When The Old Print Shop first opened its doors in 1898, it was located on Fourth Avenue between 9th and 10th Streets, behind Wanamaker’s. In 1925, it moved to its current location on Lexington Avenue and in 1928, Harry Shaw Newman, who had been a patron of the shop, bought it from the original owner’s widow. Three generations later, The Old Print Shop is still a family run business specializing in American graphic arts, antiquarian maps, atlases, and artist books (livres d’artist).
Here you will find one of the largest inventories of American fine art prints dating from 1900-1950. They also have an extensive inventory of American historical prints by the likes of Currier & Ives and John James Audubon, American town views and maps published before 1850. Kenneth Schuyler was kind enough to take us through the building and along the way, shared some of their collection and wonderful stories from his many years with the shop. “You never know what will come through those doors,” he says.
In addition, they have two gallery spaces–one on each floor–with regular exhibits by well-known artists. Currently, the Richard Haas exhibit is up. Best known for his mural work (including the exterior wall of The Fontainebleau on Miami Beach painted by Haas in 1985), Haas is a prolific painter. When the New York Historical Society reopened in 2011, the 77th Street Rotunda hung four panels depicting a 360-degree view of the New York City’s skyline, which had been on displayed in the employee dining room of the Philip Morris headquarters since 1982.
In this exhibit we viewed a full-range of his work of New York cityscapes in every medium including two of his three dimensional dioramas. His career has taken him from the small diorama boxes that he created in the mid 1960s to the New York street views and on to full-scale murals, including one for the main branch of the New York Public Library.
Included in this exhibit are two of Haas’ three dimensional dioramas. One of Broome Street and one of Green Street. Our photos were taken a foot away from the box, looking in.
He authored two books, both on display during this exhibit: The City is My Canvas (2001) and The Prints of Richard Haas: A Catalogue Raisonne 1970-2004 (2005). The book below is open to a page showing his 1975 outdoor mural covering the bare brick wall of 112 Prince Street. Using paint, he mimicked a cast-iron facade. You can see the original bare wall on the top of the page on the left and below it, a partially completed trompe-l’Oeil.
The current exhibit, New York City As Art will be up through March 21. Mr. Haas is also exhibiting at The National Academy Museum located at 1083 Fifth Avenue in ‘Curatorial Lab: Revealing Architecture’ through May 3rd.
Keep an eye on The Old Print Shop website for opening receptions and exhibits. They also host receptions for groups interested in historical prints and printmaking. Open Tuesday through Saturday, they are easy to reach on Lexington Avenue between 29th and 30th Streets.
Contact the author at AFineLyne