After my friend Linda Harteker bought one of my pictures from the March exhibition at Washington Printmakers Gallery, she observed that she now owns a number of works by WPG artists. Her remark aroused my curiosity, and I learned that she has nine works by six WPG artists: one each by Jenny Freestone, Pauline Jakobsberg, Norma Pfaff, and Max-Karl Winkler; two by Lee Newman; and three by Ellen Verdon Winkler.
Nor is her art collection limited to works purchased from WPG; she also owns several prints from the annual calendar produced by Washington Area Printmakers, and a number of postcard-sized holiday prints from WPG artists.
Not all of these are recent acquisitions: Ms. Harteker has been a visitor and purchaser at WPG for more than a decade. She began visiting the gallery around 1997, when she attended a reception for Ellen Verdon Winkler’s work at the gallery’s small basement space on R Street NW in DC. Soon thereafter, the gallery moved to its Connecticut Avenue location, and Harteker continued to visit. In the course of those visits, she became familiar with the work of other artists. Because she lived nearby, she even worked briefly, on a substitute basis, at the director’s desk. At heart, however, Harteker is a gardener; after she left WPG, she went on to volunteer at the U.S. Botanical Garden. Recently retired, she’s also a tutor for Reading Partners at an elementary school in her neighborhood.
I asked if the works in her collection have anything in common. “They are all quiet, often near-brooding works,” she replied. “Most have human figures. The sole work to have color is the one by Pauline [Jakobsberg]. They make me happy when I look at them, even in some cases after many years.”