Jaime Andrade relationship with the Gallery begain in 1991, by Aida Gonzalez, then-director of cultural affairs for the Borough of Queens, in the course of planning our exhibition Ecuador: Arte y Tradición, to which Jaime was a generous lender. That meeting has led to a close and collegial relationship that now spans two decades, during which time I have developed an ever-deepening appreciation for Jaime’s elegant presence, his discerning eye, his generosity, and his profound dedication to art and artists. Queensborough Community College Art Gallery is most pleased to honor Jaime with this exhibition.
Born in 1931 in Otavalo, Ecuador, a city known for its arts and crafts, Jaime Rodrigo Andrade-Vargas was one of eleven children of Teresa Vargas and Alberto Andrade. He attended the Central University in Quito, where in 1958 he received a degree in Education and Social Sciences. Before emigrating to the United States in 1962, he held governmental jobs in Quito and in Bogotá, Colombia. His first job in New York was as a teacher of Spanish grammar at Riverside Church.
In Bogotá, Jaime had met the sculptor Édgar Negret and shared with him his intention to go to the United States. Negret gave him an introduction to his dealer in New York, David Herbert (1920–1995). That meeting would change the course of Jaime’s life, and lead to a friendship that lasted until Herbert’s death in 1995.
In 1963, not long after his arrival in New York, Jaime began working as Herbert’s assistant at the Feigen-Herbert Gallery on East 81st Street. His years of work with Herbert, of whom Frank O’Hara wrote in 1959, “I have the greatest admiration for his enthusiasm, knowledge and judgment in all artistic matters,” constituted a uniquely well-rounded education and apprenticeship in contemporary art. In about 1964, Jaime and Herbert also established together a private gallery in Jaime’s apartment on East 70th Street, where informal exhibitions were presented, with sought after, invitation-only, salon openings. Jaime would later accompany David, briefly, when he became a director at Graham Gallery in 1967, but he went on to work for Lawrence Rubin Gallery (from 1967–71) at the recommendation of John Bernard Myers; and when Rubin became director of Knoedler & Company, Jaime went there with him, beginning as his assistant. After forty years, he is still with Knoedler, where he is now a Senior Associate. His contribution to the gallery has been inestimable, and multi-faceted—many a collector has become a Knoedler client through his skillful ambassadorial efforts, and visitors from around the world make a regular pilgrimage to Knoedler especially to seek him out. In 2004, the gallery honored Jaime’s long career in the arts with a celebration, held in conjunction with the special loan exhibition, Lois Orswell, David Smith, and Friends: Works from the Lois Orswell Collection, Harvard University, an exhibition which came about through Jaime’s initiative. Newly discovered archival information and photographs, from David Herbert’s archive, were included in the exhibition catalogue, which also honored Jaime.
Jaime’s mentor, David Herbert had, as a young man, worked for the legendary dealers Betty Parsons (1951–1953) and Sidney Janis (1952–1959); hence, his connections to both artists and collectors were deep and varied, and included the first generation Abstract Expressionists Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, David Smith, and Clyfford Still, each of whom showed with Parsons and/or Janis while Herbert was there. At Janis, Herbert was known, in particular, as a salesman of New York School artists. It was from Herbert, for instance, that the collector Richard Brown Baker (1912–2002) acquired his two monumental canvases, Pollock’s Arabesque, 1948 and Kline’s Wanamaker Block, 1955, both later given to Yale University Art Gallery.
In his first years as an independent dealer, beginning in 1959, Herbert—in some cases in cooperation with his close colleagues Irving Blum and Walter Hopps in Los Angeles, and Robert Fraser in London—was also a significant force in helping to launch the careers of a number of artists, including Ellsworth Kelly, Louis Nevelson, William Scharf, Leon Polk Smith, Andy Warhol, and Jack Youngerman. Herbert’s clients included Lois Orswell, whose entire collection was bequeathed in 1998 to Harvard University Art Museums, and also Ernst Beyeler, Ben Heller, G. David Thompson, and Richard Brown Baker.
As a collector, Richard Brown Baker remained committed to focusing on living, younger, and less established artists and, from 1964–1998, he came to rely on Jaime, whom he had met through Herbert, not only as a trusted friend, but as his curator, often following Jaime’s leads in locating works for his collection. Baker’s very last acquisition, a work on paper by Michael Heizer, was from Knoedler in February 1998, in consultation with Jaime. Over a period of many years, they were also frequent traveling companions on cultural cruises organized by the Smithsonian Institution and National Geographic Society—the last a trip to Russia in 1997.
It was Jaime’s destiny to be sought out as a companion and assistant by other art world figures, as well, including two whom he met through Herbert: photographer Adelaide de Menil, with whom Jaime traveled on expedition to Alaska and British Columbia in preparation for her 1971 book Out of Silence (with text by William Reid); and the painter William Draper (1912–2003), with whom Jaime also developed a lifelong friendship.1
Along with all the exposure Jaime had during the 1960s, and thereafter, to the mainstream of New York’s art world, it was, interestingly, also through Herbert that he first developed an enduring appreciation for contemporary Latin American art. Through contact with José Gómez-Sicre (1916–1991), Chief of the Visual Arts Unit of the Pan-American Union from 1948–1976, Herbert had become interested in exhibiting Spanish and Latin American artists, including his friend and Jaime’s, the Spaniard, Angel Ponce de Leon (b. 1925); the British-born Mexican, Leonora Carrington (b. 1917); and also Alfonso Ossorio (b. 1916), who, while born in the Philippines, retained strong connections to other Spanish-language artists and collectors. In 1961, Herbert presented a group exhibition, Spanish and Latin-American Artists; included were the Colombians, Édgar Negret (b. 1920) and Eduardo Ramirez (b. 1923); the Chilean, Enrique Castro-Cid (b. 1938); the Mexican, José Luis Cuevas (b. 1934); the Guatemalan, Rodolfo Abularach (b. 1933); and the Dominican, Antonio Toribio (b. 1924). Herbert’s active involvement with the Art Lending Service of The Museum of Modern Art included circulation of works by several of those artists.