Since the early twentieth century, downtown Manhattan, specifically Greenwich Village, was the heart of bohemian life, vibrant intellectual discussion, and the artistic community’s gathering place. Drawing on this vibrant and colorful history, Mercer Contemporary seeks to honor the past pioneering artists and cultivate a dynamic and intellectual artistic dialogue into the future.

Mercer Contemporary is an Art Advisory, Appraisal, and Legacy Planning firm specializing in Fine Art from 1850 to the present day. The firm also has extensive experience in Photographs, Prints and Editions, and 20th Century Design.

Rigorously grounded in historical context and market data, Mercer Contemporary seeks to build and sell collections intelligently and responsibly. Acquisitions aim to hold the viewers’ attention and interest throughout the years. Deaccessions will be placed in the most appropriate and efficient sale venue to maximize returns.

The symbolism behind The Arch:
The [Washington Square Park] arch in the winter of 1916 was the scene of a quaint and unusual revolution. John Sloan and Marcel Duchamp with several of their Bohemian artist friends climbed the narrow staircase through the steel door on the west side. On reaching the top they spread out hot water bags to sit on, opened food and wine, lit Japanese lanterns and blew up red balloons. They read poems, Ćred cap pistols and with a grand shout, John Sloan declared Greenwich Village “a Free Republic, Independent of Uptown.” An anecdote from from “Greenwich Village” by Fred McDarrah, 1963

Anecdote taken from Greenwich Village, Fred McDarrah, 1963


Nicole Bray, Founder of Mercer Contemporary, is a respected and trusted art professional in New York. Nicole completed her Masters of Arts, (Hons) in Art History at Sotheby’s Institute of Art, New York, and her undergraduate degree is in Modern History and Political Science. She has also gained various certificates through Christie’s Education, New York University, and the Appraisers Association of America.

Nicole was awarded the Emerging Curator Fellowship by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation in 2014. In 2016 she was awarded a Curatorial Residency in Mexico by the Curatorial Program for Research. Nicole worked for Phillips Auction House and a distinguished private collector, before starting her business, Mercer Contemporary, which focuses on Art Advisory, Appraisal,
and Legacy Planning. She advises multiple clients on acquiring, selling, managing, and displaying their collections. She specializes in 19th, 20th, and 21st Century Fine Art, and has extensive experience in Prints and Multiples, Photographs, 20th Century Furniture, and southeast Asian and Himalayan art. Nicole is USPAP certified through May 2022 and a member of the American Appraisal Association. She lives in New York with her husband and two children.

Nicole Bray
Art Advisory | Appraisal | Legacy Planning


Kathy Battista is Director Emerita, MA Contemporary Art, Sotheby’s Institute of Art. She is a scholar, educator, and a curator of exhibitions in museums, galleries, and non-profits. Her research is primarily focused on cross generational feminist art, in particular performance and body-oriented practice. Most recently she has curated you pinned me down like a butterfly on a wall, Marie Jacotey for Ballon Rouge at Pablo’s Birthday, The Art of Fashion at Fountain House Gallery

New York, Escape Attempts at Shulamit Nazarian Gallery, Los Angeles, and E.A.T.: Experiments in Art and Technology at the Museum der Moderne, Salzburg, Austria. She has authored numerous books, including: New York New Wave: The Legacy of Feminist Art in Emerging Practice (2019) and Renegotiating the Body: Feminist Art in 1970s London (2012). Battista also co-edited (with NY faculty Bryan Faller) a book on artist estates and foundations, Creative Legacies: Critical Issues in Artist Estates, for Lund Humphries, to be launched Fall 2020.

Dr. Kathy Battista
Legacy Specialist