There are two impulses in me – one towards riotous sensuality, the other toward order and restraint.

Solomon Ethe


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 offer a selection of these works from the estates acquired by the gallery including those of Dora Maar, Solomon Ethe, Vaclav Vytlacil, John F. Carlson, Joseph Amar, James and Myron Lechay, Martha Walter, Mercedes Matter, Lamar Briggs, Sumiye Okoshi and Robert Emmett Owen.

Solomon Ethe

A native New Yorker born in 1922, Solomon Ethe graduated from Columbia University with a masters in Business Administration and went on to have a 15 year career as a key statistician at the Econometric Institute and later at the chemical company, W.R. Grace. During this time, he began to frequent the galleries throughout the city, developing a deep appreciation for modern art, specifically the works of Paul Klee, PIet Mondrain, Joseph Cornell, Joan Miro, Francis Picabia, František Kupka, and Kazimir Malevich. Ethe slowly built his own collection of those artists and used the material as his inspiration as he quietly taught himself to create his own compositions in the evenings after he had finished at his office. He continued his covert education until 1959 when he finally made the decision to quit his job in economics and devote himself full-time to his art.

Within a year, Ethe opened his own gallery in the Flatiron district and became deeply interested in mysticism and spiritualism, exploring the idea of subconscious creation and eschewance of the ego. His works were completely devoid of any material reference and instead, allowed spontaneous creation and a fluid interaction with the canvas. Looking at the art of Solomon Ethe, one feels transported to another realm. His bright yet ethereal color fields and free-form yet contained abstraction reveals the influences of those early inspirations including the geometric work of Mondrian and the colorfields of Miro in style that is metaphysical and uniquely his own.

Throughout his career, Ethe exhibited in many solo and group exhibitions, including at the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Gallery of Modern Art at 2 Columbus Circle (now the Museum of Arts & Design) and Marilyn Pearl Gallery. In 2014, one of Ethe’s canvases, Concatenation, was featured on the cover of the book “Dislocated Memories: Jews, Music, and Postwar German Culture,” published by Oxford University Press. He passed away March 29, 2019.

Auction Results Solomon Ethe