Galerie Maximillian Is IFPDA Member

When I was 16 years old, I had the privilege of living with a family in Cannes, France for the Summer on an exchange program. Unfortunately, I had different interests from my “French Brother” so, with Guide Michelin in hand, I found myself exploring the Cote d’Azur and invariably discovered many of the great museums containing works by some of the great artists of the 19th and 20th Centuries, Picasso, Matisse, Chagall, Braque, and Leger to name a few. A lesser known museum was the Musee des Beaux Arts in Nice containing many donated works by the celebrated 19th Century artist Jules Cheret. There I learned how Cheret was considered the “Father of the Poster” creating gorgeous, multicolored, large scale original stone lithographs that were used as advertising posters to decorate the walls of Paris in the 19th Century. During that visit I bought my first 19th Century French lithograph by Jules Cheret — A plate from the “Maitres de l’Affiche” series — for 100 Francs or about $20.

It was no turning back from there. Between the ages of 16 and 20 and I became an avid collector and eventually a dealer of Vintage Posters. People Magazine picked up the story in 1980 and featured me in their magazine as a young “Up and Coming Art Collector and Dealer.” After graduating from Middlebury College with a BA in French and Political Science, I formalized my interest in dealing in art by getting a job at Merrill Chase Galleries in Downtown Chicago. In its day, Merrill Chase had been prominent in dealing with important works on paper by 19th and 20th Century Masters. Under the direction of the late Ivo Kirschen, Merrill Chase was a leading dealer of works by Lautrec, impressionist and Belle Epoque painter/printmakers and 20th Century Masters such as Picasso, Chagall, Miro Dali, among others.

After 14 years, I moved to Aspen, Colorado with my partner and now wife Dorothy Wildman to open up Galerie Maximillian. We chose the name Maximillian after our dog, “Max” an 8 pound Yorkshire Terrier. At the time, we focused primarily on European works of art and specifically late 19th Century and early 20th Century masterworks. 20 years later, the gallery has evolved to many different types of works on paper and like many dealers, we have invariably become swept up in the near obsession of collectors for Contemporary Works. Now, we exhibit everything from Dubuffet, Picasso, and Miro to Damien Hirst, Anish Kapoor, Peter Doig, Ed Ruscha, Mel Bochner, and other British, European and American printmakers.

The gallery has exhibited and sold thousands of works on paper in the last 20 years and is recognized both locally and internationally as one of the leading dealers of the works that we represent. That being said, we are always trying reinvent ourselves and find new and exciting project to exhibit. This Winter, the gallery embarked on its 20th Anniversary with an exhibition of early, rare works by Joan Miro from 1938 – 1960 and will finish the season with a Contemporary British Exhibition featuring recent projects by Kapoor, Opie, Grayson Perry, Christopher LeBrun and Spencer Finch.

My fascination with works on paper and specifically prints is a lifelong passion. I love the feel of paper. I love touching a print and thinking about the element of craftsmanship that goes into original printmaking. I just acquired an extremely rare, early Miro etching from 1938. It was a piece I had from the regular edition of 30 some years ago but this impression was a trial proof, 2/2, annotated by Miro in French, “Tire par moi-meme, 3e etat”… so printed by himself and the third and presumably final state. The piece is obviously an early impression with beautiful, rich burr and plate tone that does not exist in the regular edition. When I unwrapped the piece, I got a chill thinking about how Miro had touched this piece himself and that this was really a small piece of history from the important Surrealist movement. It’s finding treasures like these that keeps me going. The idea that there are still things out there that I have never seen after 35 years and/or the excitement of discovering something new and different that will inspire a young collector today as I was 40 years ago. This is why I love what I do and feel privileged to be part of both my industry and now the prestigious group of dealers that make up the IFPDA.

Albert Sanford
Galerie Maximillian

Posted on February 23, 2017 by Galerie Maximillian