Though not new, Katya Kazakina rightly covers the intensifying trend toward re-discovering artists that seems to be overtaking New York’s dealer community.
“Whether the artists are old, dead or overlooked, people are turning over all the stones,” said Wendy Cromwell, founder of Cromwell Art LLC and president of the Association of Professional Art Advisors in New York. “It’s a function of a global market. Dealers have to have new material all the time.” […]
“People feel priced out,” said John Good, Christie’s international director of postwar and contemporary art. “They know that at one point works by these artists cost a lot less and are looking for parallels in the market of things that are undervalued.” […]
“New buyers who have doubts about young artists feel more comfortable with an artist who has a place, even a small one, in art history,” said Belgian collector Alain Servais.
Since the tendency is driven by a search for strong work that has not become too expensive for a wider range of collectors, one would think that critics—especially those who complain bitterly about market pressures—would celebrate the turn toward research and rediscovery. Here’s Roberta Smith, who, to be fair, celebrates the tendency but thinks it has gotten out of hand:
History — or the test of time — is not always wrong. Not every artist whose work languishes in obscurity is unjustly ignored. The work of some more or less died with its time and exists as retro artifact or interesting historical evidence but doesn’t give off much heat now. The idea that an overlooked artist is by definition a significant artist is sometimes based more on wishful thinking than on actual looking.
The Effort to Resurrect the Sculptor Germaine Richier (NYTimes.com)