The two-house compound where author April lives on an avenue in the Hollywood Hills has been home to her husband's family business, Stendahl Galleries, since 1940. For twenty years prior, Earl L. Stendahl provided the finest examples of Impressionist and Modern art to the elite of Los Angeles collectors from his renowned galleries on Wilshire Boulevard. Stendahl was lured to the Hollywood neighborhood by collector Walter Arensberg, who, with Stendahl's help, amassed what was called by an art historian in 1950 "the most discriminating single group of twentieth century paintings and sculpture in existence."
Such was Stendahl's influence on the Southern California landscape, which began in 1911 and lasted well beyond his passing in 1966, when son Alfred Stendahl and son-in-law Joseph Dammann (already veteran dealers) carried on the business. Few remember that in 1939 Stendahl hosted one of only two non-museum exhibitions of Pablo Picasso's masterwork, Guernica, to benefit Spanish refugees. That historic showing was one of many pioneering efforts by Stendahl Galleries to bring important artworks to the attention of a public hungry for exposure to fine art.
The Stendahls and Dammanns have been known for decades as pre-eminent purveyors of Pre-Columbian art from Mexico, Central and South America. Walter and Louise Arensberg were among the gallery's earliest clients for the ethnographic material. When the Arensbergs died, neighbors Earl and Enid Stendahl bought their magnificent home, thereby expanding their own living and exhibiting spaces. The story of the Hollywood Hills estate is in itself a fascinating look at early Los Angeles art and architectural history. The voices of Lloyd Wright, William Woollett, Richard Neutra, Gregory Ain and John Lautner still reverberate within those walls. The Dammann home has been declared a historic cultural monument by the city of Los Angeles.
In 2016, the Stendahl Galleries celebrate one hundred five years of continuous operation in Los Angelesa remarkable feat. Three generations of dealers (including April's husband, Ron Dammann, who is President), have been instrumental in forging an aesthetic identity for the West Coast and beyond: a legacy of unsurpassed connoisseurship.
Open by appointment
Gallery shots: Julie Hopkins, Camera Creations