Index of Historic Collectors and Dealers of Cubism
Valentine Gallery
New York, 1926–1947
Within two years of its opening in New York in February 1926, the F. Valentine Dudensing Gallery was dubbed a “temple of modernism” by a leading critic. The gallery served as an important source for works by modern artists, including Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse during its two decades of operation. 

Francis Valentine Dudensing (1892–1967), the gallery’s founder, graduated from Dartmouth College in 1913, then moved to New York to work at his father’s nineteenth-century paintings gallery, Richard Dudensing & Son. It was there that he first collaborated with Pierre Matisse, when the latter organized a cutting-edge exhibition at the gallery featuring work by the School of Paris painters (1925). With that show, the younger Dudensing was attempting to move his father’s gallery in a new direction; however, after facing resistance, he decided to open his own gallery in partnership with Matisse, who had personal connections with the artists whose work Dudensing wanted to show. When it opened, the F. Valentine Dudensing Gallery was run by Dudensing and his wife, Bibi, with Matisse working as an agent in Paris. 

In 1927 Dudensing shortened the name to Valentine Gallery to avoid confusion with his father’s establishment. Over the years, the gallery occupied several locations on East 57th Street, attracting visitors who were interested in the latest European art. With Matisse’s help, Dudensing arranged a retrospective of Henri Matisse’s work in 1927 as well as the first American solo exhibitions for Giorgio de Chirico and Joan Miró in 1928 and 1930, respectively. Although Matisse left the partnership to open his own gallery in New York in 1931, Dudensing maintained the pioneering program. He presented the first American solo exhibitions for Wassily Kandinsky (1932) and Piet Mondrian (1942), and the American tour of Picasso’s seminal painting Guernica (1937; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid) began in the large main room of the Valentine Gallery in the spring of 1939. 

In an effort to educate the American public about the School of Paris painters, Dudensing helped organize exhibitions at key museums across the country, taught weekly classes on modern art, and cultivated the tastes of a number of esteemed collectors, including Lillie P. Bliss, Walter P. Chrysler Jr., Stephen C. Clark, Chester and Maud Dale, A. E. Gallatin, William Paley, Dr. Albert C. Barnes, Duncan Phillips, and Emily and Burton Tremaine. The Valentine Gallery was also the source of a number of significant works now in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Art Institute of Chicago; Detroit Institute of Arts; and Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo. Its legacy is often overlooked today but traces of the Dudensings’ involvement in the New York art world remain. Bibi was photographed by Man Ray and painted by Jules Pascin, and the couple was photographed individually by Carl Van Vechten in the late 1930s. Their likenesses, along with that of their daughter, also named Valentine, appear in Florine Stettheimer’s The Cathedrals of Fifth Avenue (1931; The Metropolitan Museum of Art).

Contributed by Julia May Boddewyn, January 2015
For more information, see:
Boddewyn, Julia May. “A Valentine to European Modernism.” The Modernism Magazine 4, no. 2 (Summer 2001): 42–48. 

Material documenting the gallery's dealings with artists Louis Eilshemius, John Kane, Henri Matisse, and C.S. Price, as well as a scrapbook containing printed materials about Dudensing and the gallery’s exhibitions from 1925 to 1936 are located at the Archives of American Art, New York.  

Correspondence between Dudensing and Matisse between the years 1925 and ca. 1931, are housed at the Pierre Matisse Archives, Morgan Library, New York.

Sales records of the Valentine Gallery, 1926–44, are accessible at the Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York.

Artwork from the Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Collection formerly owned by Valentine Gallery:
Pears and Grapes on a Table
Pears and Grapes on a Table Juan Gris
Céret, autumn 1913
Still Life with Fan: "L'Indépendant"
Still Life with Fan: "L'Indépendant" Pablo Picasso
Céret, summer 1911