Comenos Fine Arts offers the collector a selection from a wide range of artistic periods and styles while, at the same time, maintaining a high level of ongoing specialization and expertise in the areas which have long been of particular interest to Mr. George Comenos. Located at 9 Newbury Street next to the Ritz Carlton Hotel in the heart of Boston’s high-end shopping and art gallery district, Comenos Fine Arts interacts daily with individuals who stop in with a variety of questions about art, what to collect, and how to go about it.
A large part of the business which Comenos conducts is from this very street’s clientele, which represents many new collectors either from the Boston area or visiting the city from anywhere in the country or the world. Some may have seen one of the gallery’s drawings or small paintings in the lovely glass case which the gallery keeps in the Ritz Carlton Hotel lobby. Others may have seen an advertisement for the gallery in an art magazine or recent newsletter. They may have come recommended by friends, by word of mouth, or have just looked up while strolling down Newbury Street and seen the paintings in the gallery’s large glass windows. The Comenos staff finds it equally exciting to exchange thoughts with novices, as it does fulfilling the requests which continually come in (usually via telephone) from the many institutions, experienced collectors, and other art dealers with which the gallery does business.
George L. Comenos has been in business for some twenty years. He ran his own art gallery in Salem, Massachusetts from 1977 to 1984 and subsequently directed the Art and Antiques Department at Paine’s Furniture Company for 11 years. When Paine’s — the oldest retail business run by the same owner in Boston — moved to the city’s outskirts in 1992, George moved to his present location on Newbury Street. He is insistent at providing for his customers what he proudly refers to as “full service”. This includes all the necessary research, biographical information, photography and photographic comparatives, catalogue entries, provenance and exhibition histories, expert analysis, and any other service which might be appropriate. This includes a so-called ‘approval’ period, during which clients are given the opportunity (under the proper financial arrangements) to take home from the gallery works of art in which they are interested and live for a few days with them in situ in their homes. Comenos believes that art, after all, is a first-hand experience.
Currently George is equipped with a flashy new software program which he had personally designed for the gallery. It represents the result of hundreds of hours which he spent with computer programmers conveying to them the intricacies and idiosyncrasies of the art business, and eventually developing and fine-tuning a system which integrates all the elements necessary for effective record keeping and quick access of information. In fact, it is probably the most refined art gallery program in use today. Just recently, the gallery has gone onto the Art Net system as well as establishing its own Web Site on the Internet, the objective always being to cater to clients’ wishes and tastes, and effectively build up long-term business relationships.
Comenos Fine Arts is regarded as one of the leading 19th century American paintings galleries in New England. The primary focus of the gallery revolves around The Boston School of Painting, named after the actual art school which was established in association with the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. On July 4th, 1876 (as part of a 100 year celebration of the Declaration of Independence) the school opened its doors and about 80 students attended the first classes. This was a huge signifier that the cause of art in this country had indeed been taken up by its mercantile leaders. For the city of Boston, it paralleled a period of rapid urban and intellectual growth exemplified by the Herculean project of filling in the Back Bay and creating the fashionable residential quarter which rival those of Beacon Hill. Trinity Church, the New Old South Church, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Public Library were all constructed during this period. These buildings are now as much a part of one’s visual identification of Boston as is the State House itself, once referred to by Oliver Wendell Holmes as “the hub of the Solar System”.
Comenos’adherence to its city’s rich art heritage is evident the second one enters the gallery. The Boston School is still very much alive at Comenos, with ongoing exhibitions of works by the many artist who participate in the school, particularly between the years 1870 and 1930. Landscapes by J.J. Enneking and J. Appleton Brown and portraits by Ellen Day Hale and Isaac Caliga hang on the gallery’s sliding panels. A handsome, early drawing by John Singer Sargent (one of the latest arrivals) is reflective of Boston’s and America’s continued admiration for this great artist, deemed one of the greatest this country has ever produced. Out of the Boston School came Mr. Comenos’ continued focus on American women artists, currently represented in the gallery with works by Jane Peterson, Theresa Bernstein, Anna Tomlinson, Laura Coombs Hills, Anna Elizabeth Klumpke and Johanna Hailman, to mention a few. Also available is a large inventory of work by a myriad of American Impressionists, many of whom studied with their French counterparts, as John Ireland Downes and William Samuel Horton worked alongside Claude Monet in Giverny. In fact, the gallery reminds us that it was in Boston in 1883, that America was introduced to French Impressionism.
Mr. Niccolo Brooker, who directs the gallery, recently organized and curated One Hundred Years of French Master Drawings: 1850-1950 — an exibition which proved to be very successful on several levels. After an opening night reception in late April during which some two hundred and fifty people showed up, the show remained on view at the gallery for over a month before traveling out to the Mid West where it was displayed at two locations in Chicago. Niccolo Brooker comes to Comenos Fine Arts with five years of experience from Christie’s New York in European Impressionist and Modern Art, before which he studied Italian Renaissance art during his undergraduate years Princeton and The University of Bologna, Italy.
The scope of One Hundred Years… was vast, encompassing many of the new schools, techniques and “isms” which appeared in dizzying succession during this time frame. As drawings often do, the over 100 exhibited provided a more personal, intimate connection with each of the artists’ unique sensibilities. Accompanied by extensive essays and bibliographies, the styles included the works of Paris Salon artists such a Louis Boulanger and Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, the Barbizon work of Charles Daubigny and Rosa Bonheur, the early Impressionists Eugene Boudin and Jean-Barthold Jongkind as well as Mary Cassatt, Edgar Degas and Camille Pissarro, the Post-Impressionists Toulouse-Lautrec and Edouard Vuillard, as well as the Pointillists Paul Signac and Hippolyte Petitjean. In the 20th century, Fauvism was addressed with examples by Raoul Dufy, Albert Marquet, and Andre Derain, Cubism with Fernand Leger and Alexander Archipenko, and the School of Paris with, amongst other, Dunoyer de Segonzac. Comenos Fine Arts intends to continue to curate similar such shows.
From Old Master artists of the 17th century to American Modernism of the 1940s, the gallery offers one of the most eclectic inventories in New England. The gallery staff invites you to call for more information or, best of all, to stop by and visit with them.
Monets Legacy lives on in the works of his student William S. Horton. Fifty pastels and ten oil paintings inspired by Monet form the basis of the ongoing exhibition.
Click here to see some of the work of William S. Horton.
Past Exhibitions Include:
Painters of the Boston School: 1870-1930.
One hundred years of French Master Drawings: 1850-1950
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