Mercantile’s upcoming print fair showcases ‘the power of paper’

by | Apr 14, 2015

“Lepidoptera,” Plate XXIII from Natural History of the Insects of China by E. Donovan, 1838, is just one example of the art visitors may find at the fair.

The ninth annual St. Louis Fine Print, Rare Book and Paper Arts Fair at the University of Missouri–St. Louis is attracting dealers from coast to coast as well as local attention.


“Lepidoptera,” Plate XXIII from Natural History of the Insects of China by E. Donovan, 1838, is just one example of the art visitors may find at the fair. (From the Collection of the St. Louis Mercantile Library at UMSL)

In a piece titled “The Power of Paper: The Mercantile Library of UMSL,” readers of the regional magazine Town & Style got an early peek at the three-day event, set for May 1 to 3 and presented by the St. Louis Mercantile Library.

“We’re being approached by dealers from around the country who have heard about our fair and want to be a part of it,” Julie Dunn-Morton, curator of the Mercantile’s fine art collections, told Town & Style. “We’re on the cultural radar now, and it’s a really fun event.”

Organizers anticipate an enthusiastic crowd of up to 1,000 art, rare-book and ephemera collectors at this year’s fair, Dunn-Morton said. Wares will range widely, featuring everything from paintings and historical photographs to contemporary illustrations and handcrafted boxes.

Among the returning national dealers are New York’s Susan Teller Gallery, featuring American art of the 1930s and ’40s, and The Old Print Shop specializing in 19th-century prints and maps. Kiechel Fine Art from Nebraska features 20th-century regional art, especially the work of Thomas Hart Benton; Stevens Fine Art from Arizona offers 19th- and 20th-century American art; and the Philadelphia Print Shop’s two locations in Pennsylvania and Colorado include 18th- and 19th-century prints and maps.

Prominent local dealers are regulars at the fair, including Anthony Garnett with his antiquarian, first-edition and international book titles; Judith Haudrich Antique Prints specializing in 17th- to 19th-century botanical and historical subjects; Kodner Gallery featuring 19th- and 20th-century paintings and prints; and McCaughen & Burr specializing in paintings and prints by regional and Missouri artists.

Barbara Martin Smith Watercolors of St. Louis and Murray Hudson Antiquarian Books, Maps, Prints & Globes from Tennessee will be returning for a second year, while new dealers include Two Ponds Press, a fine press located in Maine, and Aaron Galleries, featuring the work of 19th- and 20th-century regional and Ste. Genevieve, Mo., artists.

One of this year’s highlights will be a two-hour appraisal event for prints, paintings and maps. Sponsored by Leslie-Hindman Auctioneers, the appraisal is free with fair admission, but visitors are required to pre-register (314-516-7248) to secure a timeslot.

Proceeds from the fair benefit the Mercantile Library collections acquisition and conservation funds. The event is held in the nearby J. C. Penney Building/Conference Center on UMSL’s North Campus. Visit or call 314-516-6740 for tickets and more information.

The UMSL Experience

Evie Hemphill

Evie Hemphill