Historical Note


Albert Eugene Gallatin was born in 1881 in Villanova, Pennsylvania. After a brief study of law, Gallatin, on his twenty-first birthday, inherited the family fortune, which was made through banking and investment, and turned his attention to art. After an initial interest in collecting classical vases, Gallatin focused on modern art. He began buying in Paris after World War I, and by 1921 he was working with some of the city's major art dealers. Gallatin also became an avid collector of works by American artists identified as the Ash Can School. After donating some works to the Brooklyn Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1922, Gallatin decided to open his own gallery that would be devoted to modern art. Using his connection as a trustee for New York University, Gallatin became co-chairmen of the University's Committee of Art Exhibition and opened the Gallery of Living Art, which was located on the main campus at Washington Square. The gallery first exhibited works, on permanent loan from Gallatin, by Picasso, Braque, Gris and Leger. Later shows included works shown publicly for the first time in the U.S. by artists such as Joan Miro, Andre Masson, and Jean Arp. American artists included John Marin, Charles Sheeler and Charles Demuth. One of his most acclaimed purchases, which was also exhibited at the gallery, was Picasso's Three Musicians. The 1936 purchase also coincided with the renaming of the gallery to the Museum of Living Art. Gallatin wrote exhibition catalogs for his museum as well as critical studies of artists such as Whistler, George Braque, John Sloan and Aubrey Beardsley. With the closing of his museum in 1943, Gallatin bequeathed his collection to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He died in 1952.

Works Consulted

Dictionary of art historians, s.v. Gallatin, A. E. 3 Nov. 2006.