Emil Carlsen Archives is a Non-profit organization running the world's largest visual archive of the work of painter Emil Carlsen [1848-1932]

Hammer Galleries [1928- ]

January 1, 1928

ECA control number: 17113

Record level: Listing

Record type: Private gallery

Private gallery name: Hammer Galleries


Founded: 1928

Closed / acquired: n/a

Location(s): 32 East 67th Street, New York, NY 10065


“Hammer Galleries, headquartered in New York, focuses on Impressionist and Modern Masters. The gallery also exhibits contemporaries such as Chinese artist Yifei Chen. Hammer participates in the world’s most prestigious art fairs: The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) in Maastricht and New York and Art Basel in Miami Beach and Hong Kong. The gallery’s founder, industrialist and philanthropist Dr. Armand Hammer (1898–1990), was Chairman of Occidental Petroleum. Known for his “citizen diplomacy,” he traveled the world, befriending world leaders in his lifelong quest for world peace. During the 1920’s when the newly formed Soviet Union was in dire financial straits, the then 23-year-old Hammer met Lenin and developed several successful ventures in Russia, and began collecting Czarist art with his brother Viktor. This was the origin of both the Hammer Galleries (established in 1928) and Hammer’s legendary personal art collection.

The relationship of Hammer Galleries and China began in 1979 when Dr. Hammer met Vice Chairman Deng Xiaoping at a dinner in Houston, Texas. Deng recognized him, saying “you don’t have to introduce yourself. . . . We all know you in China. You’re the man who went to Russia in 1921 to help Lenin when Russia was in trouble. Now you’ve got to come to China.” Hammer was granted the unprecedented privilege to land his private 727 jet in China and was invited to stay at the Diao-Yu-tai State Guesthouse, an ancient retreat of the Emperors where Presidents Nixon and Reagan stayed during historic visits to China. He was accompanied by his grandson Michael Hammer, then the youngest Occidental Petroleum executive on the team and currently Chairman of Hammer Galleries. During that first visit, Dr. Hammer negotiated major business deals for oil and coal between Occidental Petroleum and his new Chinese partners.

In 1982 the finest pieces from Hammer’s personal collection, including masterpieces by Rembrandt, Rubens, Monet, Renoir, Cezanne, Van Gogh, etc., were loaned to the National Art Museum of China in Beijing. This landmark exhibition provided the first opportunity for original Western masterpieces to be viewed in China. Hammer later sponsored the first travel of Chinese pandas out of the country, in conjunction with the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. For Art Basel Hong Kong, we were especially pleased to present four paintings by Chinese artist Yifei Chen (1946–2005). In 1980, Chen became the first artist of his generation to travel to America. Discovered by Armand Hammer in 1981, Chen had his first U.S. exhibition at Hammer Galleries in 1983. Coincidentally, this was the same year that Howard Shaw, Hammer Galleries’ Director, began his career at Hammer Galleries. Mr. Shaw worked closely with Chen on all of the “sell out” exhibitions which followed.

In 1985, Armand Hammer presented Chen’s painting Memory of Homeland–Double Bridge to Deng Xiaoping. In recent years, Hammer Galleries has reacquired paintings by Yifei Chen and sold them to collectors in Asia, and his paintings continue to set new records at auction. Chen, educated in both Chinese and Western traditions, was taught by the last generation of Chinese painters to have studied in 1920s Paris. Chen’s favorite symbol, the bridge, traditionally represents the union of man and nature, as well as the meeting of East and West. Chen’s dreamy subjects, the waterways, canals, streets, and the 1000 year old bridges from Suzhou, the “Venice of the East,” recall ancient China. Chen’s art suggests a type of poetry without words whose most striking character is its atmosphere of “silence and stillness.”

For the last years of his life Armand Hammer had three paintings in his office at Occidental Petroleum—one by the Old Master Peter Paul Rubens, one by Yifei Chen and one by Huang Zhou (a gift from Deng Xiaoping and just last year returned to China). We were honored to exhibit at Art Basel Hong Kong, presenting an array of works by Impressionist and Modern Masters as well as a special exhibition of paintings by Yifei Chen, continuing the Hammer tradition of cultural exchange.”

Citation: “Hammer Galleries > About.”  Hammergalleries.com.  Updated unknown.  Accessed March 29, 2018.  http://hammergalleries.com/about



1977 Hammer Galleries, New York, NY, “The art of Emil Carlsen“, January 25 – February 19.



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Original compiled and researched document by the Emil Carlsen Archives, 266 West 21st Street, Suite 4E, New York, NY 10011.

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Creative Commons Corporation  shareAlike (sa) license.  Some of the information contained within this document may hold further publication restrictions depending on final use.  It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine.

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The author of this artwork died more than 70 years ago. According to U.S. Copyright Law, copyright expires 70 years after the author’s death. In other countries, legislation may differ.

Record birth date:
December 26, 2016

Last updated: March 29, 2018 at 19:34 pm

©2013-2017 Emil Carlsen Archives

Digital-born Publication Title: Emil Carlsen Archives
Publication Subtitle: World's Largest Visual Reference Dedicated to the Preservation of the Work of Danish-American Impressionist/Realist Painter, Emil Carlsen [1848-1932]
Library of Congress Subject Authority Heading: Carlsen, Emil, 1853-1932
Emil Carlsen LC control no.: n 85141186
Publication Type: Online Integrating Resource
Language: English
Creator/Author: Emil Carlsen Archives
Published by: Emil Carlsen Archives, 266 West 21st Street, New York, NY 10011
Edition: First
Frequency of Updates: Daily
Publish Date: 2013 –
End Date: none, continuing
Hosting: Single server (no mirrors)

MARC Organization Code: 41959
MARC Org Code: NyNyECA
MARC Org Code: normalized: nynyeca
Publisher ISSN : forthcoming