Mary-Anne Martin|Fine Art was established in 1982, in a townhouse in historic Amster Yard on 49th Street in New York City. The gallery was founded by Mary-Anne Martin, who had created the Latin American Department at Sotheby’s in the late 1970’s. Dedicated to the promotion of Mexican and Latin American art, the gallery showcases works by major artists of Latin America such as Carrington, Covarrubias, Goeritz, Kahlo, Lam, Matta, Mérida, Orozco, Rahon, Rivera, Siqueiros, Tamayo, Toledo and Torres-Garcia, Varo, Xul Solar and also represents Isabel De Obaldía, and the estate of Gunther Gerzso.
In 1986 the gallery moved to its current location at 23 East 73rd Street, a landmarked Beaux-Arts townhouse. The gallery has become a “must” for serious collectors of Latin American Art as well as a first stop for new collectors who wish to learn about the field from mam|fa’s knowledgeable and friendly staff. The gallery consults for museums, auction houses and private collectors. Known for its good taste, expertise and scholarship, the gallery is also well known for its inviting atmosphere and unpretentious character. Since 1982, Mary-Anne Martin|Fine Art has contributed to the passage of Latin American art from an esoteric specialty to an international market.
Mary-Anne Martin is one of the leading dealers of Latin American art in the United States. She single-handedly created the auction market for Latin American paintings during her years at Sotheby’s. As an independent gallery owner she has bought and sold some of the most well known examples of Latin American painting by masters like Tamayo, Rivera, Lam, Matta, and others. Her acquisition of Frida Kahlo’s 1949 “Diego y yo” set the record for a Latin American purchase. She has promoted the art of many younger artists and has given the first U.S. showing to painters like Nahum Zenil, José Luis Romo, Elena Climent, and numerous others.Edward Sullivan, Latin American Art, 1990
People of MAMFA
Not all art for sale in galleries is necessarily owned inventory. A work may be consigned by its owner to a gallery which earns a commission when it sells the piece. By consigning a work to mam|fa, a collector can take advantage of our sales experience and expertise and still be assured of receiving the highest possible return. A particular advantage of consigning property to an art gallery, as opposed to an auction house, is that the work is handled discreetly and offered only to the collectors most likely to buy. For this reason the work is not burned on the open market if it is not sold. Works which fail to sell at public auction are usually much more difficult to sell afterward and frequently need a cooling down period of a year or more.
Locating works for collectors
Because of our pivotal position in creating the market for Latin American pictures in this country over forty years ago, we have access to private collections around the world. Many important works were placed in these collections by mam|fa over the years and we can frequently locate works that are not currently on the market. If there is a specific work in which you are interested or a type of work you are seeking, please let us know.
A good art gallery must do more than just sell art. Its principals must provide honest advice to its clients, in order to build long term relationships, based on trust. It must provide complementary services to the sale of works, both for consignors and purchasers.
An art collection makes a statement about the collector’s eye, interests, and taste. Private individuals are more and more building art collections with an eye towards posterity, either to benefit favored institutions or simply to pass on wealth to their children. It is very important for collectors to develop strong relationships with art dealers who understand their taste and motivation. The art dealer in turn can recommend new artists or works consistent with a collection’s purpose and aesthetics.
Auction advisory services
Once a forum for wholesale purchases by dealers acquiring stock, auctions have now become a retail, do-it-yourself occupation, open to everyone. But everyone does not have the specialized professional knowledge needed for buying expensive art at auction and doing it yourself can have some pitfalls. Some of the biggest traps an unwary auction goer can fall into are set forth in one of our newsletter articles Thirteen Questions. This has become our most frequently requested text and excerpts from this article have been reprinted in a number of trade magazines and business journals.
A smart collector will seek advice from professionals when considering an auction purchase. Dealers are practiced auction buyers and can usually spot problems if they exist. MAMFA’s staff will personally examine works for you and arrange to bid in your behalf if you cannot attend the sale. We can check the physical condition of a work and, if necessary, arrange for a restorer’s examination before you buy, as well as advise you on the authenticity, quality and suggested estimate of a work. We can also let you know if similar works are available on the retail market.
Sometimes bad things happen to good art. Mam|fa can arrange for the restoration of damaged works. Over the years dirt or smoke can accumulate on pictures, making them lose visible detail. A simple cleaning can restore the lost detail, brighten colors and increase the attractiveness of a work, but the wrong restorer can cause irreparable harm. Over the years mam|fa has formed relationships with highly skilled conservators of paintings, drawings, sculpture and prints and we will be happy to direct you to them, so that your valued art is preserved for future generations.
Mam|fa has traditionally been an important resource for museum curators planning to acquire or exhibit Latin American art. We have helped museums all around the world locate lost works for exhibitions, since our wide collector contacts have frequently put us in the position of knowing where things are. Collectors can count on our discretion as we never reveal the location of works without first obtaining the owner’s permission.
In some cases we have acted as the lender’s agent with the museum, thus preserving the collector’s privacy while enabling the public to view a work that would otherwise have remained hidden away in a private collection. We are frequently called upon to negotiate the terms of loans with collectors, provide insurance appraisals for works being lent by collectors to museums, and for works going from one museum to another. In several cases we have provided insurance valuations for entire exhibitions.
Since the founding of mam|fa, Mary-Anne Martin has acted as the special advisor to a number of prestigious shows, among them Diego Rivera, the Cubist Years, at the Phoenix Art Museum and IBM Gallery, NY in 1984, the Diego Rivera Retrospective traveling show organized in 1985 by the Detroit Institute of Arts, the 1988 Tamayo exhibition organized by the Reina Sofía Museum in Madrid, the Frida Kahlo traveling exhibition held in Tokyo by Seibu in 1989, Mexico, Splendors of Thirty Centuries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1990, Mexican Renaissance (Rivera, Orozco, Siqueiros) at Nagoya City (Japan) Art Museum in 1989 and the Rufino Tamayo Retrospective organized by Nagoya in 1993, the Leonora Carrington exhibition for 1997 and 1998 by the Tokyo Shimbun newspaper organization and the Frida Kahlo retrospective exhibitions at the Tate Modern, London, the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis and the Martin Gropius Bau in Berlin. More recently, mam|fa consulted for Paint the Revolution: Mexican Modernism, 1910 – 1950 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.