Cox rolls out the art works

Claes Oldenburg’s Soft Saxophone highlights display of works for sale at the April 28 James Cox auction. (Photo by Dion Ogust)

There are a few of the works in James Cox’s latest Collectors Exchange Fine Art Auction, 1 p.m. Sunday, April 28 at the Woodstock Community Center (preview times are listed below) that we’ve seen before: a Fenton, a Kuniyoshi, and several other pieces by Woodstock’s long history of fine painters, printmakers, sculptors and photographers. There are many pieces by other “local” artists from whom we thought we’d seen everything — pieces that are fresh, different from much of what gets shown these days. Definite collectibles, one should say, by Milton Avery and Peter Max, Richard Segalman and Donald Elder, Doris Lee and Tricia Cline.

There are 260 lots up for sale. How can you count the various treasures up for sale from some of our greatest local art collections? 


Want a Matisse drawing? Some Salvador Dalis? I’d never seen such depths to Margery Ryerson’s works, or all that Martin Puryear can do in two dimensions. There are Frankenthalers and Motherwells and several Henry Moore pieces. A Keith Haring. Some rare Ed Chavezes to remind us what a consummate artist he was. Ditto for Milton Glaser and Louise Nevelson.

“We are pleased to offer several works by distinguished Black artists, as well as pieces depicting African American motifs in this year’s sale,” Cox noted of a rare selection. “Historic Woodstock art is always prominently featured in our auctions and this year is no exception. “Plus we are offering several items representing pop culture.”

Among the items are a vintage Rolling Stones poster from their first tour of the U.S., a gorgeous negative print of Malcolm X by master “reframer” Fred Wilson, a Claes Oldenburg, a Harvey Fite sculpture. There are Romare Bearden prints; Weegee, Phillipe Halsman and James Van Der Zee photographs; a Joan Mitchell abstract on paper. 

Everyone we know who attended a special preview of all the works Cox has assembled, held at his gallery in Willow last Saturday with the intermittent rains be damned, said that the usual buzz of exhibition chatter was kept to a minimum as everyone ogled what was on the walls. We then noticed how quickly bids started building for large swaths of what will be on sale come Sunday. 

“A recent discovery. Forty unframed paintings by Robert Van Vorst Sewell (1860-1924) stored in a Woodstock home for approximately 70 years,” noted Cox in an eblast earlier this week. “The first three landscapes of California and Alaska will be offered…100% of the hammer price [for these three pieces] will be donated to the Ulster Community Habitat for Humanity.”

Talk about not only a chance to collect, but see all that Woodstockers have collected in recent years. 

You’ll get to see, and bid on, much that’s been produced here in Woodstock in the company of great works from around the world, as only a veteran gallerist, curator and auctioneer supreme can demonstrate. 

Works will remain up for previewing at the James Cox Gallery, 4666 Route 212 in Willow through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. A preview party will be held at the gallery Friday, April 26, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Previews then shift over to the Mescal Hornbeck Woodstock Community Center on Rock City Road Saturday, April 27, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday morning right up until noon. 

The annual Collectors Exchange Fine Art Auction itself takes place on Sunday, April 28 with a non-nonsense 1 p.m. start time at the Woodstock Community Center, 56 Rock City Road, in Woodstock.