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News: Berry Campbell at Art Basel Miami Beach 2022, November 29, 2022 - Berry Campbell

Berry Campbell at Art Basel Miami Beach 2022

November 29, 2022 - Berry Campbell

Lynne Drexler: Nature Sparked
Art Basel Miami Beach
December 1 - 3, 2022

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Online Catalogue

Berry Campbell is pleased to present Lynne Drexler: Nature Sparked, a focused exhibition featuring Drexler’s groundbreaking works created between 1959 and 1967. On October 23, 2022, an article by Ted Loos appeared in the New York Times with the heading, “Out of Obscurity Lynne Drexler’s Abstract Paintings Fetch Millions.” The article was published on the occasion of the opening of a joint show of the work of Drexler’s first career phase (1959–1969) at the Mnuchin Gallery on the Upper East Side and Berry Campbell in Chelsea, which represents Drexler’s estate. An Abstract Expressionist painter and student of both Hans Hofmann and Robert Motherwell, Drexler established a distinctive stylistic idiom through vibrantly contrasting hues, applied in swatch-like patches with a Pointillist dynamism. Never offered before, these paintings reveal the significant contributions she made to post-war abstraction and reveal works alive with an intense physical vibrancy and an incomparable and innovative style.

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News: Women and Movement: Women and the American Art World | Debra J. Force, Peg Alston, Christine Berry, Linda S. Ferber, Barbara Haskell, November 12, 2022 - Initiatives for Art and Culture

Women and Movement: Women and the American Art World | Debra J. Force, Peg Alston, Christine Berry, Linda S. Ferber, Barbara Haskell

November 12, 2022 - Initiatives for Art and Culture

Women and Movement: Women and the American Art World
Debra J. Force (Debra Force Fine Art), Peg Alston (Peg Alston Fine Arts), Christine Berry (Berry Campbell Gallery), Linda S. Ferber (New-York Historical Society), Barbara Haskell (Whitney Museum of American Art), and Eileen Kinsella (ArtNet)

Tuesday, November 15, 2022
3:50 – 4:50 p.m.

IAC’s 27th Annual American Art Conference
The Cosmopolitan Club
122 E 66th St.
New York, NY

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News: Vogue | 16 Art Exhibitions to See This Month, November  9, 2022 - Maryley Marius for Vogue

Vogue | 16 Art Exhibitions to See This Month

November 9, 2022 - Maryley Marius for Vogue

In New York and beyond, this month and next yield many wonderful things for the art enthusiasts among us to see. Beginning with the beyond, a new show opening on the West Coast offers a worthy reevaluation of the midcentury art scene, while some blockbuster East Coast events (Alex Katz, Edward Hopper) are already bringing in crowds. 

“Lynne Drexler: The First Decade”

Sprawled across two galleries, “The First Decade” includes oil and gouache paintings made by Drexler between 1959 and 1969. A student of Robert Motherwell and Hans Hofmann, she developed a body of densely colorful, mosaic-like work in New York and, after 1971, on Monhegan Island, Maine, where she died in 1999. Through December 17, 2022, at Berry Campbell and Mnuchin Gallery.

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News: Artelligence Podcast | Lynne Drexler's Extraordinary Year: Christine Berry, Sukanya Rajaratnam, and Julian Ehrlich Explain, November  9, 2022 - Artelligence Podcast

Artelligence Podcast | Lynne Drexler's Extraordinary Year: Christine Berry, Sukanya Rajaratnam, and Julian Ehrlich Explain

November 9, 2022 - Artelligence Podcast

In 2022, artist Lynne Drexler's work exploded on the art market. An artist who had briefly shown in the early 1960s in New York, she continued to work on a remote island in Maine until her death in 1999. Two decades later, she became the artist of the moment. Sukanya Rajaratnam and Christine Berry have collaborated on a dual-gallery show of Drexler's work from her first decade, 1959-1969, The shows at Berry Campbell and Mnuchin have drawn in new audiences and further burnished Drexler's reputation. In this podcast, Christie's Julian Ehrlich joins Berry and Rajaratnam to tell the story of Lynne Drexler's extraordinary year.

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News: POLLOCK-KRASNER HOUSE AND STUDY CENTER: ART IN FOCUS | Lynne Drexler, A Forgotten Abstract Expressionist, Gail Levin, Ph.D., November  1, 2022 - After studying in New York in the 1950s with Hans Hofmann and Robert Motherwell, Lynne Drexler (1928-1999) escaped from an art world rife with competition and her struggle to find herself. She landed on Monhegan IslanPollock-Krasner House and Study Center

POLLOCK-KRASNER HOUSE AND STUDY CENTER: ART IN FOCUS | Lynne Drexler, A Forgotten Abstract Expressionist, Gail Levin, Ph.D.

