It has been two years since our last Recent Acquisitions exhibition, which, despite the time lag, has become something of a summer tradition at the Galerie St. Etienne. These shows entail a taking of stock that is both literal and figurative—a chance to catch our breath and reassess past as well as future activities. At a moment when many galleries (following the lead of the auction houses) tend to stress the commodification of art, we feel it is more important than ever to emphasize the scholarly and aesthetic underpinnings of our particular mission. Recent Acquisitions is most emphatically not just a display of current inventory—it is, and has always been, a larger statement of our guiding vision.
Within the context of the present exhibition, the collection of Käthe Kollwitz prints formed by the late Edward Sindin assumes a place of special significance. Few were aware of Mr. Sindin’s Kollwitz collection. He was better known, as connoisseur and dealer, for his involvement with the work of Joan Miro, Pablo Picasso and Francisco Zuñiga. Yet, perhaps sensing a spiritual kinship between these artists and Kollwitz, he—almost as a sideline—assembled a spectacular collection of her prints, including rare subjects and early states. His is a collection formed with love, intelligence, and a great deal of sensitivity, and we feel honored to be able to present its first public showing.
Collecting in any meaningful sense cannot, in our view, occur without a sort of knowledge that goes beyond the last record auction price. This year we have been especially busy furthering public awareness and scholarly understanding of some of the artists most closely associated with the Galerie St. Etienne. Worldwide celebrations are presently underway for the 100th anniversary of Egon Schiele’s birth, and we were instrumental in the planning of all of these. In Vienna, we have co-curated commemorative exhibitions at the Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien (May 10-September 2) and the Österreichische Galerie (October 10-November 25), and we are consulting with the curator of a forthcoming exhibition at the Graphische Sammlung Albertina (September 15-November 15). Additionally, the Galerie St. Etienne will mount its own Egon Schiele retrospective in New York in November, to coincide with the publication by Harry N. Abrams of our long-awaited Schiele catalogue raisonné.
Not only is 1990 the 100th anniversary of Schiele’s birth, it is also the fiftieth anniversary of Grandma Moses’ first one-woman exhibition at our gallery. In July, we will be sending our second major Grandma Moses exhibition to Japan, where it will travel to Tokyo and five other cities for a period of six months. A theatrical dramatization of Moses’ life—starring the highly acclaimed actress Cloris Leachman—kicked off its second U.S. tour on April 25 in Saint Paul, and will be seen in Chicago, Kansas City, Washington, D.C., Cincinnati and Albany (among other places) prior to its tentatively scheduled opening on Broadway in October.
The bucolic utopia of Grandma Moses may seem far removed from Sue Coe’s unflinching examination of the American meat industry, but actually both artists are engaged in encouraging a more harmonious, organic relationship between humankind and nature. The overwhelming success of Coe’s Porkopolis exhibition at our gallery last autumn brought many requests from museums, and a slightly scaled down version of the show is scheduled to begin a nationwide tour in September. Porkopolis meanwhile continues to grow, and our current exhibition includes several of the latest works from this project, as well as some rare, earlier pieces from the South Africa, Malcolm X and Police State series.
Our summer exhibition is rounded out with items by a number of artists recently or historically associated with the gallery, including George Grosz and Max Klinger. The show contains a particularly comprehensive group of drawings by Gustav Klimt which, together with works by other arts associated with the Wiener Werkstätte evocatively capture the atmosphere of fin-de-siècle Vienna.