Archives Directory for the History of Collecting in America

Hammer Galleries

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role Dealer/Gallery
dates 1928-
city New York City
gender n/a
historical notes Founded by industrialist and philanthropist, Armand Hammer and his brother Victor (d.1985), in 1928.

In the early 1930s, the gallery rose quickly to prominence when it was the first in the west to exhibit the world famous Russian Imperial Easter Eggs by celebrated court jeweler Karl Fabergé.

After beginning with a skillful focus on Russian icons, brocades, Imperial porcelains and rare art objects, the Gallery found itself sought after for endeavors such as representing the historic and vast art collection of William Randolph Hearst, the largest of its time, and works from the famed collection of J.P. Morgan.

The Gallery was also noted for staging an extraordinary exhibition of Mexican art entitled “12,000 Years of Mexican Art from Pre-Columbian to the Twentieth Century.”

In the 1960’s, the focus of Hammer Galleries shifted to 19th and 20th Century European and American Masters and this remains its primary focus today. In 1980, the gallery nestled into its new home, a restored, turn of the century townhouse at 33 West 57th Street, opening with an exhibition of the revered American Folk Artist Grandma Moses. Numerous exhibitions of Academic, Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and Modern European and American Masters followed. Included in these exhibitions, have been extraordinary works by European artists such as Bouguereau, Corot, Monet, Renoir, Picasso, and Chagall as well as American artists such as Chase, Wyeth, Cassatt, Hassam, and Sargent.

Our tradition of excellence has continued with several extraordinary exhibitions. Of particular note was the special collection of unique ceramics by Pablo Picasso that Hammer Galleries premiered in 1996, and continues to display today. Created in Vallauris between 1948 and 1968, this group of over 40 unique ceramics was acquired directly from the estate of Jacqueline Picasso, the artist’s second wife. In 2004, this collection returned to Vallauris on loan by Hammer to an important exhibition at Le Musée Magnelli.

Also in 2004 the gallery exhibited an exemplary collection of 20th Century masters (Chagall, Matisse, Miro and Picasso) as well as a special exhibition of paintings by the American Regionalist, Thomas Hart Benton.
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updated 02/07/2020 18:20:57
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Archive Location Collection Title Links
Hammer Gallery
33 West 57th Street
Hammer Gallery Records, 1925- see details...
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Please see individual record for location
Robert Lehman papers, ca. 1880s-1977 see details...

see also:
Hammer, Armand, 1898-1990