Gallery Lemaire archives digitized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Therese Finette Lemaire and Matthias Lemaire, circa 1970s. Photo courtesy of Finette Lemaire.

Therese Finette Lemaire and Matthias Lemaire, circa 1970s. Photo courtesy of Finette Lemaire.

As my mentor Guy van Rijn always used to say when discussing old archives: “our greatest enemy is the trash bin”. Fortunately, more than ever, people these days realize the value and importance of photographic archives and not that much gets thrown away anymore. I was thus very happy to learn that Jen Larson, Assistant Visual Resource Manager at the Met’s Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas (AAOA), recently digitized approximately 15,000 inventory photographs from the Amsterdam based Gallery Lemaire. This archive spans over 40 years of international, non-Western art-dealing activity from this well-known Dutch gallery. It was founded in 1933 by Matthias Lemaire and since then has been continually run by three generations of the family. The records unfortunately are not accessible online, but are open for research by appointment at the AAOA Visual Resource Archive – you can find more info here.

Matthias Lemaire, circa 1950. Photo courtesy of Finette Lemaire.

Matthias Lemaire, circa 1950. Photo courtesy of Finette Lemaire.