ASK a man who owns one: André Emmerich, the author of "Abloom With Art" in this issue, about America's sculpture parks, is himself the proprietor of a renowned sculpture park. Top Gallant, as it is called, sprawls across 150 acres, most of which once made up a Quaker dairy farm, in rural New York State. Presenting an ever-changing selection of 100 to 130 works by leading modernist sculptors, Top Gallant is an adjunct to the André Emmerich Gallery, in New York City, which Emmerich has owned and run since 1954, and which has recently entered into an association with Sotheby's.
The sculpture at Top Gallant is--if this is possible--even more lovingly installed than are the works on exhibit in the gallery. Here on the shore of a pond that Emmerich arranged to have dug are four geometric, immensely tall, brightly colored marvels by the California sculptor Fletcher Benton. There at the top of a hill sits Donald Lipski's eleven-foot-high ball of rope with leather fittings, which was featured in the 1991 Whitney Biennial.
In hindsight, it seems unimaginable that Emmerich could have become anything but an art dealer. His aunt and uncle, and before them his granduncle and grandfather, were art dealers in Paris; indeed, his grandfather sold J. P. Morgan much of his art collection, portions of which were ultimately received with gratitude In the 1880s the granduncle and the grandfather decided to have a leading artist paint portraits of their daughters for posterity. They considered commissioning Renoir, but settled on the then-eminent, staunchly respectable Louis Picard instead. Emmerich, who spent much time in the house where the portraits hung, says, "I didn't want to make that mistake. I wanted to know the best art of my time."
And yet his article for The Atlantic Monthly represents the continuation of a second career: in his twenties Emmerich flirted with journalism, working for Time, Life, the New York Herald Tribune, and the French magazine Réalités before returning to his roots. "I consider myself a very lucky man," Emmerich says now. "Being an art dealer is a wonderful combination of a business, a hobby, and a calling, all in one. When I travel, of course I visit the museums and the galleries. And I always run into other art dealers whom I know from other places, doing just what I'm doing. None of us ever want to stop looking at art." --THE EDITORS
The Atlantic Monthly; August 1996; 745 Boylston Street; Volume 278, No. 2; page 6.