Sale of the week: master drawings

Sale: Master Drawings New York

Location: Upper East Side, Manhattan, New York, +1 212 755 8500. Catalogue online at

Date: Saturday (January 22) until January 29, 11am-6pm (Saturdays 11am-5pm, Sunday 3pm-7pm)

Need to know: This is the fifth edition of Master Drawings New York since its inception in 2007 and it has attracted 25 dealers, nine more than originally took part four years ago. The event, in which galleries work together for a week in order to bring their specialism under the spotlight, was inspired by the success of the original London-based Master Drawings, launched in 2001 by a small group of dealers hoping to reinvigorate enthusiasm for collecting traditional drawings at a time when contemporary artworks were to the fore. This year there are participants from New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, London, Paris, Madrid and England’s north Yorkshire. Those from out of town will show their wares in the galleries of Upper East Side colleagues, so keeping all the exhibitions within easy reach of one another.

Highlights: A significant feature of this event is that it includes not only old master drawings but “master drawings” of all ages and all types, from the 15th to the 20th century, with a price range of $2,000 to more than $1m. For lovers of the traditional, East 73rd Street dealer L’Antiquaire & The Connoisseur offers a 12-inch by eight-inch chalk-and-crayon study of “A Lady Kneeling” by Charles-Joseph Natoire that was once in the collection of the noted 19th-century French artist and illustrator Jean Gigoux. It is priced at £41,100, while David Tunick asks £100,900 for a covetable red chalk drawing of a seated woman by Jean-Antoine Watteau. An unusual Edouard Manet work comes in the form of an illustrated letter that he is said to have created to relieve boredom during a course of hydrotherapy treatment. The seven-line note, inviting a friend to lunch, is decorated with watercolour sketches of cherries and plums and is offered by London’s Stephen Ongpin at £180,000. A more affordable £3,500, however, will buy German artist Wilhelm Kuhnert’s delightful sheet of studies of a resting bush pig which are being offered by UK dealer Crispian Riley-Smith, who is showing at Shepherd and Derom on East 79th Street.

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