Book Release Event

. The Friends of Ethnic Art enjoyed a private collection tour and book release event in a spectacular northern California home,  The author, April Dammann,  presented and discussed her book and her experiences in writing it. A press release for the book follows:

Press Release: (LOS ANGELES, February, 2011) – The revealing title says it all: Exhibitionist, Art Dealer as Impresario.

This is a new biography by April Dammann, which chronicles the story of Earl Stendahl, who exposed Los Angeles to a wealth of art and artifacts, and whose Stendahl Galleries continues to thrive as the oldest continuously operating art gallery in the City of Angels.

In 1911 Stendahl, a young candy-maker from Wisconsin, had a vision unlike any other art
dealer in provincial Los Angeles: develop local talent into famous, sought-after painters and
bring the finest works of art from all over the world to Southern California. Henri Matisse, Pablo
Picasso, Wassily Kandinsky, David Siqueiros, Marc Chagall, Edgar Payne, Guy Rose, William
Wendt and Lorser Feitelson were among hundreds of artists represented by Earl Stendahl,
who moved among them like the ringmaster of a magnificent circus.

Published as Stendahl Galleries celebrates its centennial, this dazzling illustrated biography
describes Stendahl’s move to Los Angeles in 1909 and his subsequent entry into the fine arts
community. With the zeal of a showman and an extraordinary eye, Stendahl went on to create
one of the most influential art galleries in the world. Exhibitionist includes a cast of characters
that could be taken from a 20th Century Who’s Who. High -profile clients such as William
Randolph Hearst, Edward G. Robinson, and Vincent Price make their appearances, as do
countless other public figures and the famed artists whose careers were nurtured by Stendahl.

The Stendahl story is at its heart a Los Angeles story, peopled with celebrities, rocked by
scandal, full of failure and triumph. The book is also personal. Stendahl was author April
Damman’s grandfather-in-law. She knew him—the “exhibitionist,” who prevailed against all
odds and inspired a family business that has lasted one hundred years.

While first specializing in the Western landscape and plein-air artists of the turn of the last
century, Stendahl later awakened Los Angeles collectors to the world of abstract modernist
painters. Stendahl Galleries was the only place on the West Coast ever to exhibit Picasso’s
monumental Guernica.

Stendahl also made his name as one of the premier dealers in Pre-Columbian art and artifacts,
a nascent discipline at the time.

As Dammann portrays him, Earl Stendahl is a modestly educated man who nevertheless had
impeccable taste in art and artists, and whose loyalty to them was always unstinting. Without
false modesty, Dammann observes, Stendahl preferred to call himself an “art peddler,” and to
those who called him a “pioneer,” Stendahl would amend the accolade to “buccaneer.”

If fine art can be termed “candy for the eye,” readers will learn that Stendahl, originally a
confectioner, continued to craft fine chocolates at the same time he represented some of the
world’s finest painters and sculptors.

Stendahl’s story is an emphatically visual one, and the book includes more than 200 never-
before-published photographs of the man, his family, his galleries, his painters and patrons,
and some of the many outstanding artworks he represented.

Finally, Exhibitionist emphasizes that Earl Stendahl’s legacy is alive today, not only in the
gallery that continues to bear his name, but in the many institutions – both in Los Angeles and
worldwide – whose collections boast Stendahl acquisitions and are thereby indebted to the
man’s keen eye and impeccable taste.

About the Author

April Anson Dammann has been a writer for radio, television, motion pictures and theatre,
and has recently been a producer for the Los Angeles stage. She holds degrees in French
Literature from UCLA, the University of Rochester, and La Sorbonne. She and her husband,
Ron Dammann, live in the same house where Earl Stendahl lived and which continues to
serve as the Stendhal Galleries.

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