Allan Frumkin, 75; Founded Art Galleries in Chicago, New York

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Allan Frumkin, an art dealer who introduced leading Surrealists Joseph Cornell and Roberto Sebastian Matta to the Midwest in solo exhibits at his Chicago gallery, died Monday at 75. He had closed that gallery two decades ago and retired in the mid-1990s from a second gallery he founded in New York City, where he lived for many years.

Frumkin was recently hospitalized in New York for complications from Crohn’s disease.

His eclectic taste swept across art movements as diverse as Postimpressionism, German Expressionism, funk and lyrical abstraction. In his 50 years as an art dealer he promoted the work of Henri Matisse, Max Beckmann, Robert Arneson and Richard Diebenkorn, among others.

He also built his own private art collection. Earlier this month he donated his holdings of Beckmann prints to the St. Louis Art Museum.


A native of Chicago, Frumkin graduated from the University of Chicago then traveled through Western Europe to learn firsthand about contemporary art. He met Henry Moore, Alberto Giacometti and Matta and decided to start a gallery for contemporary art in his hometown.

The Allan Frumkin Gallery opened in Chicago in 1952. Seven years later Frumkin added a New York counterpart by the same name. He closed the first gallery in 1980 and retired from the latter in 1995 but continued to work as a private art dealer for most of the rest of his life.

Frumkin is survived by his wife, Jean, a sister, two sons and three grandchildren.