Galerie Chalette

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Galerie Chalette
"La Chalette"
9 88th Street, NY, NY.jpg
Galerie Chalette at 9 88th St., New York
Location45 West 57th Street, New York, United States

1100 Madison Avenue, New York, USA

9 East 88th Street, New York, USA
Coordinates40°46′58″N 73°57′31″W / 40.782691°N 73.958544°W / 40.782691; -73.958544Coordinates: 40°46′58″N 73°57′31″W / 40.782691°N 73.958544°W / 40.782691; -73.958544
OwnerArthur Lejwa,
Madeleine Chalette Lejwa
TypeArt gallery
Genre(s)Geometric Abstraction, Modernism, Constructivists, Suprematists[1]
Opened1954
Closed1978

Galerie Chalette was a private contemporary art gallery in Manhattan, New York, USA. It was founded by the married art dealers and collectors Madeleine Chalette Lejwa (1915–1996) and Arthur Lejwa (1895–1972) in February 1954. The Lejwas were refugees from the Nazi incursions into Poland and France. Initially, their gallery specialized in contemporary French and Polish prints and painting. Later they changed its focus to contemporary 20th century American and European Sculpture,[2] and especially the work of Jean Arp.[3]

"La Chalette" was perhaps best known for organizing important[4] group exhibitions which were then offered to various museums around the United States, including Construction and Geometry in Painting (1960), and Structured Sculpture (1960, 1968), as well as their major Arp exhibition, Jean Arp : from the collections of Mme. Marguerite Arp and Arthur and Madeleine Lejwa, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in 1972.[5]

The gallery closed in 1978.

History[edit]

Foundation[edit]

Madeleine Chalette was born in 1915 in Paris, France, and moved with her family to Poland as a child. In 1940, following her successful effort to secure the release of her father, Leon Chalette, from Sachsenhausen, a German concentration camp near Berlin, father and daughter traveled by boat to Shanghai, where they lived during World War II, arriving in the United States in 1946.[6] Arthur Lejwa, a Polish-born biochemist, immigrated to the United States in 1939 and taught at Long Island University. He served as a representative of the Polish Government in Exile during World War II. His intentions of returning to Poland after the war were crushed when he received word that his entire family had perished in the Nazi gas chambers. He met Chalette soon after her arrival in the United States and they married in 1947.[7]

45 West 57th Street[edit]

The gallery's early exhibitions in the 1950s were largely thematic.[3] Chalette's pre-war connections and works by Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, and Georges Braque from the Chalette family collection helped establish the gallery as viable and set the tone for the gallery's future.[citation needed] The Lejwas prided themselves on their close friendships with the artists they represented.[8] During the first four years of their gallery, they presented new works by Jean Arp,[9] Chagall,[10] Wassily Kandinsky, Kazimir Malevich, Henri Matisse, and Picasso. Picasso's sketch of Madeleine Lejwa from this period is now in the collection of the Israel Museum.[11] The Lejwas also had an interest in African art. In 1956, they arranged for North African artisans to produce limited edition carpet designs by Picasso, Alexander Calder, Joan Miró, Jean Lurçat as well as several pieces by Fernand Léger.[12]

1100 Madison Avenue[edit]

In 1957, the gallery expanded into new space on Madison Avenue. During this period the Lejwas liaised with Josef Albers, then head of the Yale Department of Design in New Haven. Albers, another European war refugee, worked with the Lejwas. In 1960, they mounted the group exhibit, Construction and Geometry in Painting, from Malevich to “tomorrow”, which included works by Albers, Arp, Max Bill, Sonia Delaunay, César Domela, Victor Vasarely, and others. This exhibition subsequently travelled to Cincinnati, Chicago, Minneapolis, and San Francisco.[13]

At the time, abstract expressionist painting had become mainstream gallery fare. This exhibition presented geometric abstract painting up to the present day, which was at that time a new aesthetic for the American audience, serious and silent (according to the bilingual catalogue text by Michel Seuphor) rather than attention provoking.[14] Championing the geometric abstract aesthetic would become the work for which Galerie Chalette would become best known.

A second exhibition formed through the Albers connection was the Structured Sculpture show in the same year, which included works by Norman Carlberg, Kent Bloomer, Erwin Hauer, Stephanie Scuris, and Robert Engman, Deborah De Moulpied, all of whom were working at or for Yale (and Albers) at this time.[15]

Gallerie Chalette continued to present Geometric and Constructivist ideas in solo exhibits from Burgoyne Diller (1961)[15] and in a series of shows from Leon Polk Smith, including his Constellations exhibition of 1968.[16]

Construction and Geometry in Painting (1958) This clean, sans-serif font was used on all catalogue not using artist signatures

88th Street[edit]

Galerie Chalette's final move[when?] to 9 East 88th Street, New York, was into the ground floor entry hall of a historical five-story brownstone building close to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and two blocks away from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the two museums with whom they arranged their last major exhibitions, Fangor, at the Guggenheim in 1970,[17] and Arp with the Met in 1972.[18]

Aesthetic[edit]

Robert Jacobsen (1966)
Exemplar of the maximally spare cover, still with distinctive La Chalette design.

