Last Thursday I was scheduled for a day trip to Midland, TX for an estate appraisal. When my dear friend, Judy Jackson, the doyenne of estate sales in Midland, found out I would be in town, she insisted I stay the night in order to attend the opening of a new show at a fairly new gallery in town, Baker Schorr Fine Art. What a fine opportunity to spend time with a good friend and check out a new gallery!
Baker Schorr Fine Art opened its doors November, 2018. The Director is Kathryn Schorr, an elegant and welcoming person whose good taste and charm is evident from the moment one enters the door. The gallery space is broad, well-lit and dotted with just a few items of furniture, giving the viewer a chance to sit and contemplate a favorite painting or imagine it in their own home. The gallery’s focus is Post-Impressionist and Modern art. The new show, “American Sublime: Sacred Landscapes of the Hudson River School,” is an attempt to introduce her patrons to the beauty and glory of traditional 19th C. American landscapes. Showing one of the best-known schools of American landscape artists might not seem so ground-breaking (pun intended) until one considers that since the stock market crash of mid-2008, collectors’ tastes shifted decidedly away from all things traditional and toward modern and contemporary art. While values in modern and contemporary art have grown steadily since that time, values for almost all 19th C. and earlier artwork and furnishings have continued to sink. The finest of antique furnishings have been relegated to the “brown furniture” category. Prices for even the best-known 19th C. and earlier paintings are much lower than they were in 2007.
It is so refreshing to see the highest quality Hudson River School landscapes being given center stage again. Let’s face it, tastes are cyclical and the hot pursuit of everything nonobjective is in its 11th year. I have been watching for signs of a resurging interest in traditional art and furnishings. I spoke briefly with Ms. Schorr about the show and about collectors’ interests in traditional works. We both agreed that there are signs of the market shifting that direction. Also, the fact that values for traditional paintings have come down decidedly in the last decade means the current prices for such high quality paintings are a bargain.
The current show will only be at Baker Schorr until August 3rd. If you live anywhere near the Permian Basin, you should definitely check out these paintings while they are available and on view at the gallery. I wish the very best to Ms. Schorr in this new gallery. As someone who has been making regular trips to Midland for artwork appraisals for many years, I know the locals do love to collect great art but they often acquire pieces in far-flung locations. Midland needs to develop a lively local gallery scene and Baker Schorr Fine Art is a great start.