Victor J. Hammer, an art dealer who with his brothers Armand and Harry founded the internationally recognized Hammer Galleries in New York City in the 1920s, has died in Lake Worth, Fla., near his Palm Beach home. He was 83 and died Sunday of heart disease.
Dr. Armand Hammer, now chairman of Occidental Petroleum Corp., established the gallery with his brothers after his business affiliations with the then-infant Soviet government enabled him to purchase art treasures at a favorable rate. He left management of the gallery to Victor, the youngest of the three brothers.
Over the years, the gallery supervised such major sales as the William Randolph Hearst collection. The newspaper publisher's artworks, appraised at more than $11 million, were sold during World War II.
Victor Hammer, who established a reputation as an expert appraiser, was a consultant when part of Armand Hammer's vast art collection was placed on display at the Los Angeles County Art Museum.
Hammer's survivors include his wife, the former Ireene Wicker; a daughter, Nancy Eilan; a son, Armand; two grandchildren and his brother, Armand.
Private services are scheduled Friday in Los Angeles, and a memorial is planned later in New York City.