"The Galerie Chalette’s distinctive quality was that it represented one stylistic direction, namely geometric abstraction." "Theirs was a story of continuous work on behalf of this style of artist, carried out with great commitment and capital investment. They were collectors and gallerists, and these aspects were indissolubly bound together."[19]

The Lejwas published catalogues alongside each of their exhibitions, including color plates where possible and commentary by notable critics. This practice reflected the Lejwas' loyalty to their artists and desire to see their artists' reputations and art established and available beyond the gallery's walls. From a business perspective, this attention to the "secondary" art market (the resale of art following its original acquisition from the artist), contributed to La Chalette's increased stature as a gallery throughout the 1960s.[20]

The gallery developed a spare yet specific and easily identifiable style for its catalogues, which ranged from relatively simple productions to elaborately printed, numbered, limited editions.

Representation[edit]

Artists[edit]

Artists represented by the Galerie Chalette included:[21]

Exhibitions[edit]

Selected:

  • Hepworth, (1959), Barbara Hepworth
  • Construction and Geometry in Painting, (31 March – 4 June 1960)[26] Traveling Schedule: Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati (July–October), Arts Club of Chicago, Chicago (November–December), Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (January–February)
  • Structured Sculpture, (1961)
  • Structured Sculpture, (1968)[27]
  • Torn Drawings, (1965), Leon Polk Smith
  • Fangor, (1970) in collaboration with the Guggenheim
  • Jean Arp : from the collections of Mme. Marguerite Arp and Arthur and Madeleine Lejwa, (1972) in collaboration with the Met
Galerie Chalette: exhibitions & associated catalogues
Date Artist Exhibition Title Catalogue
Year Dates
1953 19 Nov - 10 Dec Henri Matisse Lithographs Linoleum Cuts Aquatints 1925-1953 Softcover Catalogue
1955 19 Nov - 10 Dec Rolf Gerard Recent Paintings Preface: Roland Dorgelès
1956 Pablo Picasso Picasso - The Woman (Paintings, Drawings, Bronzes & Lithographs) Preface: Eugene Victor Thaw
Nov 13 - Dec 08 Marc Chagall Recent Paintings Catalogue
1957 14 Feb - Mar 9 Michel Cadoret Paintings Essays: Armand Hoog,
Jacques Maritain
12 Nov - 14 Dec Wassily Kandinsky Kandinsky Catalogue
1958 Pablo Picasso et al Sculpture by Painters
March - April Marc Chagall Chagall: A Selection of Paintings from American Museums and Private Collections Preface: Raissa Maritain
07 Oct - 02 Nov Manuel "Manolo" Martinez Hugué Manolo Preface: Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler
1959 12 Nov - 14 Dec Henri Laurens Laurens: Collages, Gouaches, Drawings, Water Colors, Sculpture Catalogue
Oct Barbara Hepworth Hepworth Preface: Sir Herbert Read
Nov – Dec Jankel Adler Recent Artwork Preface: Alfred Werner
1960 31 Mar – 4 Jun Josef Albers, Jean Arp, Max Bill, Sonia Delaunay, César Domela, Victor Vasarely Construction and Geometry in Painting: From Malevitch to Tomorrow Preface: Michel Seuphor
Oct – Nov Jean Arp and Sophie Taeuber-Arp The Spiritual Mission of Art Preface: Michel Seuphor
Dec Norman Carlberg, Kent Bloomer, William Reimann, Erwin Hauer, Stephanie Scuris, Robert Engman, Deborah De Maulpied Structured Sculpture Catalogue
1961 Burgoyne Diller Diller: Paintings Constructions Drawings Watercolors Catalogue (Green Cover)
Oct – Nov Julio González Recent Work Preface: Hilton Kramer
1962 Nicolas de Staël Catalogue
Jan Lebenstein Preface: Jean Cassou
Gustave Singier Gustave Singier Preface: Roger van Gindertael
1963 12 Nov - 14 Dec Kurt Schwitters Kurt Schwitters Essays: Hans Richter, Jean Arp;
hard & soft cover catalogues
Mar – Apr Pierre Caille Works Catalogue
1965 Jan Jean Arp[28]
Apr Fernand Léger The Figure Text & Quotes: artist
Oct Leon Polk Smith Torn Drawings Portfolio
1966 Robert Jacobsen Paintings Preface: Michel Ragon
1968 12 Nov - 14 Dec Leon Polk Smith 'Constellations Catalogue
Oct – Nov John Cunningham, Robert Engman, Erwin Hauer, Deborah de Moulpied, William Reimann, Stephanie Scuris, Robert Zeidman Structured Sculpture Catalogue
1969 Jan – Feb Wojciech Fangor Recent paintings by Fangor Catalogue
1975 n.a Jean Arp Sculpture, Reliefs, Works on Paper Catalogue (Chalette International)

Legacy[edit]

French 19th-century stool, a gift from Arthur and Madeleine Lejwa Collection to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1985

