I have been fortunate to have had an uninterrupted representation at AF from the early ’70’s when Edward and his then business partner presented contemporary jewelry in a small booth on 47th Street, a fine jewelry center of the industry…then, in its mezzanine space…then to 53rd Street …then to 52nd Street due to 666 Fifth Avenue renovations..then back to the original space slightly reconfigured.
Through this association I have noticed that Edward and Patricia are as creative in their end of the business as the artists are creative in theirs… in financing the business, in marketing the work, in dealing with the unpleasant events of “shrinkage”, theft and burglary, in surviving a major construction by MOMA on 53rd Street.
I am grateful to have observed such a gallery’s life span. It has been educational, sometimes frustrating, often amusing and above all never boring. From the beginning Edward and Patricia valued distinctive jewelry design in the studio craft tradition. Had they been interested in stock turnover they would have had a different sort of jewelry emporium, and studio goldsmiths’ work would not have had the high profile internationally that it now does. their success has been very good for the field. A significant activity supporting their focus has been the quality of the catalogs, advertising, exhibitions. Each product was better than the last.
NYC is a tough town. Problems are bigger and more numerous, costs are higher. The is no down time. But they have persevered in good health, mission intact. Critical to their success, I believe, has been to attract and inspire competent staff, many of whom have been with them for many years; I like working with them very much.
A comment made to me by Edward many years ago shows how Edward’s and Patricia’s core values differed from other galleries early on. In the ’70’s the ambition of studio goldsmiths was to create what we called exhibition pieces. They were untouchable behind glass in museums, mainly. They were much appreciated, but rarely worn. Speaking with a client who was entranced by a particular piece in the AF Gallery he reminded her that true commitment was to go beyond admiration and to purchase it, to hold and to wear. Besides the potential for a sale, he was giving witness to the importance of the studio goldsmith’s work which many of us have long considered to be site specific fine art.