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Premier Hamptons art fair wows top collectors and art enthusiasts with high-quality works
From left to right: Henry Buhl, Pamela Cohen, Nick Korniloff.
SOUTHAMPTON, NY.- As the second edition of Art Southampton, presented by Art Miami, drew to a close this Monday, July 29, the overwhelming consensus was that the fair had cemented its status as the premier contemporary and modern art fair in the Hamptons, offering the highest quality of 20th- and 21st-century masters as well as noteworthy emerging artists. The spacious 100,000-square-foot pavilion hosted 16,300 international collectors and art enthusiasts over the course of its five-day run. More than 90 exhibitors – nearly twice as many as at the fair’s 2012 debut – hailed from 13 countries in the Americas , Asia, Europe and the Middle East .

“There’s a very impressive variety of dealers with some really major works by top names,” said Audrey Gruss, a discerning, prominent collector with her husband Martin Gruss. “A fair like this belongs in the Hamptons . It’s the only one on this level.”

Blue-chip London gallery Osborne Samuel sold Lynn Chadwick’s sculpture Sitting Figures in Robes I for around $80,000 and Sean Henry’s sculpture of a pair of pugilists for $60,000. Top-notch New York dealer James Goodman placed a print by Frank Stella listed at $30,000 and a painting by Abstract Art pioneer Giorgio Cavallon for close to $50,000. Two sculptures by Venezuelan abstractionist Jesus Rafael Soto went for $80,000 and $28,000 at Miami-based Ascaso Gallery.

Heiner Meyer’s metallic Donald Duck sculpture that gleamed beside the VIP lounge at Gallery Terminus sold for $113,000, plus two of his pool paintings for $11,000 and $6,000. The Munich-based heavyweight has requested twice as large a booth for next year, among numerous exhibitors who are already committing to return for Art Southampton’s third edition.

Some were still closing deals on important works as the fair ended on Monday, July 29, including a Robert Motherwell that Jerald Melberg parted with for $50,000 while crating paintings to ship to his gallery in Charlotte, N.C. Stephan Keszler, whose gallery is mere blocks from the fair, parted with a major piece by the notorious graffiti artist Banksy for multiple six figures. Hollis Taggert confirmed two more transactions once back on Madison Avenue, for a total take of $150,000, including two oil paintings from Theodoros Stamos' early-1980s “Infinity Field” period and a large work on paper by Sam Francis for over $50,000.

“There is incredible turnout and very high-quality work by all exhibiting galleries,” Upper East Side gallerist Asher Edelman raved. “We are very pleased to be a part of this exceptional fair.” EdelmanArts sold two macro still life photographs of vivid flowers by Danish artist Torkil Gudnason, who now lives in New York and is best known for his fashion photography, in the range of $45,000 to $75,000.

The destination fair pulled in collectors from East Hampton and Bridgehampton as well as Manhattan and Connecticut throughout its five-day run. Among those who converged in Southampton were Wilbur and Hilary Geary Ross; Parrish Art Museum President H. Peter Haveles, Jr. and his wife Elizabeth; financiers Stanford Warshawsky & his son-in-law Matthew Mark; Ziel and Helene Feldman; David and Simone Levinson; and George and Joan Hornig, who have stocked a 2,8000-square-foot barn in Water Mill with important pieces. Also adding luster to the aisles: Stanley Cohen; Vivian Horan; Patricia Birch; Emma Torres; Rafael Herman; Sharon Bush; Cheri Kaufman; and financier Jay Sugarman, whose Gin Lane home is filled with contemporary art.

New York dealer Eli Klein was "very impressed with the venue and attendance.” His Chinese artists were a big hit, scoring “terrific sales with pre-existing clients and new collectors."

Art Southampton opened in dramatic fashion with a VIP Preview reception on Thursday, July 25, that over the course of the evening attracted more than 4,200 collectors, socialites, art advisors, artists and supporters of the Southampton Hospital . The hospital was the beneficiary of the evening’s proceeds as well as many exhibitors’ pledges of a portion of sales from selected works throughout the fair’s run. Word of mouth spread quickly among the Hamptons cognoscenti and the New York media about the world-class contemporary art in an equally elegant setting.