Arthur Lejwa died in New York in October 1972 and was buried in Jerusalem. Madeleine Lejwa reconfigured the gallery business as Chalette International and continued on as a dealer and consultant, reducing the exhibition aspects of the gallery's work. Madeleine Lejwa made donations to major museums in the United States,[29] including Arp's Oriforme to the National Gallery of Art in 1978.[30]

On Madeleine Lejwa's death in 1991, the Galerie Chalette papers were formally lodged at the Smithsonian Archives of American Art and the bulk of the Lejwa Collection went to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, which, in 2004, produced a complete catalogue of the Arthur and Madeleine Lejwa Collection, featuring Picasso's image of Madeleine Lejwa on the cover.[31] There were no family survivors of either the Chalette or Lejwa family.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Four collections offering a window onto the history of the Israel Museum". Christie's Features. Christie's. November 2018. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  2. ^ Hartog, Aria The loyal underdog. Observations on Hans Arp and Galerie Chalette, Gerhard Marcks Haus, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany. p. 144. Retrieved 2020-3-24.
  3. ^ a b "Galerie Chalette records, 1916–1999: Historical Note". Archives of American Art. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  4. ^ Mellow, James R. (1962). "The Best in Arts: New York Galleries". Arts Yearbook. New York, New York: Art Digest, Inc. 6: 22.
  5. ^ Jean Arp: from the collections of Mme. Marguerite Arp and Arthur and Madeleine Lejwa, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1972.
  6. ^ Reif, Rita (June 12, 1996). "Madeleine Chalette Lejwa, 81, Art Collector, Dealer and Donor". The New York Times, Obituaries. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  7. ^ "Arthur Lejwa, 77, Biochemist, Dead". The New York Times, Obituaries (1972). November 27, 1972. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  8. ^ "Christie's announces selections from the Israel Museum to benefit the acquisitions fund". Art Daily. 2018. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  9. ^ "Arp, Jean, À mes chérs Lejwas". Jerusalem: The Israel Museum. 1960. Retrieved March 21, 2020. Accession no. B00.1160.
  10. ^ "Chagall, Marc, Pour Madeleine". Jerusalem: The Israel Museum. 1952. Retrieved March 21, 2020. Accession no. B00.1129.
  11. ^ "Christie's announces selections from the Israel Museum to benefit the acquisitions fund". Art Daily. 2018. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  12. ^ Pepis, Betty (1956). "Art Travels From Walls To the Floor; Accent on the Floor". The New York Times. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  13. ^ Preston, Stuart (1960). "Questions of Meaning: The Opposite Poles Of Modern Art". The New York Times, Arts. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  14. ^ Hartog, Aria The loyal underdog. Observations on Hans Arp and Galerie Chalette, Gerhard Marcks Haus, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany. p. 145. Retrieved 2020-3-24.
  15. ^ a b Perl, Jed (2007). New Art City: Manhattan at Mid-Century. New York: Vintage Books. pp. 318–320. ISBN 1400034655.
  16. ^ Sherman, Sam (2019). "The Lissom Gallery: Leon Polk Smith". Artforum. Retrieved March 29, 2020.
  17. ^ "Fangor". New York, New York: Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. 1970.
  18. ^ Jean Arp: from the collections of Mme. Marguerite Arp and Arthur and Madeleine Lejwa, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1972.
  19. ^ Hartog, Aria The loyal underdog. Observations on Hans Arp and Galerie Chalette, Gerhard Marcks Haus, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany. Retrieved 2020-3-24.
  20. ^ Hartog, Aria The loyal underdog. Observations on Hans Arp and Galerie Chalette, Gerhard Marcks Haus, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany. Retrieved 2020-3-24.
  21. ^ "Galerie Chalette records: Artist's Files, (1916–1996)". Archives of American Art. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  22. ^ "Construction and Geometry in Painting, (1960)". Archive of Past Shows, Group Exhibits. The Josef & Anni Albers Foundation. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  23. ^ Dore, Ashton (May 2, 1957). "Derain Drawings; Work by Restless Observer of the Female Figure on View at Galerie Chalette". The New York Times, Art. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  24. ^ Preston, Stuart (1964). "Seeing Things". The New York Times, Art. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  25. ^ "Gallery – Galerie Chalette". artist-info. Retrieved March 29, 2020.
  26. ^ "Construction and Geometry in Painting, (1960)". Archive of Past Shows, Group Exhibits. The Josef & Anni Albers Foundation. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  27. ^ "Gallery – Galerie Chalette: Structured Sculpture (1968)". artist-info. Retrieved March 29, 2020.
  28. ^ Hartog, Aria The loyal underdog. Observations on Hans Arp and Galerie Chalette, Gerhard Marcks Haus, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany. p. 151. Retrieved 2020-3-24.
  29. ^ Jean Arp: from the collections of Mme. Marguerite Arp and Arthur and Madeleine Lejwa, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1972.
  30. ^ Arp, Paul Oriforme (1977) The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. Retrieved 2020-3-22.
  31. ^ Apter-Gabriel, Ruth (2005). The Arthur and Madeleine Chalette Lejwa Collection in the Israel Museum. Jerusalem: The Israel Museum.

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]