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Welcome to Spaightwood Galleries, Inc.

120 Main Street, Upton MA 01568-6193

For more information or to purchase, please call 1-800-809-3343 or email us at spaightwood@gmail.com

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Last updated: 1/25/2017
Home / Gallery Tour 1 / Specials / Gallery Tour 2 / Artists

120 Main Street Upton MA 01568-6193

for questions, e-mail us at spaightwood@gmail.com or call 1-800-809-3343 (508-529-2511 in Upton & vicinity)
From the Madison (WI) Capital Times, 31 December, 2003
The Best Arts &Entertainment of '03
"A Lifetime Achievement Award goes to Andrew and Sonja Weiner of Spaightwood Galleries, which will close early in 2004 and relocate to Massachusetts. The galleries currently have a superb Marc Chagall show and will follow with a Miró exhibit and a 'Best of Spaightwood' before closing [in November 2004]. Since 1980, the Weiners have cultivated Madison to the riches of modernist printmaking and art in ways that were always inviting, illuminating, and inspiring. They will be greatly missed" (Kevin Lynch, arts critic, The Capital Times)
Wisconsin Week (University of Wisconsin–Madison campus news and features), March 17, 1999
Barbara Wolff
An indirect but critical connection exists between Madison’s Spaightwood Galleries and the last cigarettes Andrew and Sonja Weiner ever smoked. "We had been three-pack-a-day smokers, and even then, six packs came to quite a piece of change. When we decided to quit, we thought we'd put the money we would have spent on cigarettes toward something we really wanted," says Andrew, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of English.

Those somethings turned out to be art. The first pieces they bought were old masters Lucas van Leyden, Rembrandt, Hans Sebald Beham, Hendrik Goltzius and Weiner's favorite, Albert Durer. Weiner knows the period well—literature from the 16th and 17th centuries is his academic specialty. Dealing as he does with the world of ideas, he has been one of the pioneers in interdisciplinary scholarship at UW-Madison. His work with the gallery has heightened his awareness of how both images and ideas evolve, reinforce and effect each other, between disciplines and across time.

For example, "when Sonja and I were researching Renaissance art, we also saw some 20th century work that appealed to us, and we were struck by the connections between the two periods that spanned hundreds of years," he says.

For instance? "Renaissance writers and artists began to one-up each other in a quest for individual style," he says. "Each wants to be recognized immediately by his own voice or artistic style."

Sound familiar? Weiner traces the striving for unique voice to our own time, starting with the modernists. "Twentieth-century modernists like T. S. Eliot, Yeats and Ezra Pound tried to make everything new again, and in their own image," he says, as did the artists of the period: Picasso, Matisse and Kandinsky, all with pieces at Spaightwood. In fact, the Weiners' treasury numbers more than 8,000 pieces ("We always tend to buy a few more than we sell," he admits). In addition to the aforementioned artists, Miró; Chagall; Picasso; Motherwell; German expressionists such as Kathe Kollwitz, Lovis Corinth, Max Pechstein and Erich Heckel; and many more are represented in the Spaightwood collection.

At the moment [March 1999], the Weiners are exploring the way art was used as an instrument of political expression. At press time, Spaightwood is poised to open mid-month a show dedicated to the art of COBRA—Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam. Weiner says that the end of the Nazi occupation in those places was a signal for artists to burst free of previous modernist protocols, a very modernist notion.

Weiner has developed a record of fostering connections on campus as well as in his gallery. For example, when he and UW-Madison Law School colleague Leonard Kaplan founded the Law and Humanities Project in 1996, they resolved to welcome contributions by as many academic disciplines as possible. The project's monograph series, Graven Images: Studies in Culture, Law, and the Sacred, is a forum for scholars of literature, law, history, art history, history of science, religious studies and other fields.

Weiner says he cannot help but bring his preferred interdisciplinary approach to his classes, this semester two undergraduate courses on Shakespeare and Milton, and a graduate seminar on Renaissance literature. He says making connections is at the very heart of his idea of education.

