Friday, May 22, 2015

Henry Martin Gasser

Biography - Questroyal Fine Art, LLC, New York, New York


By Chelsea DeLay

Henry Martin Gasser was an important twentieth-century painter who resided in New Jersey for his entire life, where he was extremely involved in the state’s art scene. He was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1909, and pursued his interest in painting at the Newark School of Fine & Industrial Art and the Grand Central Art School in New York. He went on to enroll at the Art Students League, also in New York, where he met and took private lessons with fellow New Jersey artist John Grabach. Grabach played a dual role in Gasser’s life, acting as both a father-figure and a mentor; his influence can be seen in the young artist’s early works, which echoed the subjects, style, and compositions favored by artists who painted in the tradition of the Ashcan school.

The pair often made trips to Cape Ann, Massachusetts, where the scenery along the coast became one of Gasser’s favorite subjects; his snow scenes of New England are widely celebrated and considered by critics to be among his best works. It was with his hometown of Newark, however, that he felt the strongest connection; at the turn of the century, the city experienced a period of rapid growth and industrial development that coincided with Gasser’s emergence as an artist. His urban scenes were sympathetic towards those affected by the Great Depression and regularly incorporated the presence of a lone figure in a street to represent the personal misfortunes experienced as one goes through life. 

His work briefly deviated in subject to concentrate on aspects of Southern culture while he was stationed in South Carolina during World War II, but after the conclusion of his military service, he returned to Newark and resumed his focus on city life. At this time, he also accepted a teaching position at the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts.

Gasser’s rise to fame as a talented watercolorist was reinforced with invitations to participate in important exhibitions, where he earned awards from the Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Washington Water Color Clubs, Mint Museum of Art, and Montclair Art Museum, to name a few. He was also an active member of over twenty prestigious artist organizations, including the Allied Artists of America, Art Students League, The National Arts Club, The Royal Academy of the Arts, and The Salmagundi Club, serving as vice president of both the American Water Color Society and the National Academy of Design in 1953. Gasser drew upon his success as an artist and expanded upon his talents to further cultivate his already multi-faceted career: he was the Director of the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Art from 1946 to 1954, and published several successful instructional books on painting techniques.

Gasser continued to thrive as a teacher, author, and artist until his death in 1981; his entire career was dedicated to capturing an important period of New Jersey’s history and he once stated, “I have accumulated a collection of paintings that will serve as a historic record of the community.”


1909 Born in Newark, New Jersey
1930 Marries wife Joan
1940s Stationed in South Carolina at Camp Croft, becomes a sergeant in the Visual Aid Unit of the United States Army
1946–54 Serves as director at Newark School of Fine and Industrial Art
1948 Elected associate membership to the National Academy of Design
1950 Elected Academician of the National Academy of Design
1953 Elected vice-president of the National Academy of Design and the American Water Color Society, publishes Oil Paintings: Methods and Demonstrations; invited to teach as guest instructor at San Jose State College in California
1957 Elected as fellow of The Royal Society of Arts
1959 Publishes Techniques of Painting the Waterfront
1963 Publishes Techniques of Picture Making
1981 Passes away in South Orange, New Jersey

Questroyal Fine Art, LLC, New York, New York


Henry Martin Gasser (1909–1981)
A Street Corner in Paterson, New Jersey
Gouache and watercolor on paper
18¾ x 23⅝ inches (sight size)
Signed lower right: H. GASSER/



Henry Martin Gasser (1909–1981)
Lauren’s Farm
Oil on canvas board
25⅞ x 29⅞ inches
Signed lower right: H. GASSER/; on verso: LAURENS FARM / HENRY GASSER 


Henry Martin Gasser (1909–1981)
End of the Line
Watercolor on paper
22 x 30¼ inches (sight size)
Signed lower left: H.GASSER; on verso: “END OF THE LINE” / H. GASSER 


Henry Martin Gasser (1909–1981)
Abandoned House in Winter
Watercolor on paper
19⅝ x 24⅝ inches
Signed lower right: H. GASSER / 


Henry Martin Gasser (1909–1981)
Industrial Vista
Watercolor and gouache on paper laid down on board
21 x 27⅞ inches
Signed lower right: H. GASSER /; on verso: INDUSTRIAL VISTA / HENRY GASSER 


Henry Martin Gasser (1909–1981) Sketch for Down Neck Watercolor and gouache on paper 9 15/16 x 13⅞ inches (sight size) Signed lower left: H. GASSER/; on verso: SKETCH FOR PAINTING / “DOWN NECK” / H GASSER/


Saturday Shoppers




Harbor Scene

Country Skaters


John Moran Auctioneers



Henry Martin Gasser (1909-1981 Orange, NJ)

