The Preeminent Gallery for American Art

For more than fifty years, Spanierman Gallery cultivated a reputation as one of the country’s preeminent galleries dedicated to American Art. Founded by Ira Spanierman in 1961, the gallery initially offered a wide selection of material, including silver, arms and armor, Old Master, European and American art. Over time, Spanierman chose to focus exclusively on American art, a move that would establish the gallery as a tour-de-force in the field. Well-known for his outstanding ‘eye’ and dedication to connoisseurship, Spanierman was trusted by institutions and private collectors alike. The gallery was known to have sold to hundreds of museums across the United States and abroad while fostering the development of some of the country’s most prestigious private collections. 

In addition to its reputation as a dealer, Spanierman Gallery was esteemed in the industry for its dedication and support of art scholarship. As a young man starting off in the business, Ira Spanierman recalled researching and identifying paintings through tedious research at the Frick Art Reference Library. These hours of study left an indelible mark on Spanierman who would go on to publish catalogue raisonnés for artists such as Theodore Robinson, John Henry Twachtman, Willard Metcalf, and co-sponsor the catalogue on the work of Winslow Homer. 

When Spanierman Gallery closed in 2014 an impressive inventory remained. We are pleased to be offering a selection of these works in our upcoming auctions. Paintings and sculpture by artists such as John Haberle, Childe Hassam, Walter Schofield, Ibram Lassaw, Theodoros Stamos, George Segal and Patrick Procter among others, will be offered over two days. The sales also features work from a few of the estates acquired by the gallery, such as: Burgoyne Diller, Gershon Benjamin, Hayley Lever, Charles Warren Eaton, Sears Gallagher and Abraham Bogdanove. 

Richard Hayley Lever 1876–1958

Hayley Lever was born on September 28, 1875 in Bowden Tannery, a suburb of Adelaide, Australia. He was christened Richard, but as a professional artist he used his second and last names only.

Lever attended Adelaide's Prince Alfred College from 1883 to 1891, during which time he received drawing lessons from the marine painter, James Ashton. A turning point in Hayley Lever's artistic evolution occurred in the autumn of 1899, when he sailed to England for further study. He initially went to London, studying the art of both the past and present in the city's galleries and museums.
Hayley Lever made his American debut in 1910, when he exhibited his Port of St. Ives, Cornwall, at the Carnegie International in Pittsburgh by special invitation. He participated in the 1911 annual as well, and was so encouraged by the positive response to his work that he traveled to New York in 1912 and went on to settle there permanently. The timing of his move to America was propitious: Impressionism, the dominant aesthetic of the previous two decades, was on the decline, and the once-shocking urban realism of the Ashcan School had become part of the mainstream. Art audiences were clearly ready for something novel and different and Lever's work met those needs.

In 1915, he made his first visit to Gloucester where he painted harbor scenes and taught painting and sketching classes. Lever would continue to make summer excursions to Gloucester and to other littoral locales in Massachusetts, until the early 1930s. Solo exhibitions at the Syracuse Museum of Fine Arts in 1914—as well as regular participation in exhibitions at the National Academy of Design various galleries in New York—helped secure Lever's high ranking in the American art world.

In 1919, Lever joined the faculty of the Art Students League of New York, where he provided painting instruction until 1931. Around 1930, he moved to Caldwell, New Jersey, but he continued to maintain a New York studio and teach Saturday art classes. In 1938, after losing his home in Caldwell, he moved to Mount Vernon, New York, where he became the director of the Studio Art Club. In 1954, Lever was admitted into Crestview Hall, a nursing home in Mount Vernon. He died at Mount Vernon Hospital on December 6, 1958.

Auction Results Richard Hayley Lever


Richard Hayley Lever

Sheffield Farm, NJ

estimate: $500–700
result: $313

Richard Hayley Lever

Three Graces

estimate: $300–500
result: $260