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O'Brien Galleries

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role Dealer/Gallery
dates 1855-1970
city Chicago
stateIL
other citiesScottsdale, AZ;
gender n/a
historical notes Art gallery; Chicago, Ill. and Scottsdale, Az. Chicago's first art gallery and one of the oldest family owned and operated gallery in the United States.

It opened in 1855 as a frame shop, offering a variety of services to both artists and collectors. It was called by several names, including O'Brien's Art Emporium, O'Brien Art Galleries, O'Brien Galleries, House of O'Brien, and M. O'Brien & Sons. The gallery remained in Chicago until 1941, closed during the war, and resumed operation in Scottsdale, Arizona in the 1950s.


Three generations of O'Briens (Martin, William, and William Jr.) ran the gallery before it moved to Arizona; all were committed to bringing culture and the visual arts to Chicago.

O'Brien's Art Emporium was a vital factor in shaping art collections and attitudes in the city; it supported and sold work by conservative, academic painters, developing and reflecting the taste of the majority of Chicagoans.

decades
of activity
1850-1860
1860-1870
1870-1880
1880-1890
1890-1900
1900-1910
1910-1920
1920-1930
1930-1940
1940-1950
updated 08/07/2018 05:30
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Archive Location Collection Title Links
Archives of American Art O'Brien Galleries records, 1811-1970. see details...
Archives of American Art Benjamin K. Smith papers relating to O'Brien Galleries, 1912-1941. see details...