Palm Beach’s Irving Luntz, a pioneering dealer of post-war art in that wealthy enclave, has died at 88. He taught himself to be an art dealer after getting divorced from his first wife whose father he worked for. His first gallery was in Milwaukee in 1959:
“I had a Picasso in my first show and about 500 people showed up,” he told the Palm Beach Post in 2007. “I was feeding them French hors d’oeuvres and wine and I sold only one picture for $45. I made a $15 profit. That night, I sat on the floor crying. What the hell did I get myself into?”
Eventually, Luntz developed a market and discovered that dealers in the art capitals of New York, London and Paris had far more inventory than they could sell to their own clients:
“They were looking for someone reliable that had a market and could sell,” Holden Luntz said. Working with dealers such as Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, Leo Castelli, Knoedler, Andre Emmerich and OK Harris, Mr. Luntz filled his gallery with works by Pablo Picasso, Roy Lichtenstein, Frank Stella, Jim Dine, Louise Nevelson, Andy Warhol, Nancy Graves, Larry Rivers and other big-name artists. He also worked directly with artists such as Helen Frankenthaler.
Longtime Palm Beach art dealer Irving Luntz dies (Palm Beach Daily News)