"It's precisely by making connections that you learn, and it's something you have to do for yourself, on your own, by trying things out and seeing what works and what doesn't," he says, echoing the sentiments of modernist E. M. Forster.
Andrew D. Weiner did his undergraduate work at the City College of the City University from 1961 to 1966 and his PhD at Princeton University from 1966 to 1969. He joined the University of Wisconsin–Madison faculty in 1969 and taught there until his retirement in May 2004. He was also an Affiliated Professor of Law at the University of Wisconsin Law School. Weiner is the author of Sir Philip Sidney and the Poetics of Protestantism (U. Minnesota Press, 1978) and over twenty articles on Erasmus, More, Sidney, Spenser, Shakespeare, Fulke Greville, Giordano Bruno, and Milton. He was one of the founding editors (with Leonard V. Kaplan, UW Law School) of the monograph series, Graven Images: Studies in Culture, Law, and the Sacred and co-editor of five volumes in that series,
Graven Images 1 (October 1994). 242 pages. Co-Editor (with Leonard V. Kaplan) and contributor
Graven Images 2: The Body (October 1995). 272 pages.Co-Editor (with Leonard V. Kaplan) and contributor.
Madness, Melancholy and the Limits of the Self: Studies in Culture, Law, and the Sacred (Graven Images 3). Madison: University of Wisconsin Law School, 1996. 283 pp. Co-editor (with Leonard V. Kaplan) and contributor.
Transgression, Punishment, Responsibility, Forgiveness: Studies in Culture, Law, and the Sacred (Graven Images 4). Madison: University of Wisconsin Law School, 1998. 284 pp. Co-editor (with Leonard V. Kaplan) and contributor.
On Interpretation: Studies in Culture, Law, and the Sacred (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2002). 289 pages. Co-editor (with Leonard V. Kaplan) and contributor.
He is currently working on books on Sidney, Spenser, and Shakespeare; he is also planning a book tentatively titled, "Chick Flicks and Prick Flicks: You are what you see," an exploration of the sources of romantic comedies in Shakespeare's romantic comedy, action flicks in Senecan Theatre of Blood, and the Gender Gap in Politics. His thesis is that artistic works embody ethical, moral, political, cultural, and religious values and that at least to some extent we embody what we consume.

Sonja Hansard-Weiner received her BA from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, her MA at the University of Texas-El Paso, and her MFA in Poetry from the University of New Orleans. She was a Teaching Assistant at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for four years, completing all of the coursework for a PhD in Renaissance Studies. She taught at Madison Area Technical College for 26 years, ending her stint as Lead Teacher (Chair) of the English Department. She inaugurated a course in Women in the Arts and received a Lifetime Award for her contributions to the Creative Writing Program at M.A.T.C. She has been Associate Editor of Graven Images since 1994 and has published articles on Lucrece and Shakespearean theatre as well as several poems.
Spaightwood's special, and will be missed
By Jacob Stockinger
September 28, 2004
This story is not just about a local art gallery moving away.

I have looked at and admired most of the art galleries in the city and surrounding area, and have bought works from many of them. But Spaightwood Galleries holds a special place in my affection because it was the first Madison gallery to really educate me about art. Not by chance are the owners Andy and Sonja Weiner both award-winning teachers. Andy retired last year as a professor of Renaissance English literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Sonja retired from teaching writing, literature and women's studies at Madison Area Technical College.

Much of what has made the Weiners successful dealers and friends to many over the past 24 years, since they opened their gallery in their historic near east side home at 1150 Spaight St., is their willingness - indeed, their eagerness - to educate and be educated. They are patient and generous people who are eager to please and illuminate. To frequent their gallery - it carries Old Masters and American Pop-Op but specializes in modern and contemporary European art - is to come to understand the difference between Cubism and Surrealism, between French Impressionism and German Expressionism. As they get ready to leave, they are also offering 25 percent off works by Claude Garache, bought from a Paris gallery that went out of business, and 10 percent off their colorful and folkloric 1956 Bible etchings and lithographs by Marc Chagall as a thank you to Madison.

