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Release: Sept. 1, 2000

Former art dealer Allan Frumkin will be Ida Cordelia Beam speaker

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Allan Frumkin, who was for many years one of the most distinguished and influential art dealers in the United States, will discuss "The History of the Frumkin Gallery" as an Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Iowa, at 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 11, in Room E109 of the UI Art Building.

While visiting the UI campus, Frumkin will also participate in a panel discussion, "Art Dealers and the Museum," at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 12 in the Lasansky Gallery of the UI Museum of Art. Other participants on the panel will be Thomas Aprile, UI professor of art; Michael Stutzer, UI professor of finance; and Pamela Trimpe, curator of painting and sculpture at the museum. The moderator will be author and legal consultant Serena Stier.

Both events will be free and open to the public.

"The role of the art dealer as connoisseur, visionary and astute businessman is a subject not often explored in art or business schools," Aprile commented. "Frumkin is all of these, and his visit offers the public a unique inside perspective into these areas."

"For 40 years Frumkin was a visionary in the art dealing business," he said. "He had the ability to always be on the cutting edge of presenting the best and most interesting artists of the day. Many of the works of art that passed through his hands are now represented in museum collections around the world."

Frumkin graduated from the University of Chicago in 1946 with honors. After traveling to Europe, he returned to Chicago to open his gallery, with the assistance of surrealist painter Sebastian Matta, whom he had met in Italy. Showing Matta, American Joseph Cornell and others, Frumkin was the first art dealer in the Midwest to introduce collectors and artists in the region to Surrealism.

In 1954 Frumkin arranged for Matta to teach at the Art Institute of Chicago for a semester. In that class were artists whose work was later sold through Frumkin’s gallery, and who also went on to teach generations of younger artists that at one time or another have shown in Frumkin’s gallery. Also in 1954, he introduced artists Richard Diebenkorn and Franz Kline to the Chicago area.

With his gallery still thriving in Chicago, Frumkin decided to open a gallery in New York City in 1959. For years, he continued to introduce new artists through the two galleries. In the
mid-1970s he brought a group of young artists from the Bay Area of California to New York, and he held some of the first major realist exhibitions in a major gallery. In 1975 he introduced the Texas sculptor James Surls and exhibited West Coast artist Robert Arneson. In the1980s his New York Gallery presented new Latin American artists.

In 1978 Frumkin was the first dealer in New York to show the late work of Phillip Guston, who was on faculty at the UI School of Art and Art History from 1941 to 1945. Guston, an abstract painter in the 1950s, shocked the art world in the 1970s with paintings of surreal-like images of figures, often with political overtones.

In 1981 Frumkin received an alumni achievement award from the University of Chicago in recognition of his achievement in the art world. He retired from the gallery in 1995 and is now a private dealer in master drawings of the 20th century. Currently he is teaching a gallery management course at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.

Frumkin’s activities at the UI are supported by the Ida Beam Visiting Professor program, which brings distinguished scholars to the UI campus for residencies ranging from a few days to an entire academic year. The program was begun in 1977 with funds provided by the estate of Ida Beam of Vinton.

Frumkin’s visit is the result of collaboration between the UI School of Art and Art History, the UI Museum of Art and the Henry J. Tippie School of Business.

For information on the UI Museum of Art, visit on the World Wide Web. Information is available on other UI arts events at