Collectors, interior designers and art lovers converge at the event of the season, with a glamorous opening night July 13 and running through July 16 at the Southampton Fairgrounds. Photo: Adam D. Smith

The 2023 Hamptons Fine Art Fair Presents $150 Million of Collectible Art

By Benjamin Genocchio 

When it comes to staging international art fairs in New York’s exclusive Hamptons beachside region, Rick Friedman is a 16-year overnight success. 

His first art fair in the Hamptons, Art Hamptons, was launched in 2007. Now in its third iteration, his latest venture, the Hamptons Fine Art Fair, has evolved into the largest art fair in the country taking place until The Armory Show just after Labor Day and is the only art fair of the season in this summer playground for the affluent. 

From Lex Weill Gallery:  Jackson Pollock, Untitled, signed, dated 44 and inscribed with the artist's monogram, brush, spatter, pen and black and colored inks, and sgraffito on paper, 18¾ x 23¾ in.

Reaching far and wide, Friedman has assembled a stellar roster of 130 national and international galleries, together featuring over 10,000 works of art by close to 1,000 artists. The art on display is worth an estimated $150 million. The show opens with a ticketed preview (to Benefit Guild Hall) on Thursday, July 13 in a custom-built 70,000-square-foot pavilion complex located on 17 acres at the Southampton Fairgrounds.

From The Illustrated Gallery: Norman Rockwell, The Dugout, 1948, gouache and watercolor on paper, 17¼ x 16 in., paper 19 x 17¾ in. 

Friedman believes this is his best fair yet. He is probably right, having assembled galleries from 11 countries including Iran, South Korea, Spain, Germany, Italy, England, Mexico, The Netherlands, Canada and Israel. “This year the art fair is not only bigger than in previous years but I am proud to say that overall it is the deepest, widest selection of significant art ever offered in the Hamptons.”

From Markowicz Fine Art: Carole A. Feuerman, Contemplation (Life-Size) Light Rose AB Crystal Cap, 2023, 1/8, lacquer on resin with light rose AB crystal cap, 42 x 22 x 34 in. 

From Adamar Fine Arts: (left) Ugo Rodinone, The Sun, 2022, archival pigment inks on museum board, 23 x 19 in. (right) Kenny Scharf, Big Flores Yellow, 2021AP, archival ink with diamond dust and varnish, 53 x 42½ in. 

The exhibitor list for this year’s fair reveals a marked increase in both the quality of exhibitors and their material. For example, the Lex Weill Gallery from Southampton is exhibiting a Jackson Pollock painting, something you rarely see at a fair anywhere in the world. Shapero Modern from London is devoting its entire booth to the works of Picasso in honor, this year, of the 50th anniversary of his death.

From Shapero Modern: Pablo Picasso, Françoise, 1946, lithograph, edition of 50, 25½ x 19½ in.

“The Shapero Modern booth is the largest display of important Picasso works ever assembled in the Hamptons,” Friedman says, and will include a collection of more than 30 original works, lithographs, and linocuts by the Spanish artist, dating from the 1930s to the 1960s. “Works illustrate the various movements which Picasso invented or adopted, including Cubism,” the gallery explains.

There has also been a substantial uptick in the diversity of galleries participating in the fair. “What is really amazing is that we have 6 Black-owned galleries this year,” Friedman says. These dealers are Superpositions Gallery, Chiefs and Spirits, the Ebony Gallery, Calabar Gallery, Nike Art Gallery USA, and Bill Hodges Gallery.

Founded in 1979, Bill Hodges Gallery has been operating in New York for 44 years and has been a pioneer and champion of art and artists of the African diaspora. They will be presenting works by leading Black artists, from the mid-20th century to the present, which will include Jacob Lawrence, Kara Walker, Sam Gilliam, Willie Cole, Elizabeth Catlett, Roy DeCarava, and Wifredo Lam.

From Bill Hodges Gallery: Norman Lewis, Exodus, 1972, oil on canvas, 72 x 88½ in. 

From Bill Hodges Gallery: Romare Bearden, Sunset, 1981, collage and mixed media on fiberboard, 14 x 18 in.

Other dealers showing works by African and African American artists include M.S. Rau showing Jacob Lawrence and Markowicz Gallery showing Marcus Plummer, as well as Rebecca Hossack Gallery showing Mersuka Dopazo and Carla Kranendonk, two artists whose work is strongly influenced by African culture. In addition, Neil Anthony Edwards — a former NBA player with the LA Clippers — who is today a practicing artist, has been selected to exhibit in the curated Artist-in-Residence showcase.  