After numerous construction delays in converting a former Unitarian church into an art gallery, the Weiners expect to leave by early November and move to the new gallery in Upton, Mass. It will bring them closer to family and mark a transition to being full-time art dealers with a business thriving on the Web.
I visited them recently with the idea of taking some last looks at what they are calling "The Last Picture Show" (sort of a changing "best hits" anthology with about 150 works on the walls) of their favorite works and favorite artists. I wanted to glean a few last lessons about collecting and appreciating art, and I was not disappointed. Here is some of what I found:

You started in 1980 with an inventory of about 100 pieces and now have about 9,000, which suggests a certain success. What would you like people to know about art?
ANDY: We've tried to show that art is much more affordable than most people think. Anybody can buy a Chagall or a Miro or a Picasso.
For you, what is the role of art?
SONJA: It enriches our lives and the world. It offers us something outside ourselves to respond to with our imagination and our thoughts.
A sense of aesthetics is undervalued in today's culture and is so often replaced with a sense of entertainment. But entertainment dulls the senses while aesthetic pleasure enhances them. And that is absolutely essential to living as a full human being.
People think art is hard, but it isn't. It's just that people's exposure is just so limited.
ANDY: It's also that a lot of art books are incomprehensible in the way they're written. People have this sense that great art is caused by a sick soul or imagination. Art sweetens our imagination, but bad art can be a bad thing and there's a lot of bad art out there.
Can people make up their own minds about what is good art?
ANDY: Not really, except that you can say that a carrot is a celery stalk. But the more you learn, the more you understand. That's how you learn what good art is.
SONJA: It's like the way children respond to art. You have to begin with your own responses, but then you have to go on to challenge those responses, whether you do that on your own or it's done by people around you.
For me, because I'm a teacher, it always starts from the question rather than the statement. That's how you grow in your appreciation of art. So often art museums take the approach that "This is what you're supposed to see" and then people don't see it and go away feeling dumb.
You've raised four children on art. How would you help people choose which art to look at?
ANDY: C.S. Lewis once said that a book worth reading only once isn't worth reading at all. I would say that a piece of art you can see on the first viewing isn't worth seeing.
I think the most important thing is to look at a lot of art. Everything you look at will change the way you've ever seen art. You see a piece of art, you focus on it and keep coming back to it because there is something about it that you don't understand or that makes you feel you're not sure about the way you feel. And soon it becomes a part of you.
Is there a secret to appreciating art?
SONJA: I think the current political culture depends on advertising and repeating the same thing until you begin to believe it. With art, you have to open up yourself and your imagination to what is different.
ANDY: Some people get it in their head that they like figurative art or landscapes and that's it - they just won't look at anything else.
What advice do you have about buying art?
ANDY: Never buy art for investment. Buy it because you love something. A lot of people fall so in love with their art they never want to sell it. It's more important to buy art for a fair price.
Do artists themselves play a role in how the public accepts or rejects art?
ANDY: An artist who is great or who can make a living from his or her art is an artist who is at peace with themselves. An artist who can't is a person who is constantly being attacked by self-doubt and is at war with themselves and their community.
Any final pieces of advice?
SONJA: Art is relational. Just as when you get to know people and have a deeper sense of that person and then know whether they will get along with another dinner guest, you have a conversation with individual pieces of art that also converse among each other.
Being a part of that environment - and recognizing old or new or different conversations - is what is exciting and enriching about participating in art and having people come into your gallery.
ANDY: Don't be afraid. Don't let bad art drive out the good. Look, look, look.
Joan Gardy Artigas (b. 1938), Homage to Brancusi. Ceramic sculpture, 1983. Size: 280x100x110cm. This work was included in Artigas shows at the Meadows Museum in Dallas (1984) and the Hispanic Institute in NYC (1985). This beautiful sculpture, nearly 10 feet high, is now adjusting to its new home at 120 Main street in Upton MA.

For a visual introduction to our new gallery space, click here and here.
Gallery born here is moving on
Amanda Henry, Wisconsin State Journal
11:46 PM 5/08/04
Their story isn't exactly Shakespearean - there were no shipwrecks or clever disguises - but stars must have crossed somewhere along the line for Andy Weiner and Sonja Hansard, Madison's first couple of literature and art.

