In Pictures: See Highlights of a Show Celebrating the Taste-Making ‘Mad Women’ Who Changed New York Art

The show is on view through October 22, 2022.

Rosalyn Drexler, Cigarette Smoking May Be Hazardous to Your Health (1967). Courtesy the artist and Garth Greenan Gallery.

Before there was Larry Gagosian, David Zwirner, or (ahem) David Nolan, a cohort of trailblazing female gallerists dominated a tony stretch of Madison Avenue in New York City—and have left a tremendous mark on art history.

The current exhibition “Mad Women” at David Nolan Gallery sees curators Damon Brandt and Valentina Branchini spotlight four of these women: Jill Kornblee, Martha Jackson, Eleanore Saidenberg, and Eleanor Ward. The show also revisits the programs they created in the heady 1960s.

The kinds of shows they put on could very well be staged in today and still feel fresh, smart, and astute. Eleanore Saidenberg ruled the roost, securing sole representation of Pablo Picasso in North America beginning in 1955, and showing the likes of Jean Dubuffet and Paul Klee, all while dispensing advice and support to her fellow female dealers on Madison Avenue.

Kornblee’s eponymous gallery, opened in 1961, gave artists Rosalyn Drexler, Alex Hay, Dan Flavin, and Michelangelo Pistoletto inaugural exhibitions. Meanwhile, Eleanor Ward’s Stable Gallery showed Joan Mitchell, Paul Thek, and Andy Warhol. Finally, Martha Jackson, who had “her own brand of personality and magic,” forged lasting bonds with the artists she showed, from John Chamberlain and Lucio Fontana to Bob Thompson and Louise Nevelson.

The members of this Madison Avenue cohort “each possessed that essential talent of a keen and prescient eye working in tandem with an innovative and responsive approach to a business,” write the curators. “Their shared passion and courage, exemplified by the advocacy and connoisseurship reflected in each of their exhibition programs, remain a testament to a tenacity and brilliance that is worthy of closer attention.”


Mad Women: Kornblee, Jackson, Saidenberg, and Ward, Art Dealers on Madison Avenue in the 1960sis on view at David Nolan Gallery through October 22, 2022.

Installation view, "MAD WOMEN" at David Nolan Gallery.

Installation view, “MAD WOMEN” at David Nolan Gallery.

Installation view, "MAD WOMEN" at David Nolan Gallery.

Installation view, “MAD WOMEN” at David Nolan Gallery.

Jean Dubuffet, Personnage Dans un Paysage (1960). Courtesy David Nolan Gallery.

Hans Hofmann, Astral Image No. 1 (1947). Courtesy of the Artist and Kasmin.

Installation view, "MAD WOMEN" at David Nolan Gallery.

Installation view, “MAD WOMEN” at David Nolan Gallery.

Robert Indiana, The American Eat: New York (1962). Courtesy David Nolan Gallery.

John Chamberlain, Untitled (1960s). Courtesy David Nolan Gallery.

Grace Hartigan, Articulations (1968). Courtesy of the Grace Hartigan Estate.

Alex Katz, February (1963). Courtesy Peter Blum Gallery, New York.



More Trending Stories:

Jameson Green Won’t Apologize for His Confrontational Paintings. Collectors Love Him for It

Are You Sitting Down? A Ming Dynasty Chair Just Sold for $16 Million at Sotheby’s Hong Kong—Nearly 10 Times Its Estimate

For Its 30th Anniversary Gala, Robert Wilson’s Fabled Watermill Center Borrowed a Theme from H.G. Wells and Took a ‘Stand’

‘The More You Shut Up, the Better’: Painter Adrian Ghenie on Giving Up Trying to Control His Frankenstein’s Monster of an Art Market

Robot Artist Ai-Da Just Addressed U.K. Parliament About the Future of A.I. and ‘Terrified’ the House of Lords

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.