Signed Raphael Soyer (lower left), inscribed Kelekian (center right). 1 vols. 14 x 9.25 inches. Fine. In frame Item #211707
Kelekian (1868-1951), one of the most important art/antiquites dealers of the modern era. Known to his peers as the "dean of antiquities", Kelekian's connoisseurship of the ancient art of the Near East opened the eyes of many Americans to a heritage hitherto unknown and unappreciated. Kelekian was born in Kayser, in modern-day Turkey, began his career in Constantinople, opened a gallery in Paris in 1891, and moved to New York shortly after the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. Very quickly, Kelekian's gallery developed clients among America's wealthiest families (e.g., the Havermeyers, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., the Astors, the Walters of Baltimore, et. al.) Kelekian ws primarlily responsible for building the Coptic, Early Christian, and Classical collections of Henry Walters (later founder of the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore) and the Gothic collection of financier and Metropolitan Museum of Art president George Blumenthal. Kelekian was equally well known as an early champion of modern art, and began collecting and promoting such artists as Henri Matisse, André Derain, and Pablo Picasso at a very early date. Boisterous, expansive, a friends to many artists, he died in his eighties at his hime in New York with world-wide reputation. (for a sketch of his life and career, see the excellent sketch by Hrag Vartanian for the Armenian General benevolent Fund (http://www.agbu.org/agbunews/display.asp?A_ID=69).
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