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Gallery Owners and Directors


The Louvre, which is considered by many to be the first art gallery or museum in the world, was established in Paris, France, in 1793. It gave the general public its first opportunity to view works of fine art—thereby starting a trend toward public appreciation of art.

Galleries were also established by individuals as an extension of their personal interests and love of art and antiques. For example, Sir John Soane, an English architect who specialized in the neoclassical style, purchased a house in London, England, in 1792 and used it as his residence, but also to entertain clients. Between 1794 and 1824, Soane remodeled and expanded the property, gradually filling it with great works of art and architecture. He eventually bequeathed his house and collection, now known as Sir John Soane's Museum, to the British people. 

Throughout the 1800s and 1900s, public and private art galleries were built throughout the United States and the world. Most large cities and towns established galleries to display their artistic treasures and help educate the public about art. Academic institutions also began establishing galleries. These galleries were typically linked with the schools' art departments and offered educational and cultural opportunities to the surrounding community. Galleries were also established by wealthy individuals who were interested in giving back to their communities. As more galleries were founded, it soon became clear that highly educated professionals were needed to manage their day-to-day operations—hence the career of gallery director was born.

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