A street corner in Paterson, New Jersey, signed lower right: H. Gasser, casein on paper laid to paperboard under glass, sight size: 18.5'' H x 24.5'' W, est: $6000/8000

Henry Martin Gasser (American, 1909-1981), Candy and Confections (New York), watercolor, signed lower right, sight: 14"h x 20"w, overall (with frame): 25.5"h x 30.5"w
$6,000- $8,000

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Leon Kroll at Auction and in Galleries

Biography - Questroyal Fine Art, LLC, New York, New York


Leon Kroll was born in New York City in 1884. His childhood interest in art developed into a career aspiration by the time he was a teenager. At the age of fifteen, Kroll took a job as an assistant to the then-President of the Art Students League, Charles Yardley Turner. Turner took note of the young artist’s potential and arranged for Kroll to register for classes at the Art Students League in 1901, where he thrived under the instruction of his first teacher, John Henry Twachtman.

In 1903, Kroll enrolled in classes at the National Academy of Design, where he earned a bronze medal for his still life work after only one year of courses. He continued to rise through the student ranks at the National Academy of Design: he earned four awards in 1904 and of the five paintings he submitted to the Academy’s 1905 selection jury, all were accepted for exhibition.

During Kroll’s time at the National Academy, he received the prestigious Mooney Scholarship that funded a trip to Europe to cultivate his ability as a painter. The artist arrived in Paris in 1908 and immediately enrolled at the Académie Julian, where he studied with French-realist painter Jean-Paul Laurens.

Kroll’s time spent abroad exposed him to several European artists who influenced his style exponentially: he first encountered the color planes of Cézanne three years after the artist’s death and was fascinated by the brilliant hues used by the impressionists including Renoir, Monet, and Pissarro.

In 1911, shortly after Kroll’s stateside return, he accepted an instructional position at the National Academy of Design; he demonstrated an exceptional capability as a professor, which led to later teaching jobs at the Art Students League, the Chicago Art Institute, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Maryland Institute of Art.

Before he departed for Paris in 1908, Kroll spent the summer of 1907 in Maine with his close friend and fellow artist George Bellows. The rocky shores of Maine held great allure to American artists at this time; Monhegan, a favorite location of leading Ashcan artist Robert Henri and many of his students, had a particularly heightened sense of artistic glamour.

After returning from Europe, Kroll revisited Monhegan with Bellows in early 1913, where they worked alongside Henri and other members of his circle. From this trip, Kroll established friendships with several members of “The Eight” which included John Sloan, William Glackens, George Luks, and Arthur B. Davies and also resulted in an invitation to exhibit at the 1913 Armory Show.

The Armory Show effectively launched Kroll’s career as an artist and confirmed his status as one of the most famous realists in America; invitations to exhibit and subsequent awards followed from impressive institutions including the National Academy of Design, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Baltimore Pan-American Exhibition, and the Indianapolis Art Institute.(

Kroll spent the 1920s traveling back and forth between Europe and the United States: a brief trip to Europe in 1923 was spent in the company of French artist Robert Delaunay, a one-man show was held at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1924, and a prolonged visit to France lasted the following two years.

Seven years after his 1920 nomination for Associate membership to the National Academy, Kroll was elected an Academician to the respected institution—this was one of the many prestigious organizations that the artist belonged to throughout his career, which included the Philadelphia Art Club, the Boston Art Club, the American Academy of Arts & Letters, and the Légion d'Honneur. Kroll’s career took a new direction at the start of the 1930s when the artist first became involved in federal arts programs; he was commissioned to paint several municipal murals at locations that can be seen today in the U.S. Department of Justice Building, the auditorium at Johns Hopkins University, the Senate Chamber in the State Capitol of Indiana, and the war memorial in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Kroll’s accomplishments as an artist were celebrated in 1937 when the Worcester Museum held a retrospective of his work. Kroll continued to work during the later years of his life: he produced paintings at his studio in New York City, was actively involved in numerous organizations, and spent time in Gloucester, Massachusetts up until his death in 1974. Leon Kroll’s legacy as a talented realist painter is honored today through esteemed institutions including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

 Sotheby's 2007

LOT SOLD. 48,000 USD

Sotheby's 2011

LOT SOLD. 170,500 USD

Questroyal Fine Art, LLC, New York, New York



Leon Kroll (1884–1974)
Monhegan Seascape, 1913
Oil on panel
15 x 19 9/16 inches
On verso: LEON KROLL / Painted in Summer 1913


Leon Kroll (1884–1974)
Rockport, Maine
Oil on canvas
26⅛ x 32 3/16 inches
Signed lower left: Kroll; inscribed on verso: Rockport Main [sic]

 Christie's 2008


 Christie's 2010

Iona Robinson and Self Portrait of Kroll


 Christie's 2011



 Christie's 2012

  Skinner 2014

The Frugal Repast
Sold for:

 Leon Kroll Barbara
48 x 36 1/4 inches oil on canvas

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Russian Modernism: Cross-Currents of German and Russian Art, 1907-1917

Neue Galerie May 14-August 31, 2015

This exhibition is dedicated to modernist movements in German and Russian art at the beginning of the 20th century. Their development was parallel and often intersected.

