-garde.
As you can see, I've been selling art for nigh on to 40 years. It's been a lot of fun, and still is.