GRAFF Diamonds set the opulent tone at the entrance with a trio of towering models whose sparkling gems were set off by designer evening gowns; a series of display cases at the fair’s core brought more of their precious jewels to eye level for closer inspection. Maserati North America showcased the cutting-edge automotive artistry of their latest high-caliber automobiles, the Ghibli sports sedan and the all-new full-sized Quattroporte.

VIPs could choose from a range of complimentary libations: A Perrier-Jouët champagne bar sidled up to the Maserati sportscar parked just beyond the pavilion; specialty cocktails mixed with Bootlegger NY Vodka held the center; and Jay Z's signature D'USSE Cognac brought up the rear. CRUSH wines and VOSS Artesian water were served in the VIP lounge, where the Harvard Business School Club of New York gathered for cocktails during the preview. Brown Harris Stevens set up an intimate seating area at the lounge’s edge where collectors could contemplate real estate to provide a fitting backdrop for their new acquisitions. Endless hors d’oeuvres were circulated by the Southampton Social Club, which catered the café that was bustling once the fair opened to the public the following day.

Art Southampton Director + Partner Nick Korniloff and Pamela Cohen, Director of Partnerships and VIP Relations, greeted community partners and sponsors including: Southampton Mayor Mark Epley; Henri Barguirdjian, President and CEO of GRAFF Diamonds; Robert Chaloner, President and CEO of Southampton Hospital; Steven Bernstein, President of the Southampton Hospital Foundation; and David Kratz, President of the New York Academy of Art, who called the fair “a well-run, impressive visual extravaganza.” Jean Shafiroff, chair of the hospital’s upcoming gala, brought artist Ike Ude to the reception and returned multiple times with more friends and family.

Other international collectors included Sara Herbert Galloway and Barry Klarberg, Rod and Judy Gilbert, Dr. Frank and Myra Weiser, Rolf Heitmeyer, Rome and Lisa Arnold, Michael Wudyka, Robert Chaloner, Steven Bernstein, former Ambassador Earle I. Mack and his wife Carol; Karl Emil Willers, newly appointed head of the Nassau Country Museum of Art; and Theodore and Ruth Baum, who opened their nearby estate to members of the Whitney Contemporaries, Museum of Modern Art Junior Associates and Guggenheim Museum’s Young Collectors Council during a day trip organized by Hyperallergic on Saturday. Patrick McMullan snapped the likes of famed model and Richard Avedon muse China Machado and playwright Joe Pintauro.

“Opening night proved that a quality fair turns out a quality audience,” said Korniloff, director of Art Miami’s expanding roster of fairs. “It is clear that Art Southampton has filled a void for the most sophisticated tastemakers and culturally savvy audience in New York .”

Lucky attendees got the first glimpses of ­exquisite artworks as they approached the pavilion through a sculpture garden designed by LaGuardia Design with the assistance of Marder's Nursery. Featured artists included Alexandre Arrechea presented by the New York City-based Magnan Metz Gallery; Dietrich Klinge of Galerie Terminus from Munich; Albert Paley showing with Gerald Peters Gallery in New York City; and Mark Chatterly, whose dealer Mayer Fine Art of Norfolk, Virginia, had sold out of all his sculptures outside and in the booth by Saturday.

Some VIPs seized the opportunity to snatch up coveted works. Multinational Consultores de Arte S.A. sent a loyal attendee of Art Miami’s multiple fairs home with a Botero sculpture for $400,000. Some New York galleries seemed to have a home court advantage in the first round of play: The uptown Abby M. Taylor placed Sidney Gordin’s museum-quality iron sculpture Curved Rods for around $50,000, and a trio of two-dimensional compositions by Caio Fonseca for a comparable combined price. Chelsea-based Taglialatella Galleries (which also has branches in Palm Beach and Paris ) sold a bold Keith Haring work for $31,000. SoHo stalwart Westwood Gallery parted with several sculptures and a collage by Winston Churchill's granddaughter Edwina Sandys.

The fair also continued Art Miami’s impressive track record for introducing influential collectors to emerging talent. Shine Artists of London , Dominic Pontone’s spin-off of his father’s esteemed Albemarle Gallery, attracted a lot of interest with rising stars from Korea and Italian painter Matteo Massagrande, whose large canvas sold for $35,000 during the preview. “The extraordinary interest in him has been really, really phenomenal,” Pontone enthused.