Weiner grew up in White Plains, N.Y., haunting the jazz clubs and museums of nearby New York City. If you know the grown-up he became, you can imagine the young man: intense, watchful. He seems like a quiet sort, but the eyes give him away. There is something churning under the surface there - a cascade of thoughts about words, music and pictures that can only be contained so long. He is an absent-minded professor in training.

An ardent reader of fantasy fiction - he had first editions of all the Tolkien novels, until his mother gave them away - Weiner studied his way backward in time, settling in with Spenser's "Faerie Queene" for his Ph.D. In 1969, he was hired as an English professor at UW-Madison.

Hansard was born on a farm outside Wichita Falls, Texas, and got her early education in a two-room schoolhouse. But she had an eye - and ears - for beauty. She dreamed of being an architect, until she hit geometry. In college, she acted in Shakespeare and discovered modern art, working in a gallery in her spare time. Artists like Rene Magritte visited her Houston campus.

In 1972, Hansard arrived at UW for graduate school. She was working on Renaissance literature, one of Weiner's specialties. They met in passing, but both had other things on their mind. Hansard's beloved brother was dying. Weiner's wife had left him with three young children. They needed to talk, but not about Shakespeare.

Enter mutual acquaintance Robert Kimbrough, an English professor, who saw in these two the possibility of a marriage of true minds. He played what Sonja calls "Beatrice and Benedick" games with them, talking one up to the other, and vice versa. They were married Jan. 1, 1974.

"It just sort of took," says Sonja Hansard-Weiner, understating the obvious. There is a trace of Southern softness in her voice, a gentle counterpoint to Andy's East Coast honk.

They hold hands as they tell the story, 30 years later.
The house
Their first home was on Orton Court. It was a tight squeeze - their daughters were sharing a room, with less than peaceful results - and after a few years they started looking for something bigger.

The B.B. Clarke house at 1150 Spaight was vast and grand, the only house of its size in that neighborhood that hadn't been chopped up into apartments. It was also well beyond their price range. Which did not, of course, prevent them from falling in love.

Sonja recalls the look on Andy's face, how she could see the wheels spinning in his brain as he counted square feet. She was bewitched by the winding wooden stairwell. They spent three weeks coming back to look longingly at the 1899 building, knowing full well that houses in the area always fetch their asking price or higher. Then one day, Andy got a call from the owner saying, "make me an offer." There had been another offer on the table, but the would-be buyers made the mistake of listing all the things they didn't like about the house. Feathers ruffled, the owner decided he would rather sell it to the people who loved every old-fashioned nook and cranny of the place. They moved their books to the new house in a red wagon.
The gallery
A year after the move into the house on Spaight Street, Sonja was hired as a professor at MATC and Andy got a research grant to study the connection between the visual art and literature of the Renaissance - imagery and more imagery. Whenever possible, they packed up the kids and traveled the country, going from museum to museum.

Five years into the marriage, Andy and Sonja started planning a summer sabbatical in England, sans kids. It was a research trip that would double as a second honeymoon, since the first had been spent at Disney World with three kids in tow. As it turned out, they would take four children on their second honeymoon. When Sonja discovered she was pregnant, they knew they couldn't bring the baby and leave the other kids at home. The trip for two was now a major expedition. Where some would have scaled back their plans, the Weiners decided to add 10 days in Paris to the itinerary.

In France, they discovered a gallery scene completely unlike the snooty, untouchable New York art world. Passion was the only entree required: You didn't have to be a Rockefeller just to walk through the door. How could they resist buying a piece or two or 20?

Back in Madison, they found themselves the proud owners of a lot of art. This was 1980, and the house had recently been added to the National Register. Their neighbor Whitney Gould, a restoration advocate who at that time was on the City Landmarks board, suggested they show off the house and the art at the same time by turning 1150 Spaight into a gallery. That way they would also be eligible for federal assistance, should they ever need to restore the place. Always eager to share their obsessions, the Weiners said why not? On Thanksgiving weekend, Spaightwood Galleries opened its doors.
The artists
The first show was all Miro.

