Friday - 25 July 2014

American trade resurface after battling Hurricane Sandy

05 November 2012Written by ATG Reporter

The art and antiques trade in North East America and Canada is returning to business as usual following the interruption caused by Hurricane Sandy.

Many dealerships, galleries and salerooms closed at some stage last week and a number of events were postponed, but the widespread precautions taken to limit the damage meant that most people and their stock survived largely unscathed.

However, the strong winds and flooding did affect trade in some places, causing outages of both power and phonelines, as well as websites (including some overseas).

New York's Chelsea district was one of the hardest hit areas. Flooding reached 33rd St, entering the premises of many contemporary art galleries in the area. Some dealers were left having to pump up to five feet of water out of their basements and there were reports of the loss of some six-figure-priced works.

Those affected included some of the biggest dealers. The Pace Gallery were forced to close three of their premises in Chelsea, although they were fortunate to escape major damage. Their gallery in the Midtown district remained open.

Both Gagosian galleries on 21st and 24th Street suffered from flooding. A statement on their website stated that they had "sustained serious water damage from the Hudson River surge" but had taken measures to protect artworks prior to the storm. They planned to reopen as soon as possible.

Meanwhile their Madison Avenue gallery remained fully operational and their Cy Twombly exhibition opened as scheduled on November 1.

Central Manhattan

The Midtown East and Upper East Side districts, where the Manhattan antiques trade is clustered, were less severely affected and events such as the The International Fine Print Dealers Association Fair went ahead at the Park Avenue Armory, although the opening preview night was delayed by 24 hours.

In Brooklyn, a large number of artists' studios were reported as sustaining heavy damage but, miraculously, all three Brooklyn fleamarket sites survived intact and were due to open as usual at the weekend.

Sales Calendar

Disruption to the auction calendar was generally minimal, although a number of auctions scheduled for October 29-31 were postponed for a few days. These included the Editions evening and day sale at Phillips de Pury and the 19th-Century paintings sale at Christie's.

Sotheby's announced that their November 5 Impressionist and Modern evening sale would take place on November 8 instead because of the "the significant travel delays into New York" and to "give our clients and international staff greater flexibility to view the exhibition and participate in the auction."

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