New Exhibits at The Jewish Museum and the Frick

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by Miriam Silverberg

Edith Halpert tribute at The Jewish Museum

New Exhibits at The Jewish Museum and the Frick
Edith Halpert, wearing her lucky “13” brooch, with her “newcomers,” featured in Life magazine, March 17, 1952. CREDIT: Getty Images/Time-Life Archive, copyright Louis Faurer Estate Published 12-26-2006.

Edith Halpert was a very influential art dealer and founder of the Downtown Gallery in Greenwich Village.  The Jewish Museum is having a wonderful exhibition exploring her remarkable career.  She was a pioneer in the field and one of NYC’s first female art dealers.  She started the interest in and love for folk art.  She almost single-handedly brought American folk art to the forefront when European avant-garde still enthralled the world.  The artists she supported—Stuart Davis, Jacob Lawrence, Georgia O’Keeffe, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Ben Shahn, and Charles Sheeler key among them—became icons of American modernism because of her.  Halpert inspired generations of Americans to value the art of their own country, in their own time.

The exhibition is on view at the Jewish Museum until February 9 and it features 100 works of American modern and folk art including paintings, sculptures and prints and prime examples of American folk art portraits, weathervanes and trade signs.  You’ll see works by Davis, Lawrence, O’Keeffe, Kuniyoshi, Shahn and Sheeler as well as Arthur Dove, Elie Nadelman, Max Weber and Marguerite and William Zorach among others. 

Halpert opened her gallery in bohemian Greenwich Village and though an outsider in many respects—as a woman, an immigrant and a Jew—for over 40 years she was the country’s most resolute champion of its creative potential and the defining authority of the American art landscape.

This is a show you really should see.  Not only is it educational but it’s very enjoyable.  I loved it. Get the details.


Edouard Manet at the Frick

The Frick at 70th Street has a small (just three paintings) but beautiful exhibit of the work of Edouard Manet.  They come from the collection of Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California.  This is the first time the paintings will be exhibited together elsewhere since their acquisition.  Considered the father of Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, and by some, 20th century abstraction, Manet was a revolutionary in his own time and a legend thereafter.  Each of the three paintings show a different view of his work and life.  Madame Manet (1876) encourages you to consider how Manet’s biography impacts the way in which his paintings are understood.  The second, the pristinely preserved Fish and Shrimp (1876-77) prompts an appreciation of his sheer technical skill.  The third (I saved the best for last), the Ragpicker (1867-71, possibly reworked 1876-77), demonstrates Manet’s innovative combination of references to contemporary visual culture and Old Master painting.  The Ragpicker is truly a monumental painting.  It’s magnificent.  The exhibit is until January so go. Get the details.


Miriam Silverberg is a freelance journalist and owner of Miriam Silverberg Associates, a boutique publicity firm in Manhattan.  She may be reached at silverbergm@mindspring.com 

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