The breakthrough show was a Miro protégé, Joan Gardy Artigas.

When Andy and Sonja fall for an artist, they fall hard. They bought a lot of Artigas on that first trip to Paris - beginning with a blue woman with a pregnant belly - and just kept adding to the collection. In 1982, Spaightwood Galleries held the first one-person show of Artigas' work in North America. They sold 28 pieces.

On his next trip to the United States, Artigas came to Madison to meet the people who had moved so much of his art. A friendship was founded - that's an Artigas sculpture in the front yard, and there are smaller pieces throughout the house - and the artist came back to Madison for a stint as artist-in-residence at UW.

Through Artigas they met Claude Garache, who led them to Manel Lledos, and on to Gerard Titus-Carmel. Suddenly Andy and Sonja were players in the international art scene, with intimate personal contacts. When they go to Paris, they stay with Garache.

The most expensive piece they ever sold was a Titus-Carmel painting that went for $37,000. When the buyer's new wife decided she didn't like it, they bought it back. It now lists for $70,000.

Not all of the artists they collect are friends of the Weiners - many of them have been dead for centuries. On their Web site (which went online in 2000, expanding the gallery's clientele around the world) there are almost as many Old Masters as there are artists born after 1800. It's not unusual to see names like Rembrandt, Goya and Durer mixed in with the Picassos, Mirós and Matisses in a Spaightwood exhibition. In 24 years, the collection has grown from a few hundred pieces to approximately 9,000 prints, drawings and paintings. They show about 1,000 of those every year.
The future
The art will be the last thing to go.

Andy and Sonja will pack it themselves, along with miles of books, for the drive across the country to Upton, Mass. That's where the new Spaightwood Galleries is currently being fashioned out of an old church with 25-foot ceilings. It is a space that cast a spell on them.

"Last August, we walked into 120 Main St. in Upton, and Andy's eyes got bigger," Sonja recounts. "We looked at one another and it all came back - that that was how it happened before - and we knew that we were hooked. So I'm giving up my staircase for a wooden ceiling, and he's giving up his house for lots of open space."

The move will bring them closer to their children and grandchildren, making life easier for everyone as Andy and Sonja get older. Practicality is only part of the impetus, though. This is another grand lark for the proprietors of Spaightwood Galleries, driven by their passion for art, architecture and each other.

In June, Sonja will be 60 and Andy will be 61. Andy is retiring from UW after 35 years as a professor of English literature. Sonja is saying goodbye to a rich and varied career at MATC, teaching literature, writing and art.

"It's been such a wonderful way to turn that terrifying decade on its head and say 'you're not going to get me!'" says Sonja. "This is kind of a choose-your-own-adventure. It's the first year of the rest of our lives."

The last exhibition at the Madison incarnation of Spaightwood Galleries - a retrospective of sorts called "A Few of Our Favorite Things (And Some New Ones)" - will be on display at least through Aug. 15.

