Rehs Galleries Inc
Thoughts, comments and observation on the 19th century art market.
My great grandfather, M. Edwin Schillay, or Eddie as everyone called him, was an accountant here in New York City. During the late 1930s / early 1940s one of his clients, an antique dealer, suggested that he would be a great fit in the antique business and should try it out. My great grandfather gave it a go…he began booking trips to Europe, buying groups of paintings in bulk, packing them in 7 x 7 x 10 foot containers (which would hold 400 – 500 paintings), shipped them back to a New York rental space in the Manhattan Storage Warehouse and would sell them upon arrival.
The new business was booming and my great-grandmother Ruth decided the next step was to open a gallery to present the works individually rather than in bulk. 303 Park Avenue South was the first gallery, in New York City, owned by my family.
In 1957, Eddie and Ruth's daughter, Ann, my grandmother, married Joseph B. Rehs, a young accountant and perfect fit to the family. It wasn’t long until my grandfather dove into the art business. The gallery was importing between 6000 and 7000 paintings a year and the small gallery at 303 Park was moved to a larger space a short distance away, 386 Park.
My grandfather, Joey, now was doing the traveling, buying, packing and shipping back to the New York City based gallery. He seemed crazy at the time to buy a large painting by Fredrick Morgan for $225 and selling it for $450 (a huge profit at the time)….well, 13 years ago that same painting hit the market and made $1million…….too bad we didn’t hold on to that one!!!
By the 1960s the business was called Schillay & Rehs, Inc., a major distributor of 18th and 19th century European Paintings. The business continued to grow and by 1978 the gallery made its third move to East 63rd street and in the next few years my father, Howard L. Rehs, was the newest employee. It was now his turn to pick up and head out to Europe, to buy and ship.
In 1991, my grandpa Joey bought out the last of the Schillay family members and the gallery changed its name to Rehs Galleries, Inc. Once again, in 1995, the gallery came to a point where it knew it must move to prime real estate to keep up with the fast pace market. 5 East 57th Street (8th Floor) was the decision ( not to shabby…right?). It was in this same year that the gallery was elected a member of the Fine Art Dealers Association, and shortly after my dad became President of the association, a position he held until July 2007. The following year my father was also appointed to the Internal Revenue Service’s Art Advisory Panel.
By 2009, my mother, Amy, was the newest full time employee at Rehs Galleries, Inc. Several years of hard work and sweat went into the business until new form of relief stepped in. The fouth generation! Upon graduation in December of 2012, I jumped right into the business with a great base of knowledge from my Art History degree. In March of 2013 my brother, Lance, decided Finance wasn’t for him and now my whole family shares the 8th floor space on a daily basis (how do I not go crazy you might ask…well there’s a simple answer….I DO!! :-)..sometimes)
Today the gallery specializes in 19th and early 20th century European art from important Barbizon, Realist and Academic artists including: Eugene Boudin, William Bouguereau, Jean B.C. Corot, Julien Dupré, Daniel Ridgway Knight, Louis Aston Knight, Edouard Cortès, and Emile Munier. In addition the gallery features works by mid 20th century American artists and a number of new and upcoming Contemporary Realist artist.
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