November 1, 2022 - After studying in New York in the 1950s with Hans Hofmann and Robert Motherwell, Lynne Drexler (1928-1999) escaped from an art world rife with competition and her struggle to find herself. She landed on Monhegan IslanPollock-Krasner House and Study Center

POLLOCK-KRASNER HOUSE AND STUDY CENTER: ART IN FOCUS
Lynne Drexler, A Forgotten Abstract Expressionist, Gail Levin, Ph.D.

Tuesday, November 1, 6 p.m.
Register

After studying in New York in the 1950s with Hans Hofmann and Robert Motherwell, Lynne Drexler (1928-1999) escaped from an art world rife with competition and her struggle to find herself. She landed on Monhegan Island, Maine, where she lived happily ever after, painting, though forgotten, for the rest of her life. Her paintings have recently commanded attention, and are now on view in “Lynne Drexler: The First Decade,” at Berry Campbell Gallery in Manhattan. Her story is that of a woman artist whose colorful and engaging pictures speak for themselves, though they don’t necessarily reveal the drama of her life, which this lecture by Gail Levin, author of the exhibition catalog, will illuminate. 

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News: Female Artists Fight for Equality. It’s Not a Pretty Picture., October 29, 2022 - Helen Holmes for The Daily Beast

Female Artists Fight for Equality. It’s Not a Pretty Picture.

October 29, 2022 - Helen Holmes for The Daily Beast

Female Artists Fight for Equality. It’s Not a Pretty Picture.

On Thursday, Mnuchin Gallery and Berry Campbell Gallery in New York City will both launch shows dedicated to the work of Lynne Drexler, a painter whose trajectory follows a now-familiar narrative when it comes to women artists: though Drexler kicked off her career to much acclaim, even being compared to van Gogh, she languished in obscurity for most of her life.


It took until 2022 for her works to be reevaluated and command impressive auction results—estimated to sell for $40,000 to $60,000 at Christie’s in March, one of her paintings went for around $1.2 million. Drexler can’t enjoy her success, because she died in 1999.

“The art world loves old ladies and young bad boys,” Marilyn Minter, a deeply cool chronicler, in paintings and photographs, of the sensual mundanities of a woman’s life, told The Daily Beast on Tuesday, “and even if they love you, you’re not gonna succeed on the market over the most mediocre white male."

“There’s never, ever been a female artist that has hit the white heat of somebody like Damien Hirst or Julian Schnabel, where they can’t do anything wrong,” Minter said.

Minter was featured in the 2006 Whitney Biennial, made a film that was displayed in Times Square and has been featured in several solo exhibitions, achieving an impressive level of prestige. Still, the same market restrictions endlessly echo and reverberate, like ripples in an infinite ocean: the most Minter’s work has ever sold for is $269,000.

“I don’t pay attention to the high end of the market because I’m not one of the players, so it’s better for me to not even look at all,” Minter said. “But I’m one of the lucky ones, because I can make a living from my work.”

Earlier in October, contemporary artist Caroline Walker set a new personal auction record at the Frieze London auctions when her painting Indoor Outdoor (2015) sold for $598,081 over an estimate of $67,519–$90,047, Artsy reported last week.

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News: Ocula | Rediscovering Lynne Mapp Drexler in New York, October 28, 2022 - Rory Mitchell for Ocula

Ocula | Rediscovering Lynne Mapp Drexler in New York

October 28, 2022 - Rory Mitchell for Ocula

Lynne Mapp Drexler is the historical artist everyone is talking about now.

Mnuchin Gallery and Berry Campbell Gallery are opening their major exhibition, Lynne Drexler: The First Decade in their respective New York spaces this week, which focuses on work produced between 1959–1969.

This comes hot on the heels of Amy Cappellazzo's Art Intelligence Global group show in Hong KongShatter: Color Field and the Women of Abstract Expressionism (3 October–2 December 2022), which includes three of Drexler's paintings.

Lynne Drexler's tale shares some traits with other women artists of her time, and indeed much of the 20th century. She moved to New York in 1956, where she studied under Hans Hofmann and Robert Motherwell, and even showed at the prestigious Tanager Gallery in 1961.