From M.S. Rau: Jacob Lawrence, Makeup, 1952, tempera on board, 21¼ x 27 in.

Dedicated theme booths are especially prominent this year at the fair, Friedman says, including one organized by himself from his personal collection of over 300 artworks. Titled “The Heroines of Abstract Expressionism,” the educational display includes pieces by seven women who were key members of the abstract movement in the decades of the 1950s and 1960s: Elaine de Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler, Hedda Sterne, Audrey Flack, Lynne Drexler, Corrine Michelle West, and Dusti Bonge.

Carol Rosenberg from Alex Rosenberg Fine Art has assembled, with help from the non-profit American Friends of the Ludwig Foundation of Cuba, a booth dedicated to some of the best Cuban artists of today. The booth will include works by Belkis Ayon, Yoan Capote, Roberto Fabelo, Ever Fonseca, Manuel Mendive, and Esterio Segura.

From Michelman Modern:  Robert Motherwell, Untitled (Figure in Doorway), 1982-1983, acrylic and charcoal on canvas, 80 x 96 in.  

William Havu Gallery is presenting Werner Drewes: Pioneering American Abstraction, a solo booth filled with the work of this late artist, printmaker, and teacher. “He was one of the first artists to introduce Bauhaus School concepts in the US,” the gallery says. “He was greatly influenced by his friend and artistic mentor Wassily Kandinsky.”

Incollect dealer Valerie Goodman is also presenting a solo booth dedicated to the work of French designer and sculptor Jacques Jarrige and the subject of a new book coming out in the fall. Goodman is showing five little plywood and LED back-lit wall sculptures, along with three hanging sculptures in hammered aluminum. 

From Valerie Goodman Gallery: Jacques Jarrige, Wave, kinetic sculpture in hammered aluminum, 25"H x 57"W. 

From Valerie Goodman Gallery: (left) Jacques Jarrige, Light Figure #1, plywood and LED, 70"H x 18"W.  From Zenith Gallery: (right) Red Grooms, Happily Ever After, 1996, enamel painted aluminum, 96 x 76 x 62 in. 

Zenith Gallery from Washington D.C., another Incollect dealer, is bringing a mixture of painting and sculpture by gallery artists, which tends to be the norm among galleries at art fairs. Rehs Contemporary Galleries, also an Incollect dealer, is doing the same though with a strong focus on work by realistic painters with extensive academic training. 

From Zenith Gallery: Anne Marchand, Compass, acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 48 x 72 in. 

According to Friedman, the Hamptons region is home to over 1,500 artists. Each year, to celebrate this connection, the Fair selects a handful of locally based artists to be inducted into the Hamptons Artists Hall of Fame. “The purpose of the HOF is to highlight, as well as to invite, a rediscovery for those esteemed local artists who have not fully received the national fame and recognition which they deserve,” Friedman explains. 

This year 5 artists, past and present, chosen by the fair will be inducted into the Hamptons Fine Art Fair 2023 Hall of Fame at a ceremony at the fair on July 15th. Fay Lansner (Keyes Gallery, Sag Harbor, NY). Cornelia Foss (MM Fine Art, Southampton, NY), Tony Rosenthal (T. Rosenthal Art, Southampton, NY), John Ferren (Findlay Galleries, New York, NY), and Hans Van De Bovenkamp (RL Studios, Charlotte, NC) are honorees. 

As an additional tribute to Rosenthal — the late Southampton-based sculptor and one of this year’s honorees — Friedman and the Tony Rosenthal Foundation organized the loan of one of his most famous artworks, the iconic “Astor Place Cube,” which will be on display at the entry to the fair. “The New York City commissioners have unanimously voted to loan this cherished historical art piece to the HFAF, to help commemorate and ceremonialize the sculptor’s induction into the 2023 Hamptons Artists Hall of Fame,” Friedman says.

Rosenthal’s Cube was the first public artwork New York City acquired for its public art collection back in 1976. Its presence in the Hamptons is a testament to the importance of the fair as a cultural event and an economic driver for the area. “We are projected to receive around 12,000 visitors,” Friedman says, “with over 3,500 coming on opening night.”