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. 

Francis Hopkinson Smith 1838–1915

Born in Baltimore, Francis Hopkinson Smith began his career as a mechanical engineer. He was also a prominent and highly successful author. He wrote twelve novels, including the semiautobiographical, The Fortunes of Oliver Horn (1902). His non-fiction writing addressed many topics, however, Smith’s main focus was foreign travel and experience.

Smith traveled extensively in Europe, Turkey, and Mexico. He recorded his experiences in his writings and in his art which he made his profession in the early 1870s. Essentially self-taught, he first instructed himself in watercolor becoming a member of the American Watercolor Society in 1871. In the late 1870s, Smith got to know many of the prominent young artists of his day including William Merritt Chase, Winslow Homer, J. Alden Weir, John H. Twachtman, and Augustus Saint-Gaudens as a member of the Tile Club. Initially the group met with the purpose of decorating tiles, but it soon turned to other artistic endeavors.

Working in watercolor, pastel, and oil, Smith depicted the sites that most delighted the nineteenth-century tourist in a refined and realistic style. After the turn-of-the-century, he began to work in an Impressionist style.

An avid promoter of his own work, Smith’s works were acquired by many important collectors including John Jacob Astor, Charles F. Havermeyer, Isabella Stewart Gardner, and William Thompson Walters. His works are included in many important private and public collections including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Mead Art Gallery, Amherst College; the National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.; the Brooklyn Museum; and the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore.

Auction Results Francis Hopkinson Smith