|Vose & Huxford, Providence, Rhode Island,
In 1841, Vose Galleries’ founder, Joseph Vose, purchased the art supplies store, Westminster Art Gallery, of Providence, Rhode Island. By 1850, Joseph’s son Seth M. Vose joined the business, bringing his passion for art, in particular the works of the French Barbizon School. Parallel to his introduction of the Barbizon School to America, Seth Vose fostered the growing appreciation of struggling American artists, and began dealing almost exclusively in the more prosperous business of selling paintings.
|Watch three generations of the Vose family discuss the
history of the gallery.
Boston had become the primary art market by the close of the century, prompting Seth’s son Robert C. Vose to open his own gallery in Boston in 1896. Robert also traveled throughout the United States, exhibiting up to 100 paintings at a time. As a result of his efforts, Vose paintings now hang in almost every major American museum. By the “Roaring Twenties,” Robert C. Vose had established a national reputation, and in June 1924, opened a new gallery in the heart of Copley Square at 559 Boylston Street. The space was four stories high, making it the largest gallery in the United States outside of New York City.
|Robert C. Vose opened this gallery in
Boston's Copley Square in June of 1924
The prosperity of the 1920s came to an abrupt end, however, as the Depression hit. In 1931, R. C.’s eldest son, Seth Morton Vose II, joined his father in business after graduating from Harvard College, followed by his brother Robert C. Vose, Jr., who left the Harvard Class of 1934 to join the firm in 1932. During these lean years, the brothers lived at home, and American paintings could be bought for pennies on the dollar.
|238 Newbury Street, Vose Galleries'
Having barely survived this difficult time, Morton and Robert Vose, Jr. decided to concentrate almost exclusively on antique American art and during their tenure helped build prominent private and public collections during a time of rising interest in America’s art heritage. In 1962, Robert Vose, Jr. moved the business to the present 238 Newbury Street location. After their father died in 1964, the brothers counted themselves among the country’s leading authorities in American art history and its painters, spanning the years 1660-1940.
Robert’s twin sons, Abbot W. Vose (Bill) and Robert C. Vose III (Terry) joined the firm in 1969 and 1970, respectively. While both brothers remained generalists in the field, Bill Vose traveled the country, like his grandfather, giving dozens of lectures promoting the newly rediscovered American Impressionists. In 1972, Bill married Marcia Latimore and by 1984 she joined her husband and in-laws at Vose Galleries. Now, Bill and Marcia have brought their two daughters, Carey and Elizabeth, into the business, marking the sixth generation and the first time women are at the helm.
From Humble Beginnings: Vose Galleries in the 1840s
Joseph Vose worked as a shoe manufacturer before expanding his business into the arts...
Embracing the Avant-garde: Seth M. Vose in the 1850s
In 1850 Joseph's nineteen-year old son, Seth Morton Vose, took over the family business. During this time he discovered and fell in love with paintings by the French Barbizon School...Read more...
Dramatic Change: Vose Galleries in the 1860s
It was during the 1860s that Seth Vose began to act as a dealer for local artists. He quickly attained the reputation of a respected art dealer...Read more...
In Support of the Barbizon Rebels: Vose Galleries in the 1870s
Along with William Morris Hunt, Seth Vose promoted art of the Barbizon painters. He was a dedicated believer in the artists, and championed their cause for nearly thirty years...Read more...
The Roaring 1880s: Seth Vose Finds Success
The popularity of the French Barbizon School grew exponentially during the 1880s in an expanding art market that America would not experience again until the 1980s...Read more...
Vose Galleries in the 1890s: The Debut of R. C. Vose
Vose Galleries at the Turn of the Century
By the turn of the century Robert C. Vose was working to promote his growing family business by broadening the gallery's horizons through the display of a stock of Barbizon, Dutch, English and American artists...Read more...
Vose Galleries in the 1910s
The death of Seth M. Vose in April of 1910 marked a period of great change for Vose Galleries....Read more...
Vose Galleries in the 1920s: The Roaring Twenties
The 1920’s brought Robert C. Vose more success than he had ever known...Read more...
Vose Galleries in the 1930s: the Great Depression
The prosperity of the "roaring twenties" was about to come to an abrupt end...Read more...
Vose Galleries in the 1940s: WWII and Beyond
With the emergence of the Second World War, Robert C. Vose, now in his sixties, saw two of his sons join the war effort but insisted that his eldest son, Seth Morton Vose II, stay behind to help him run the gallery...Read more...