New York Gaze At TEFAF, Mingling Blue Chip Art And A-List Celebrities

We travel through centuries of New York history, washed over by the raging waves of NC Wyeth The arrival of the Mayflower in 1620a lush oil on canvas mural that stretches more than 13 feet wide and nearly 9 feet tall.

In 1940, the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company commissioned NC Wyeth to paint a series of 19 murals for its New York headquarters at One Madison Avenue. They were installed in the employee lounge and escalators at the company’s headquarters at One Madison Avenue. Wyeth died at the age of 62 in 1945, when an oncoming train struck his car at a railroad crossing in Chadds Ford, a town in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, before this tour could be completed. His son, Andrew, and his son-in-law, John McCoy, both apprentice artists, carried on his legacy, working from sketches to complete the five remaining panels.


Works installed in Bernard Goldberg Fine Arts booth at the ninth edition TEFAF New York at the Park Avenue Armory was a celebration of the city’s strong cultural heritage and commitment to public art. Celebrities including Scarlett Johansson, Colin Jost, Stanley Tucci, Anderson Cooper, John Krasinski and Emily Blunt joined museum decision-makers from more than 90 international institutions for a buzzing VIP preview, of which Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer CenterMay 11. The New York edition of TEFAF (The European Fine Art Foundation, which expands the reach TEFAF-Maastricht, Europe’s preeminent world art fair, presents examples of the world’s leading masterpieces and museum-quality art in a variety of genres and geographies. The fair was closed yesterday.

The VIP Preview was such a triumph that one dealer said Bart Drenthglobal managing director of TEFAF, expected to sell out their stand.

As some in the art world continue to embrace digital and virtual experiences over the original truly immersive experience of interacting with physical artworks, Drenth emphasized the importance of TEFAF’s dynamic, personal experience. Engaging with a wide range of artworks by different artists is the most effective way to promote culture and humanity through the cultivation of empathy.


“We love art that you can touch, that you can see, that you can hang on the wall. That’s what we’re all about,” Drenth told me at the VIP preview.

Passersby were drawn to Bernard Goldberg’s fine art booth by two lush oval murals by German artist Winold Reiss painted in 1938 for the Longchamps restaurant in the Empire State Building, now a Starbucks. Gallery director Ken Sims unveiled the works at 1stDibs, the leading marketplace for extraordinary design, listed as unattributed “Art Deco Murals,” Sims told me at the preview. The whereabouts of six other murals from the series remain unknown.

Because indoor cigarette smoking was ubiquitous at the time, the murals were covered in debris and looked “a little dull and yellow,” Sims said, “and that actually saved them.”

There were no titles, signatures or any other markings on the backs of the works, Sims said, other than stickers that indicated they had been processed by Sotheby’s at some point. The murals were stored in their original frames in upstate New York and were delivered to the gallery in a pickup truck, Sims said.


Wyeth’s The arrival of the Mayflower in 1620 and Puritan Cod Fishers (1947) overtake the side walls of the booth, enveloping us in ancient New York.

Our journey continues as we figuratively ride the B/D/F or N/Q subway trains to Coney Island via Richard the Great stand, where we come across Walton Ford’s Lost Colossus (2015), a monumental watercolor that stretches nearly 5 feet wide and nearly 3½ feet tall. A London-based dealer specializing in modern art acquired the piece from a private collector, who acquired it from Larchmont, the artist’s New York studio.

We explore the history of the legendary late 19th-century amusement park on the peninsula of southwest Brooklyn through Ford’s unique exploration of how nature and man-made structures shape our reality and imagination.


Ford overlays natural history surrealism onto the scene of the defunct Elephant Hotel (also known as the Elephantine Colossus)a new seven-story (122-foot) building designed by Irish-American inventor James V. Lafferty that welcomed visitors to Luna Park’s Surf Avenue and West 12th Street from 1885 until its destruction by fire on September 27, 1896.

The tourist attraction included a gallery, a great hall and a museum located in the left lung of the elephant. Telescopes embedded in the elephant’s eyes served as an observatory for visitors. Before the fire, the hotel brazenly boasted a short but fiery history, briefly serving as a brothel.


We are delighted with Kehinde Wiley’s The fiery ascent of the prophet Elijah (2014), a portrait of a man named Chris Norvell, with exaggerated, flexed biceps, depicted in a Gothic altarpiece, which leads us to Sean Kelly Gallery both. The New York gallery wowed at its debut at TEFAF in Maastricht in March, presenting Wiley’s Portrait of George Git Wright (2022). Secular icon shown in New York reinforces Wiley’s efforts as a gay black man to reimagine black bodies as pious Renaissance figures, subverting art history and perceptions of race and sexuality. Although born in Los Angeles, Wiley lives and works in Brooklyn, as one of the world’s leading artists from the city where he finds many of his sisters, exemplifying the countless street styles of New York.

From the collection of Pamela K. and William (Bill) Royall, the 22-carat gold leaf and oil on wood panel were on loan to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.

“Unfortunately, one of the owners passed away and it’s back on the market, and it’s wonderful, wonderful to have it here.” Sean Kelly told me during the VIP preview.

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