This is the first exhibition at an American museum to focus exclusively on the important artistic links between these two countries, featuring works by artists Natalia Goncharova, Erich Heckel, Alexei von Jawlensky, Vasily Kandinsky, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Mikhail Larionov, and Gabriele Münter, among others. The show will be on view through August 31, 2015. The Neue Galerie is the sole venue for the exhibition.

The exhibition is organized by Russian art scholar Konstantin Akinsha, who also serves as a Research Fellow at the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg, Germany. The exhibition is designed by Peter de Kimpe, whose projects are noted for their bold colors and theatrical style.

Approximately 90 works are on display, including paintings and works on paper. The show is organized into thematic groupings and highlights direct connections and collaborations between Russian and German art from the period: Urban Scenes; Still-Lifes; Landscapes; Nudes; and Portraits. A small pendant gallery addresses the development of abstraction and includes work by Vasily Kandinsky and Kazimir Malevich.

The exhibition examines the radical modernist movements in Germany and Russia at the beginning of the twentieth century, focusing on the activities of the German Expressionist groups Brücke (Bridge) and the Blaue Reiter (Blue Rider), and their Russian counterparts the Jack of Diamonds and the Donkey’s Tail. The development of these groups was parallel and often intersected. Russian artists traveled to Germany to live and study. Likewise, the Germans were aware of the avant-garde art being produced in Moscow and exhibited their work there, too.

Russian and German modern artists shared an interest in the directness and simplicity of urban and rural folk traditions. Common subjects are peasants and urban scenes, including cabaret and circus, rendered in unexpectedly contrasting decorative combinations of color. While Russian artists looked to France, especially the art of Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, and Pablo Picasso, they also found sources of inspiration in forms of local popular culture like Russian lubok prints, playing cards, commercial signage, and graffiti. German artists alternatively, looked outside of Germany for their neo-primitivist influences, much of which emerged from engagement with ethnographic arts.

Russian Modernism maps the Russian version of expressionism and puts it in the context of the history of 20th century art. Russian Modernism is dedicated to the radical modernist movements in Russian and German art during the early years of the 20th century. Their development was parallel and often intertwined. Artists such as Vasily Kandinsky or Alexej von Jawlensky are claimed by the Germans but remain Russian artists for the Russians. The Burluk brothers, who became celebrities of the Russian radical art scene, participated in the first exhibition of the Blauer Reiter. Russian artists travelled to Germany and lived there, while their German counterparts were aware of what was shown in Moscow exhibition halls. The diverse art movement "expressionism" was formed in Germany at the beginning of the 1910s and was given the name by the critic Herwarth Walden. Members of groups such as Die Brücke and the Blauer Reiter were initially influenced by the French Fauves movement, and their Russian contemporaries also tried to find new artistic truth in Paris, 'la Ville Lumière'. However, both in Germany and Russia the new French influence underwent radical transformation.

The exhibition includes key works from major private collections, including a large number from that of businessman and philanthropist Petr Aven, as well as master-works from the Neue Galerie permanent collection. Several extraordinary loans have been assembled, such as

 Mikhail Larionov’s Self-Portrait (1912), Petr Aven Collection
© 2015 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

 Robert Falk’s Man in a Bowler Hat (1917), Petr Aven Collection

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s Russian Dancer Mela (1911),

Max Pechstein’s Young Woman with Red Fan (ca. 1910), Neue Galerie New York. This work is part of the collection of Estée Lauder and was made available through the generosity of Estée Lauder
© 2015 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / Pechstein Hamburg / Toekendorf / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Aristarkh Lentulov’s Victorious Battle (1914), and

Vasily Kandinsky’s Study for Improvisation 8 (1909).


Black Form
Vasily Kandinsky
Black Form
Oil on canvas
Neue Galerie New York. This work is part of the collection of Estée Lauder and was made available through the generosity of Estée Lauder
© 2015 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Tightrope Walk
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Tightrope Walk
Oil on canvas
Neue Galerie New York

The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, published by Prestel, which features contributions from scholars Konstantin Akinsha, Vivian Endicott Barnett, Natalia Murray, Irina Romanova, Aleksandra Shatskikh, and Jane Sharp.