Mark Hachem ultimately found sanctuaries for two of Alexandra Gestin’s spirited sculptures of Buddha in various sizes, hues and materials, at $50,000 and $18,000. The French dealer, who had also sold two sculptures by Mauro Corda for $28,000 and $36,000 among other works, expressed pleasure at his high volume of sales and encounters with such a refined clientele.

Patrons attended en masse from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of Contemporary Art, New Museum of Contemporary Art, Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Academy of Design, Museum of Art and Design, Brooklyn Museum, Jewish Museum, The Parrish Museum, Norton Museum of Art, Miami Art Museum, Yale University of Art, Princeton University Art Museum, Islip Art Museum, East End Arts Council and ArtTable.

A special reception at Westwood Gallery during the preview honored philanthropist and collector Henry Buhl, founder of ACE (Association of Community Employment Programs for the Homeless), which received a generous donation from Art Southampton. Jerry Schatzberg revisited his iconic celebrity portraits and signed copies of his acclaimed books Fashion 1950s and Paris 1962 at the booth of Nikola Rukaj. The Toronto dealer remarked, “This is a great show. It’s wonderful to meet new collectors and to be consistently seen." Other popular photographers also accompanied their artwork: Marco Glaviano’s 1989 shot of Cindy Crawford’s sandy backside at St. Barts was hard to miss at Keszler. A limited edition of Raphael Mazzucco Collected Art was signed by the Montauk homeowner on Saturday afternoon amid his exotic collages at Rosenbaum Contemporary.

Students and faculty of The Ross School in East Hampton also showcased their artwork, sales of which benefited the Chamberlain-Fairweather scholarship fund established by the late Shelter Island resident John Chamberlain with his widow Prudence Fairweather and her daughter Alexandra Fairweather. The Fairweathers launched their eponymous culture and lifestyle quarterly at a reception in the VIP lounge the following day. Guests were privy to recollections of Andy Warhol by former Interview editor and Vanity Fair contributor Bob Colacello – whose 1990 biography Holy Terror: Andy Warhol Close Up is being reissued by Knopf as a Vintage Paperback and e-book – in conversation with Lana Jokel and Vincent Fremont, who made films and television shows with and about Warhol.

Works by, and of, the enigmatic master of appropriation could be found throughout the fair. Galerie Hafenrichter from Nuremberg and Galerie Eikelmann from Dusseldorf , who shared a booth, sold one of his iconic Jackie Kennedy silkscreens for $19,500 and a Jeff Koons balloon dog for $15,000.

Luminaries continued to arrive in the days that followed. Danny Simmons was so impressed by his visit that he is already contemplating a collaboration with his Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation at next year’s Art Southampton. Law & Order SVU star Mariska Hargitay bought two "Petri Installations" by Klari Reis from Cynthia Corbett. The Londoner also sold Tom Leighton’s Golden Gate to another New York collector for $35,000, among other works surpassing $65,000 overall.

Casterline I Goodman, which was excited to meet a board member from Manhattan ’s Museum Mile, found that the fair was an invaluable way for an Aspen-based gallerist to connect with East Coast collectors. “It's about creating relationships and cultivating them for future business and long-term relationships.”

Art Southampton partnered with The New York Academy of Art on a special exhibition to benefit the school’s scholarship fund. The selection of skillful works by recent graduates and established alumni was curated by Academy senior critic Eric Fischl. The Sag Harbor resident was in high demand at the Academy’s cocktail reception Saturday to sign copies of his new memoir Bad Boy: My Life On and Off the Canvas. The adjacent booth of Hexton Modern & Contemporary from Northbrook , Illinois , racked up sales of Fischl’s works in a range of media throughout the fair’s run, including a $65,000 glass Arching Woman, yielding a $2,300 donation to the Southampton Hospital.

The fair’s lushly carpeted pavilion will remain on the grounds of the Southampton Elks Lodge after the fair closes to host the Southampton Hospital’s 55th annual gala next weekend, offering more amenities than ever for this crucial fundraiser and allowing it to raise more money by alleviating the heavy operational costs usually deducted from proceeds. “There’s a tremendous crossover from their donors who are collectors,” notes Korniloff. “We work under the premise that we’re always improving our shows and raising the quality of our services and amenities – they’re doing it in the medical world and we’re doing it in the art world.”

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