Hammer Galleries today continues its tradition of building treasured collections for individuals, corporations and museums worldwide. This tradition dates back to its founding in 1928 by philanthropist and industrialist Dr. Armand Hammer. The gallery rose quickly to prominence, when in the early 1930s it was the first in the west to exhibit the world famous Imperial Easter Eggs by celebrated court jeweler Karl Fabergé. This world-class exhibit heightened interest and recognition of the Hammer Galleries throughout the world.
After beginning with a skillful focus on Russian icons, brocades, imperial porcelains, and rare and new art objects, the Gallery found itself sought after for such endeavors 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 has been noted for staging a series of extraordinary exhibits, from bringing to the United States the greatest Mexican art collection at it’s time ever to travel, to the revered work of American Folk Artist Grandma Moses. In the 1960’s, the art world began a major shift in artistic tastes. The focus of Hammer Galleries shifted too, to late 19th and early 20th century European and American Masters.
The Gallery moved into its present home in 1980, a restored, turn of the century townhouse at 33 West 57th Street. Numerous exhibitions of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and Academic European Masters followed, as did exhibits of 19th and 20th Century American Master paintings and sculptures. Represented are artists such as Renoir, Picasso, Chagall, Chase, Wyeth, Cassatt, Hassam, and Sargent. The gallery also represents a strong international stable of contemporary artists, from impressionism to realism.
Recent exhibitions have included an exemplary collection of works on paper by the 20th Century masters Chagall, Matisse, Miro and Picasso and a special exhibition of paintings by the American Regionalist, Thomas Hart Benton in 2004; a retrospective exhibition on the paintings of the Post Impressionist Henri Martin in 2005 in association with Anderson Galleries, L.A., including the publication of a major new monograph on the artist’s work; and in 2006 a presentation of “Picasso: Unique Ceramics”, based on the collection of over 40 one-of-a-kind ceramics acquired by the gallery from the estate of Jacqueline Picasso, the artist’s second wife, and carefully supplemented in recent years. Picasso created these remarkable ceramics at Vallauris, France between 1947 and 1968.
For over 75 years, Hammer Galleries has provided its patrons extensive choices and exceptional opportunities for collecting works from among the world’s finest artists. Hammer also provides expertise in acquiring and selling art, authentication, appraisals and restoration in addition to undertaking installations and framing of rare art. After three-quarters of a century, Hammer Galleries continues to proudly serve the museums, corporations and individuals who have placed their trust in our abilities and experience. Our tradition continues.