The art exhibition opening this week at Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ Davis Gallery in Houghton House comes from works owned by an alumnus. Ed Pollack graduated from Hobart in 1955 with an English and philosophy split major. He pursued a career in the law. One day, he expressed an interest in the pictures hanging on the office wall of one of his colleagues.
“As you may or may not know, if you show the least bit of interest to any art collector, you’re going to hear about it. Long story short, I was invited to dinner at his house with his wife and daughter. I saw the art collection that he had and went home with a little etching from a German artist named Otto Dix. That began my interest in buying art. Previously, I saw art in art galleries, but it never occurred to me that an ordinary person could have art until I visited this guy’s house.”
Pollack spent many years working for the Department of Housing and Urban Development in New York and in Boston. He also entered into antiques businesses with partners in both cities. Books became a special interest along with works on paper. Over 40 years, dealing in art eclipsed dealing in books, which is where Pollack is today. As his interests have evolved, so has the art business. Pollack has owned an art gallery in Portland, Maine.
“I am just in the process now of closing it I want to go back to dealing privately. I sell through my website and I sell at the shows that I exhibit at. In, the world of art galleries today, if you do enough events where wine and cheese is served, people will come."
Which brings us to the collection Pollack is bringing to the Davis Gallery. The exhibition is titled “Audubon to Warhol: Two Centuries of American Art on Paper.” It is divided into sections, topical and chronological, reflecting a variety of art movements. The works are drawn from items that are a part of his business inventory as well as art from Pollack’s own collection. Works that he has purchased from friends and people he admires.
“There need to be enough names that are familiar to people that it doesn’t just look like some guy’s gatherings. But, there also needs to be some things that people may not have heard of and show what the scope of art of this period is. So, yeah, it’s a personal curation and it had factors involved that might not have been the case if this were a museum collection and I were a curator putting on a show.”
“Audubon to Warhol: Two Centuries of American Art on Paper” opens at Davis Gallery Friday with a reception from 6 to 8 and a gallery talk at 6:30. The exhibition continues through April 22nd.