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Frank K. M. Rehn Galleries

Frank K. M. Rehn Galleries

Contents circa 1924-1981

Collection size: 45 linear feet

Gallery History

The Burchfield Penney Art Center Archives holds a substantial amount of material from the Rehn Gallery of New York City. The Rehn Gallery operated under several names at several locations during its sixty three year run. Frank Knox Morton Rehn (1886-1956), son of the marine painter Frank Knox Morton Rehn (1848-1914), opened the gallery in 1918 after having worked in the New York City Gallery business for a few years. From the very beginning the Gallery would specialize and focus on American art. Rehn and his longtime assistant and eventual successor, John Clancy (1897-1981) would continue with this tradition throughout the Gallery’s existence. The list of artists that the Rehn Gallery represented for their entire careers is a very impressive one.

Points of Interest

The Frank K. M. Rehn Galleries Archives of the Burchfield Penney Art Center is comprised of vintage photographs, business files, correspondence, exhibition publications and other materials that relate to Charles E. Burchfield and his colleagues, such as Edward Hopper and Reginald Marsh. Correspondence between Burchfield and Clancy regarding the work of other artists offer insight to the man’s preferences and the trajectory of 20th century American art. Letters of this type come from more people than just Burchfield; John Carrol, DeWitt Hardy, Hopper, Marsh, Eugene Speicher, Henry Strater and many more influential and successful American artists’ files contain similar material. These files are impeccable records of the history of American art during this time period. The Rehn Galleries Archives contextualize the Burchfield Penney Art Center’s collection and provide a perspective on the emergence of American artists in an international arena during the 20th century.

A rather noticeable theme in the Rehn Gallery Archive is the Gallery’s inclusion and promotion of female artists. Throughout the Gallery’s days many female painters and ceramic artists were represented by the Rehn Gallery which was rare in the early 20th century. Women like Peggy Bacon, Buffalo artist Virginia Cuthbert, Felicia Meyer Marsh, and Elizabeth Sparhawk-Jones were represented in the early to mid 20th century by the gallery. During and after the feminist movement of the late 1960s and beyond in America, the Rehn had another influx of female artists including Jane Armstrong, Isabel Case Borgatta, and Patricia Mangione, among others. To represent an artist is also to promote them; the Rehn was participating in the liberation of women artists throughout the 20th century.

BPAC & Rehn Connection

The Burchfield Penney Art Center was given a large portion of Rehn’s archives due to the relationship between Charles E Burchfield and both Rehn and Clancy. This led to Clancy’s subsequent relationship with Western New York Arts, in particular the Burchfield Center at Buffalo State College, where Clancy received the President’s Distinguished Service Award in 1974 and an honorable diploma. The archive does hold a copy of the letter from the Charles Burchfield Center to John Clancy regarding this award as well as the diploma.

Featured Objects

The previously mentioned diploma; a Rehn Burchfield Exhibit flyer autographed by Burchfield; a photograph taken of the Gallery's artist from 1945; pre-published Edward Hopper Biography; Black and white photograph of Winslow Homer's Early Morning After Storm At Sea; Inventories of the work of Edward Hopper at the Rehn Gallery, Oct. 27, 1953; Christmas greeting cards from the Hopper's to the Clancy's; photograph of John Carroll hunting.