1949 - ?

Crane Kalman Gallery

The Crane Kalman Gallery was founded by Hungarian émigré Andras Kalman (1919-2007) in 1949 as a small art gallery in central Manchester in the basement of a disused air-raid shelter which blossomed into one of the most eminent London-based galleries of the second half of the 20th century. Kalman came to England in 1938 to study Chemistry at Leeds University and never saw his family again as they were killed in the ensuing Holocaust. He wrote to Ben Nicholson, Henry Moore, Jacob Epstein, Matthew Smith, Lucian Freud and others, requesting the loan of works on a sale or return basis with most responding well, but not the public, of which none of whom turned up for the private view. Owing to a misread description it became known as the Crane Kalman Gallery. Towards the end of his first show, the local painter L.S. Lowry came in and, sensing that Kalman was struggling, bought a small painting which began a lifelong friendship. By 1957 he had relocated to London where he set up the Crane Kalman Gallery at 178 Brompton Road almost opposite Harrods. Kalman staged many exhibitions of works by artists that included not only Lowry but Ben Nicholson, Henry Moore, Graham Sutherland, Frank Auerbach, David Bomberg, Edward Burra, Christopher Wood and many other 20th-century Modern British painters. After his death in 2007 the Gallery was managed by two of his children.