In an era when American artists didn't count and women were expected to stay home, Edith Gregor Halpert burst onto the fledgling New York gallery scene, defying all cultural and societal rules. In 1926, Halpert, just twenty-six years old, opened one of the first art galleries in Greenwich Village and set about turning the art world upside down. Her Downtown Gallery, whichIn an era when American artists didn't count and women were expected to stay home, Edith Gregor Halpert burst onto the fledgling New York gallery scene, defying all cultural and societal rules. In 1926, Halpert, just twenty-six years old, opened one of the first art galleries in Greenwich Village and set about turning the art world upside down. Her Downtown Gallery, which she ran for forty-four years, laid the groundwork for the art market's modern era, and its aggressive promotion and sales tactics. Halpert cultivated the most illustrious art collectors of the day, invented the market for folk art, and pushed the first group of American artists working in a modern vernacular into the history books, including Stuart Davis, Jacob Lawrence, Georgia O'Keeffe, Ben Shahn, and Arthur Dove. Despite all this, Edith Halpert herself has been lost to history. Until now. In The Girl with the Gallery, journalist Lindsay Pollock brings Halpert and her era vividly back to life, tracing the story of how this remarkable woman, who started out a penniless Jewish immigrant, made it her mission to fight for American art and artists. Illlustrated with eight pages of full color photographs, this is biography at its finest, an unforgettable story of class, money, vanity, jealousy, and tragic loss....more
Crammed full of information, but an eminently readable story. This biography on Edith Halpert introduced me to a remarkable person and filled in a lot of gaps in my understanding of 20th century art collecting. I cannot believe this woman was never more than a footnote in any book that I have read on collectors, galleries, museums, or artists. According to this book, she was very ahead of he time and worked tirelessly on promoting enduring and important American art. She is responsible (at leastCrammed full of information, but an eminently readable story. This biography on Edith Halpert introduced me to a remarkable person and filled in a lot of gaps in my understanding of 20th century art collecting. I cannot believe this woman was never more than a footnote in any book that I have read on collectors, galleries, museums, or artists. According to this book, she was very ahead of he time and worked tirelessly on promoting enduring and important American art. She is responsible (at least in part) for: the appreciation of early-American folk art, the "discovery" of Jacob Lawrence, the placement of many modern works into museums, and the first municipal art gallery in New York. Many of the methods she devised to promote and organize her gallery are now standard practice and still innovative. Pollack compiled this book mainly from interviews she conducted and Edith's own records kept at the Smithsonian Archives. This was important work uncovering a rarely-recognized, undeniable influence on the course of art in America. ...more
Terrific read but depressing! Working in the art world, astonished at how much I did not know about this woman who dedicated her life to putting American modernist artists on the map at such a challenging time. I have long known the sticker, DownTown Gallery - but so little about the woman, Edith Halpert. A must read for anyone making their way in the art biz.
A very interesting biography of the very influential, but often not mentioned, gallerist Edith Gregor Halpert, who singlehandedly revolutionized the downtown art market scene. Very well written and thoroughly researched. A good read for anyone who is interested in the art market, and in particular, the development of the NY City market in competition with the European scene to establish and recognize American genres, movements and artists.
This book provided a nice view of the New York art scene prior to the explosion of the abstract expressionists. Halpert kept her business afloat through the depression by searching out untapped prospects such as Folk art, which she sold to wealthy clients. Halpert represented artists such Charles Sheeler, Stuart Davis, Ben Shahn, and (after Stieglitz' death) Georgia O'Keeffe.
This was a fascinating view of the world of art and the art dealer in NY during the 30s and beyond. I am amazed and embarrassed that I had never heard of Edith Halpert before reading this book. What an influential person she was....and what a sad ending her life had. I would have loved to have known her in her prime. I'll bet she and Georgia O'Keeffe were quite the pair!
Very interesting biography of the woman who played a significant role in furthering the early modern art movement. She brought a unique drive and creativity to her gallery which launched many well-known artists. Very much worth reading for anyone with an interest in the arts as it presents an intimate view of the artists and the efforts to shape their legacy.
This was a fascinating look at one woman's energy and vision in creating an interest in American modern and folk art. As the owner of Downtown Gallery, she helped make a name for such artists as Stuart Davis, Jacob Lawrence, Arthur Dove, Ben Shahn, Georgia O'Keefe and Yasuo Kuniyoshi. Her unraveling toward the end of her life was sad.
This book was longer and harder to get through than I would have liked. It reads a little like a chock-full-of-information thesis turned into a book because the subject matter was somewhat interesting. However, I did end up liking it overall, but it is a little too dense and a little less exciting than I'd hoped.
Perhaps I'm burning out on detailed biographies, perhaps it was the author. I enjoyed learning more about the WPA period. I have a great interest in the modern art movement and American artists. I think that as we went through her life it was a lot if the same patterns over and over. It wore me out.
This is a great book about a woman who startrd with nothing and became on of the top gallery owners in NYC and was the first big dealer and believer or American art in the 30s. I am taking the knowledge of Edith and appling it to my life. I also love that I met the autor at the museum and she signed my book!
This is a fascinating biography of an art world pioneer, a remarkable businesswoman and conoisseur. Pollock draws upon extensive archival records in presenting a meticulously detailed insider's view of Edith Halpert's development of the Downtown Gallery and her relationships with artists and collectors.
This is the biography of the great New Yokr city art gallery owner and dealer, Edith Gregor Happert. She made her way in a man's world and a man's profession and along the way supported some of the great artists of the first half of the 20th century.
A likable biography of Edith Halpert -- a significant and somewhat mysterious art dealer. Like many biographies it went on a bit too long and I never finished it. It kind of read like a PhD dissertation.
“..and only by assimilating into their community would they succeed.”
“Most teachers at the National Academy of Design discouraged students from visiting "291", lest they be influenced by radical American painters such as John Marin and Abraham Walkowitz, whose disregard for accurate form and color outraged the traditionalists.”