Founded in the 1960s
Samuel Merrin has been leading the gallery since 1987, taking over from his father, Edward Merrin, the gallery’s founder. Ed began his professional career in the family jewelry store, but had “discovered” Pre-Columbian art on his honeymoon in Mexico and began collecting. At first, he used some of the objects for display purposes, highlighting them in their glittering cases. But one day, when a customer asked for the price of the ancient object rather than the jewel, a lightbulb went off in Ed’s mind, and he embarked on his life’s true career.
From its humble beginnings, sharing a space with the jewelry store, the gallery eventually moved to its current location and developed into one of the premier galleries of ancient art in the world.
Clients, museums, collectors
The Merrin Gallery’s renown has grown, and a visit to its stunning Fifth Avenue space has become a must for all serious collectors and curators of antiquities. The list of clients has come to include all of the major institutions in the US and many of those abroad, as well notable ancient art collectors throughout the world.
Two eminent collections that were greatly enriched by their purchases of pre-Columbian masterpieces from the Merrin Gallery were the Gérard Geiger Collection and the Jean Paul Barbier Collection. When these collections were recently sold at public auction, the catalogues made clear that the most important objects were Merrin Gallery acquisitions.
Gallery directors Sam Merrin and Moshe Bronstein travel far and near in the search of antiquities with excellent provenance. They seek individual objects and entire collections for purchase.
World-class ancient art appraisals; leading pre-Columbian art
Due to their connoisseurship and expertise, Edward and Samuel Merrin, have long been called upon to offer evaluations of ancient art. Both have evaluated objects for a special insurance purpose called “indemnification”, in a program established by the National Endowment for the Arts that makes international art exhibitions possible.
Edward served on the government committee that oversaw evaluations for charitable donations of ancient art to public institutions. Samuel appraises ancient objects for the International Association for Ancient, Asian, and Tribal Art.
Whether large or small, world-class or merely fascinating — an enormous range of objects passes through the Merrin Gallery. From a masterful Egyptian statue of a striding man from the Old Kingdom, to a tiny but precious Olmec figurine: the antiquities span cultures, media, and themes. Still, pre-Columbian art of South and Mesoamerica, remain the foundation of the Merrin Gallery and our expertise.