An Exclusive Interview With Ellen Sragow
Sragow Gallery specializes in American Art from the 1930’s- 40’s, and early 1950’s including the WPA era; African American Art and prints from the Hollander Workshop, 1964-72, including Abstract Expressionist prints by artists of the New York School.
Q1. Where are you based and how long has the gallery been dealing in fine prints?
ES: I am in New York City. I started by working in a gallery in SOHO called Prints on Prince Street.It was a gallery representing print publishers here and in Europe. In 1975 I moved it and called it Prints on Prince Street on West Broadway, and we showed the prints of Richard Prince!!
Q2. How did you start in the art business?
ES: I started in the art business because I had just finished my Masters Degree and needed a job. I worked for Prints on Prince Street and knew nothing about business. My training was in art history and studio classes. I did study with Milton Resnick, Esteban Vicente and Irving Sandler. They all taught me about painting, understanding paint, and the history of Abstract Expressionism.
Q3. Which artists / art movements do you specialise in?
ES: I specialize in American prints, paintings and works on paper. African American; 30-’s and 40’s; Contemporary; Abstract Expressionist (of course!)
Q4. What were some of the first prints you bought and sold?
ES: Works by Arnulf Rainer, Cy Twombly, Robert Ryman,,Anni Albers,RIchard Anuszkiewicz among others.Also sold photographs before there was a market, by now very famous artists. They sold for $100-$500, such as Paul Outerbridge, Walker Evans, Arnold Newman,Andre Kertesz, among others.
Q5. Who is your personal favourite artist and why?
ES: This is a question I can never answer, along with favorite movie,book,food, etc!
Q6. Which artists do you regard as some of the finest printmakers?
ES: One of my favorite print medias is blockprint. I think 3 of the best wood engravers (20th century) were Paul Landacre, Angelo Pinto and Lou Barlow.
Q7. If you could own just one print, which would it be?
ES: Durer’s “Adam and Eve”. I had the opportunity to see it unframed at a museum print study room and could practically stick my nose into it! Wow!
Q8. Which artists do you have in your personal collection?
ES: Martin Assig; Dox Thrash; Arnold Newman,Bernice Abbott, Perle Fine , Elizabeth Catlett, a mixed bag!
Q9. What are some of your latest acquisitions?
ES: Sam Gilliam, Elizabeth Catlett.
Q10. What advice do you offer collectors when acquiring fine prints?
ES: Buy them from a reputable dealer who can advise you and help build your collection.