The following year she married the painter John Hultberg, under whose shadow she lived for some time. The couple often spent summers on the remote Monhegan Island in Maine, but eventually separated. Drexler lived alone on Monhegan throughout most of the 1980s—still painting prolifically—up until her death in 1999.

Drexler's estate clearly still holds a great deal of material from the later period, but works from the 1960s are rare and have seen some spectacular auction results recently.

Herbert's Garden (1960) sold for 1.5 million USD at Christie's in May this year, and there is buoyant confidence in these prices continuing to soar given the players involved.

The speed at which things have moved, and the clear strategy in place to create the market from next to nothing, has drawn skepticism from some quarters—but I would argue that Drexler's paintings from this period point towards something exceptional.

There is no doubt that the Virginia-born artist stands up to some of the great abstract painters of the postwar period. Not unlike Joan Mitchell, there is a subtle yet clear debt to artists such as MonetDerain, and Bonnard, as well as the Pointillists. Drexler's mark-making also draws parallels with the style of her better-known contemporary, Alma Thomas, who was actually the subject of Mnuchin's major exhibition in 2019.

Drexler's paintings exude the atmosphere of the East Coast landscapes, which she inhabited throughout much of her life in Maine.

Her rich tones are beautifully composed in subtly differing shades, with each brushstroke varying in direction. Combined with variations in the thickness of impasto and the size of marks, Drexler's resulting compositions possess a layered depth, and still are able to breathe with precisely articulated areas of negative space.

Drexler's best paintings achieve that quality rarely found in abstraction, by which our initial perceptual reaction begins to slowly unravel, revealing memories wrought from the natural world whilst stirring the inner parts of our subconscious. Nature is prevalent in her works, but there is something else unknown and magical that renders Drexler's paintings remarkable.

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News: Artforum Must See | Lynne Drexler: The First Decade, October 28, 2022 - Artforum

Artforum Must See | Lynne Drexler: The First Decade

October 28, 2022 - Artforum

Lynne Drexler: The First Decade (1959-1969)
In Collaboration with Mnuchin Gallery
October 27 - December 17, 2022

Artforum
View Exhibition

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News: The New York Times | Out of Obscurity, Lynne Drexler’s Abstract Paintings Fetch Millions, October 24, 2022 - Ted Loos for The New York Times

The New York Times | Out of Obscurity, Lynne Drexler’s Abstract Paintings Fetch Millions

October 24, 2022 - Ted Loos for The New York Times

After a derailed career, Ms. Drexler became a “hermit” painter on an island. Decades later, piqued public interest can earn her work seven figures.

When two paintings sold for far higher than their estimates at auction last spring, by an artist very few people had ever heard of, a signal pierced the art market: The artist, Lynne Drexler, might merit more attention today than she ever received in her lifetime.

Both works are mosaiclike fields of bright colors. “Flowered Hundred” (1962) was estimated to sell at Christie’s New York for $40,000 to $60,000. It sold for just under $1.2 million in March.

The iron was hot; a couple of months later, some 20 buyers scrambled for “Herbert’s Garden” (1960) when it came up for auction for $70,000 to $100,000. It sold for $1.5 million.

Ms. Drexler (1928-99) began with a promising career in the New York art scene — one reviewer compared her work to van Gogh’s — but she spent the last decades of her life as a self-described “hermit” on Monhegan Island, a remote spot off the coast of Maine. At one point, she was painting seascapes for tourists to make ends meet.

“I knew there would come a time when this would happen,” said Michael Rancourt, the owner of Ms. Drexler’s estate. “But I didn’t know what the extent would be.”

Two New York galleries are working together to mount a joint exhibition that opens this week: “Lynne Drexler: The First Decade” is the first solo show of Ms. Drexler’s work in the city in 38 years.

The show, running Oct. 27 to Dec. 17, is a mix of works that are for sale and those only on loan; some in each category are from the estate. Mnuchin Gallery, on the Upper East Side, will concentrate on the period from 1959 to 1964 with works that include “Rose Nocturne” (1962), dominated by pink shades.

Berry Campbell, which represents the artist’s estate, will show works at its Chelsea gallery that were made from 1965 to 1969. They will include “Smoked Green” (1967), a piece that shows her abstract work moving toward more defined blocks of color, a direction that picked up speed over time.

Ms. Drexler’s work is back at auction this fall, too, with “Tropical Calm” (1963) going on the block Nov. 18 at Christie’s, estimated at $60,000 to $80,000.