The final moving date is still up in the air. Turning a church built in 1874 into a home and gallery is no small task. Besides, they are still waiting for the right buyer for their historic 3,600-square-foot, eight-bedroom Madison love nest, with optional Artigas sculpture in the front yard.
2008 was notable for us as Spaightwood increasingly became regarded as one of the most accurate and detailed sources on the web for information about not just the art that we sell but the context for the works; we are also becoming a major source for museums, book editors, and authors to get photographs of art works for exhibition catalogs and books. Last year we provided photographs for a large important catalogue published by the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Cezanne's influence (Bonnard’s Bather, a tribute to Cezanne commissioned for an homage to Cezanne published after his death containing works by other artists after works by Cezanne), two photographs of works by Rouault for the Seton Hall University Art Gallery, who also borrowed the works themselves for an exhibition on Georges Rouault to celebrate the 150th anniversary of his birth; six photographs for the Museum of Biblical Art in NY for a Chagall exhibition, and we lent an etching by Guido Reni to the Chelsea Museum of Art. We also sold works to the St. Joseph's College Museum of Art in W. Hartford CT (an important 1896 pointillist color lithograph by Henri-Edmund Cross) and the Gonzaga University Museum of Art (a Frank Stella mixed media work). A textbook publisher used our photograph of one of our Kathe Kollwitz etchings (The Outbreak from The Peasants’ War Series) for a high school text book ("A Community Connection: Explorations in Art") and a Chagall color lithograph depicting Jeremiah was used in a 2008 book on Jewish biblical sages (Rabbi Berel Wein, The Oral Law of Sinai: An Illustrated History of the Mishnah). Following up on the University of Richmond’s purchase of two of our Goya etchings from the first edition of The Disasters of War, a French Journal, Savoirs et clinique: Revue de psychanalyse, used two of our photographs of works from the sixth edition of Goya’s Caprichos, Sopla (Blow)and El Sueno de la Razon (The sleep of reason produces monsters), in an issue devoted to Le corps à la mode ou les images du corps dans la psychananlyse (plates III and V, following page 56, n. 10, March 2009). Our show on Images of Women in Old Master Prints and Drawings / Images by Women in Old Master Prints was the subject of a review article in Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Volume 3 (2008), pages 309-318, sponsored by the Center for Renaissance and Baroque Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park and the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. The article, by Professor Jodi Cranston at Boston University, included photographs of three of the works in the show (2 drawings and an engraving) and discussed the philosophy of our exhibition and the different ways in which such a show might be organized. 

As many of you who have looked extensively at our website have told us, Spaightwood Galleries, Inc. is different from most galleries: my wife and I are both retired academics and expert researchers, we own the building in which we live and in which we show our art, and we have an inventory of over 10,000 works of art. We don't show works because we can get them on consignment; we show works because we loved them enough to buy them and because we want to share them in the gallery and on our website with people interested in art with varying backgrounds and at various stages in familiarity with art from the late 15th century to the present. During my thirty-five years at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, I not only directed PhD dissertations in the English Renaissance and served as a reader on dissertation committees of students working with my colleagues, I also served as an outside reader on dissertations in Renaissance history and in Art History. My own work has always been interdisciplinary and approaches literature through the political, intellectual, theological, and social contexts of the writers and their intended audiences. In pursuit of these interests I also helped revive the Renaissance Studies Group at the UW and chaired it for several years in the early 1970s. In the 1990s, I was part of a group involved in creating a monograph series published by the UW Law School (first 4 issues) and the UW Press (final issue) devoted to Studies in Culture, Law, and the Sacred, and I was one of the founding co-editors of the monograph series (Sonja served as the Associate Editor of the series). Before assuming her role as President of Spaightwood Galleries, Inc., Sonja taught in the English Department at Madison Area Technical College, including classes in Women in the Arts (with a special interest in the art of Kathe Kollwitz and in works by Women Surrealists, especially Frida Kahlo, Leonora Carrington, Remedios Varo, and Leonora Fini). She also taught advanced classes in Creative Writing, especially poetry, many of which used poems about art and artists as examples for exercises and critical studies. She also initiated a series of "Womanshows" at Spaightwood, focusing on the works of women artists and, on two occasions, representations of women in the art of male artists.

Spaightwood Galleries, Inc.

To purchase, call us at 1-800-809-3343 (508-529-2511 in Upton MA & vicinity) or send an email to spaightwood@gmail.com
We accept AmericanExpress, DiscoverCard, MasterCard, and Visa.
We also accept wire transfers and paypal.

For directions and visiting information, please call. We are, of course, always available over the web and by telephone (see above for contact information). Click the following for links to past shows and artists. For a visual tour of the gallery, please click here. For information about Andy Weiner and Sonja Hansard-Weiner, please click here. For a list of special offers currently available, see Specials.

All works are sold with an unconditional guarantee of authenticity (as described in our website listing).

Copyright 2004-2017, Spaightwood Galleries, Inc.

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Visiting hours: Saturday and Sunday noon to 6 pm and other times by arrangement.
Please call to confirm your visit. Browsers and guests are welcome.