The Girl With the Gallery: Edith Gre­gor Halpert and the Mak­ing of the Mod­ern Art Market

Lind­say Pollock
  • Review
By – March 26, 2012

Pollock’s biog­ra­phy is a live­ly and engag­ing exam­i­na­tion of Edith Gre­gor Halpert’s role in the Amer­i­can art move­ment. Her exhaus­tive treat­ment of Halpert’s life and work nev­er grows tedious, and the book remains inter­est­ing and acces­si­ble to the lay read­er through­out. Pol­lock focus­es on Halpert’s major achieve­ment, the estab­lish­ment of the Down­town Gallery, one of the first gal­leries for mod­ern Amer­i­can art in Green­wich Vil­lage. She describes her subject’s entrance into the art world in New York, deft­ly explor­ing how finan­cial uncer­tain­ty, which fol­lowed Halpert’s fam­i­ly from Odessa to New York, made a life­long impres­sion on the young woman. 

Pollock’s skill­ful sto­ry­telling inte­grates ordi­nary details from Halpert’s life into the larg­er pic­ture of art his­to­ry, human­iz­ing her his­tor­i­cal research with amus­ing but rel­e­vant anec­dotes that fea­ture some of the best-known fig­ures in Amer­i­can art. Indeed, as an art deal­er, Halpert rep­re­sent­ed Jacob Lau­rence, Stu­art Davis, Geor­gia O’Keefe, and Arthur Dove at a time when mod­ern Amer­i­can art was only begin­ning to be val­ued by col­lec­tors and museums. 

The Girl with the Gallery will engage any­one inter­est­ed in mod­ern Amer­i­can art, the Jew­ish immi­grant expe­ri­ence in New York City, or Jew­ish women in Amer­i­ca. Bib­li­og­ra­phy, cred­its, index, notes, photography. 

Rachel Sara Rosen­thal is an envi­ron­men­tal attor­ney in Wash­ing­ton, DC. Orig­i­nal­ly from Greens­boro, North Car­oli­na, she grad­u­at­ed from Duke Uni­ver­si­ty in 2003 and Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty School of Law in 2006.

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