“It feels like a true rediscovery,” Sukanya Rajaratnam, a partner at Mnuchin, said of the artist’s renaissance. “Sometimes there are artists who are hiding in plain sight.” She noted that it was relatively unusual for a backward glance to produce such interest today. “Not every forgotten artist deserves to have their story told,” she said.

Among those who do merit it, “there’s a resurgence of women artists right now,” said Christine Berry, Berry Campbell’s co-founder, noting that women and overlooked artists from the mid-20th century were the focus of her and Martha Campbell’s gallery.

“We’re all interested in being more inclusive about who we add to the canon,” Ms. Berry added.

In the case of Ms. Drexler, a reputational rescue by the marketplace has an irony at its heart. “She hated the art world,” said Tralice Bracy, formerly a curator at the Monhegan Museum in Maine who organized a show of Ms. Drexler’s work there in 2008.

That enmity stemmed from having a promising career derailed. Ms. Bracy, a former Monhegan resident who got to know Ms. Drexler in the last years of her life, met her around 1994 when a friend said, “‘You should meet this artist, she’ll be in the books someday,’” Ms. Bracy recalled.

Ms. Drexler’s experiences were reflected in the paintings and enriched them, she added. “When you look at her life’s work, you see the humanity,” Ms. Bracy said. “They are lyrical, joyful, intense paintings. And then her life gets more complicated.”

Raised near Newport News, Va., Ms. Drexler received a fine arts degree from the Richmond Professional Institute and later went to New York to study separately with two influential painters of the age: Hans Hofmann and Robert Motherwell. Though unknown at the time, she was in the thick of the action among downtown artists.

“She mingled at Cedar Tavern,” Ms. Rajaratnam said, referring to the watering hole of Jackson Pollock and other avant-garde artists.

After much painting and networking, she got her first solo show in 1961 at the prestigious Tanager Gallery, a co-op whose members included Willem de Kooning and Alex Katz. But she did not sell any of the works. That year she met a fellow painter, John Hultberg (1925-2005), whom she married in the spring of 1962, beginning a tumultuous relationship with that better-known artist.

When Mr. Hultberg’s dealer, Martha Jackson, helped him buy a house on Monhegan Island, 12 miles off the coast of Maine — partly as a respite from the art world and the heavy drinking he was struggling with — it became a getaway place for the couple, and later their full-time home.

As the two moved around the country, teaching and showing their work, Ms. Drexler had some sales and good reviews. They settled back in New York in 1967.

“Sure, she was overshadowed by her male contemporaries — that’s how this story goes,” said Sara Friedlander, the deputy chair of postwar and contemporary art at Christie’s, who worked on the spring sales that brought big prices for Ms. Drexler’s work. “But I want to complicate this idea that she was overlooked. She had some commercial success as an artist, and how many people can say that?”

Health problems, Mr. Hultberg’s alcoholism and a changing art world frayed the couple’s relationship, and they moved to Monhegan full time in the early 1980s, separating soon after.

“Life was falling apart,” Ms. Bracy said. “They couldn’t afford the city anymore. They were kind of exhausted.”

But Ms. Drexler never stopped painting.

“She couldn’t get solid gallery representation, but she made art every day and persevered,” Ms. Berry said.

When Ms. Drexler died in 1999, stacks of paintings were found in her house. Mr. Rancourt said that the estate included many paintings and works on paper from the 1950s to the 1990s. “She was an avid painter,” he said. “There are enough works to keep me busy for the rest of my career.”

The early abstract works seem to be gaining more interest in the marketplace, he added, “but she got better as she went along.”

In the 1990s, when Ms. Drexler was living on her own as a full-time resident of Monhegan, her work followed a course that had begun in the previous decade, more clearly depicting real things — landscapes, tabletop items — in a highly stylized way.

“She produced a late group of upbeat representational pictures in warm palettes that manage to transcend their ordinary subject matter and morph into quite captivating compositions,” wrote the art historian Gail Levin in the catalog for “Lynne Drexler: The First Decade.”

Ms. Bracy said she thought she knew how Ms. Drexler would feel about being appreciated anew: “She would be giddy.”

 

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News: Lynne Drexler | At First Light: Two Centuries of Artists in Maine, Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, Maine, October 20, 2022 - Bowdoin College Museum of Art

Lynne Drexler | At First Light: Two Centuries of Artists in Maine, Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, Maine

October 20, 2022 - Bowdoin College Museum of Art



At First Light: Two Centuries of Artists in Maine
Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, Maine
June 25 - November 6, 2022
More Information
View Works by Lynne Drexler 

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