Susan Schwalb: Metalpoint Paintings

15 Jan 2017 – 14 May 2017

Regular hours

10:30 – 16:30
10:30 – 16:30
10:30 – 16:30
10:30 – 16:30
10:30 – 16:30

Cost of entry


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Travel Information

  • Bx7, Bx10, BxM1, BxM2 to W. 261 St/Riverdale Ave stop. Walk west on W. 261st St. toward the Hudson River. HHAR gate is on Palisade Ave on the right.
  • 1 train to 231st St. stop or A train to 207th St. stop. Transfer to local bus Bx7 (available at both subway stops points) to W. 261 St/Riverdale Ave. Walk west on W. 261st St. toward the Hudson River. HHAR gate is on Palisade Ave on the right.
  • MetroNorth Railroad Hudson Line to Riverdale stop. Half-mile walk up Palisade Ave.
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The exhibition includes 15 paintings executed in metalpoint and colored gesso by Susan Schwalb, who has been working in the centuries-old technique since 1973.


The exhibition includes 15 paintings executed in metalpoint and colored gesso by Susan Schwalb, who has been working in the centuries-old technique since 1973. She began experimenting with silverpoint after encountering the medium unexpectedly via an artist friend and has emerged as one of its foremost masters today.

Historically, the practice of silverpoint, the most common type of metalpoint, dates back to the Middle Ages. Artworks that use this technique are executed with a stylus that creates fine lines when applied to specially coated paper. Once a line is laid down, it cannot be erased or changed. Schwalb uses a variety of metals in her work, including copper, aluminum, gold, platinum, and tin. Working on a prepared surface of paper laid on panel, she draws painstakingly thin lines in different formations.  Schwalb often coats the paper herself, creating a surface which becomes an important part of the work.

Work from three series are included in this exhibition—Harmonizations (2015), Intermezzo (2015–2016), and Polyphony (2013–2016)—each of which derives its title from musical terminology. Schwalb intentionally works in series, drawing inspiration from previous works to create new ones.  For example, Harmonizations is a direct continuation of the spatial and compositional explorations that began in Polyphony, a series focusing on overlapping lines and shapes. Each piece in Harmonizations is both executed on a square picture surface and comprised of 36 individual smaller squares, with a single one left blank. The series explores the idea of the void, or a space intentionally left open and unoccupied. Working in a square format has been paramount to Schwalb’s work since 1997.

About the artist

Susan Schwalb is one of the foremost figures in the revival of the ancient technique of silverpoint drawing in America. She was born in New York City and studied at the High School of Music & Art, and at Carnegie-Mellon University. Schwalb has been in residence at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (2010,’07, ‘92,’73), the MacDowell Colony (1989, ’75,’74), Yaddo (’81) and has had two residencies in Israel in 1994 at Mishkenot Sha’ananim, Jerusalem, and the Tel Aviv Artists’ Studios. She has had over 35 solo exhibitions and has exhibited nationally and internationally. Her work is represented in most major public collections, including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC; The British Museum, London; the Brooklyn Museum, New York; Kupferstichkabinett—Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Germany; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; and The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, England. Currently, two of her prints are included in The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibition Drawings and Prints: Selections from The Met Collection which is on view in The Robert Wood Johnson, Jr. Gallery through January 30, 2017.

About Garvey|Simon, New York

Elizabeth K. Garvey is the co-founder and owner of Garvey|Simon, New York (est. in 2010). Prior to her current role, she was President and Owner of EKG Art Advisory (1999–2009) and Co-Director of Schmidt–Bingham Gallery on 57th Street in New York, where she worked from 1989–1998. Liz runs Garvey|Simon Gallery, a boutique gallery in Chelsea that is focused on drawing, works on paper, unusual materials, and design, while also acting as curator and advisor to select private clients. With over 25 years of experience in the fine art industry in New York, Liz leverages her professional relationships with other galleries, auction houses, private dealers and artists to offer clients a relaxed entry into the often intimidating visage of the New York art world.

About Hebrew Home at Riverdale

As a member of the American Alliance of Museums, Hebrew Home at Riverdale by RiverSpring Health is committed to publicly exhibiting its art collection throughout its 32-acre campus including the Derfner Judaica Museum and a sculpture garden overlooking the Hudson River and Palisades. The Derfner Judaica Museum + The Art Collection provides educational and cultural programming for residents of the Hebrew Home, their families, and the general public from throughout New York City, its surrounding suburbs, and visitors from elsewhere. RiverSpring Health is a nonprofit, non-sectarian geriatric organization serving more than 12,000 older adults in greater New York through its resources and community service programs. Museum hours: Sunday–Thursday, 10:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Art Collection and grounds open daily, 10:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Call 718.581.1596 for holiday hours and to schedule group tours, or for further information, visit our website at http://www.riverspringhealth.org/art


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Emily O'Leary

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Susan Schwalb


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