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A. E. Gallatin


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American collector, writer on art, and painter, born into a wealthy family. His earliest collecting interests were in Aubrey Beardsley and Whistler, but in the 1920s he began buying more recent works, stimulated by his frequent visits to Europe, especially Paris. He was dismayed by the dispersal of John Quinn's collection in 1926, and in 1927 he installed his own collection as a small, informal museum at New York University, where it remained until 1943 (when it was closed because of the war). It was entitled the Gallery of Living Art (renamed the Museum of Living Art in 1936) and was America's first museum devoted exclusively to contemporary art. Artists represented included Arp, Delaunay, Hélion (who acted as Gallatin's adviser), Léger, Miró, Mondrian, and Picasso. Gallatin himself was an abstract painter, and his museum was an important stimulus for his fellow members of American Abstract Artists. After its closure in New York, he presented most of his collection to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and he encouraged the Arensbergs to do likewise. Gallatin wrote a good deal on art, including books, articles, and exhibition catalogues on Braque, Demuth, Ricketts, and Whistler.

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