PaperCity Magazine

April 2017 - Houston

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 77 of 103

76 I t seems like yesterday, but it was actually 28 years ago that I nervously answered an ad — and was hired — for a gallery position at venerable Meredith Long & Company. It was my fi rst big break in the art world and the fi rst time I seriously applied my art history degree to both living artists and those from the textbooks — Inness, Marin, Sargent, Motherwell, Krasner, Stella. The man in charge of these important artworks was impeccable — and intimidating — but would become an important mentor. I sat at one of the gallery's two front desks as a junior and wide-eyed, greeted visitors of signifi cance who shaped Houston's cultural institutions (all of whom were clients — Edward Albee, Lynn Wyatt, Mr. and Mrs. David Wintermann, and Fayez Sarofi m). In my subsequent career as an art writer, I attended innumerable exhibitions at the gallery. Recently I returned for a series of interviews with Mr. Long, conducted over a month-long period this past winter and early spring. The occasion was a momentous anniversary: 60 years as Houston's top gallerist of American art. It would not be possible to compare Meredith Long to another Houston dealer — his infl uence, vision, and sphere of authority best parallel someone of Leo Castelli's stature. And, like Castelli, Long has always been a man of ethics, action, and his word. During my time with the gallery, ML, as staff called him, had open- heart surgery. The day after surgery, he summoned the accountant to the hospital to sign and dispense checks; the gallery paid rigorously on time, and for years every artist who brought in canvases — including standard bearers such as William Anzalone (the Round Top-based landscape master, still in the stable 50 years later), UH Art Department head Richard Stout, and sporting artist Jack Cowan — were paid for works even before their paintings found collectors. My favorite anecdote dates from 1989, my fi rst year at the gallery. After a New York-based client had committed to buying a $20,000 bronze sculpture by Michael Steiner (equivalent to six fi gures in today's economy) and sent in an initial payment, he changed his mind. With trepidation, I had to give Mr. Long the news. Without pausing, he said, "Don't worry about it, kid. There will be another collector." On smaller matters however, he could be very stern — over-ordering sodas for an opening, or CATHERINE D. ANSPON DEBRIEFS THE FOUNDER OF HOUSTON'S OLDEST AND MOST ICONIC GALLERY: MEREDITH LONG & COMPANY. DAYS DAYS WINE AND SARGENTS PHOTOGRAPHY PÄR BENGTSSON. ART DIRECTION MICHELLE AVIÑA. MEREDITH LONG CONTEMPLATES A MILESTONE AS A CHAMPION OF AMERICAN ART. of Meredith Long with a sculpture by Masaru Takiguchi. Mary Cassatt's Under the Horse-Chestnut Tree, 1896-1897.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of PaperCity Magazine - April 2017 - Houston