Dealer’s Choice: The Samuel Kootz Gallery 1945–1966
This fall, visitors to The Fralin Museum of Art will get an inside look at the highly influential work of one of the most significant, yet overlooked forces in American modern art. Dealer’s Choice: The Samuel Kootz Gallery 1945–1966 will be the first exhibition and catalogue examining the critical role Kootz (1898-1982), who attended UVA Law and graduated in 1921, played in establishing American art as an international force. Kootz’s New York Gallery, which was operational from 1945-1966, was instrumental to launching the careers of several major Abstract Expressionist artists including Robert Motherwell, Hans Hofmann, Adolph Gottlieb, and William Baziotes. Kootz deftly parlayed his expertise in the fields of law, advertising and literature into promoting and supporting young artists. Despite representing much of the major talent in twentieth-century art, Kootz has to this point been largely underrepresented in the literature. The exhibition will focus on the gallery’s formative years, which featured exhibitions by the modern masters of the school of Paris, alongside new emerging American talent.
The exhibition, curated by Rebecca Schoenthal, will be accompanied by a scholarly publication that will feature new research and essays by noted experts who will examine Kootz’s career and activities with the gallery, as well as his own writings and relationships with key artists, collectors and dealers from his era. It will also look at the effect the gallery had on the career trajectories of the artists who showed there, providing a new viewpoint on this fascinating and seminal moment in American art. Committed authors include Serge Guilbaut, PhD, Professor of Art History at the University of British Columbia; Barbara Michaels, former Gallery employee at Kootz Gallery;Ágnes Berecz, Associate Professor at Christie’s Education;Diana Bush, PhD, Teaching Assistant Professor at Stevens Institute of Technology; Rebecca Schoenthal, PhD, Curator of Exhibitions at The Fralin Museum of Art; and Jennifer Farrell, PhD, Associate Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, who will also serve as editor for the publication.