This is the untold story of the trailblazing art dealer Edith Halpert, set against the backdrop of Manhattan in the forties and fifties. In 1920s, New York, the art world was a small and provincial scene, confined to a few midtown blocks. In the view of most critics and curators, modern art was suspect, and American art was downright second rate. But in those early days, one brave and beautiful woman, a Russian-Jewish immigrant armed with only a second-rate education, a few years in the working world and an abundance of determination and charisma, made it her mission to fight for American art and artists. In an era when women were expected to stay at home, Edith Halpert, just twenty-six years old, opened the first gallery in Greenwich Village, and set about transforming the art world. Halpert's Downtown Gallery, which she ran for forty-four years, laid the groundwork for the art market's modern era, when aggressive promotion and sales tactics were introduced, not merely to line a dealer's pockets but to allow artists to thrive creatively and commercially.
Halpert discovered the market for folk art, and she pushed the first group of American artists working in the modern vernacular into the history books. She discovered and exhibited the most important and controversial American artists, including Georgia O'Keefe, Stuart Davis, Jacob Lawrence, Marden Hartley and Arthur Dove - now considered the most significant of the early modern masters - and many others before the world had heard of them. She cultivated the most illustrious art collectors of the day, from Abby Aldrich Rockerfeller to Henry Ford. And despite all this, Edith Halpert has been lost to history, until now. Journalist Lindsay Pollock brings the blue-eyed belle from Odessa back to vivid life. Delving deep into the passion and power of this remarkable woman, and through Edith Halpert, she takes us back through the most dramatic periods of the twentieth century - the Russian pogroms of 1905, Paris's "lost generation" of the 1920s, Prohibition, the Jazz Age and the Depression in New York, the Second World War, the growing prosperity of the 1940s and 50s and the McCarthy witch hunts, which targeted many of Halpert's politically engaged artists.
"The Girl with the Gallery" is biography at its finest, full of passion, drama and smoky period detail. At the heart of it all is Edith Halpert, whose life story is one of class, money, vanity, jealousy, bitterness and loss. And all of it for the love of art.show more