Twin brothers with a shared passion for art will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the opening of their German Village gallery with an exhibit that will run through July 1.
Tim and Jim Keny, fraternal twins who own Keny Galleries, will host an opening reception for "An American Album: 150 years of Masterworks on Paper: 1870-2020" from noon to 8 p.m. Friday, May 29, in the gallery, 300 E. Beck St.
Reservations are required and can be made by calling 614-464-1228 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tim Keny said because of COVID-19 coronavirus concerns, the gallery can accommodate only a small number of guests at a time to oberserve social-distancing guidelines.
The exhibit runs through July 1 by appointment only.
The show is composed of 60 works by 40 American artists who excelled in the paper medium, including major examples by well-known artists such as Romare Bearden, George Bellows, Mary Cassatt, Chuck Close, Winslow Homer, Joan Mitchell and John Singer Sargent.
The styles include trompe l'oeil, realism, tonalism, impressionism, post impressionism, pop art and abstract expressionism.
"We've always felt -- and always done well with it, whether it was on paper or watercolor -- it was undervalued," Tim Keny said.
The brothers take pride in the collection and have many favorites, such as "The Watermelon Man," "Stag at Sharkey's" and "A Knockout," all created by Bellows, a realist painter.
Among their many more cherished items are works done by Alice Schille, a watercolor artist and sister of Clara Schille Walling, who was best friends with the Kenys' grandmother, Julia Tynan.
The Kenys, who grew up in west Columbus, said they always admired Alice Schille and thought she had world-class talent.
The brothers, now 64, made their way off to college: Jim to Harvard University and Tim to Colgate University. They had been discussing starting a gallery and began traveling the country to assess the art-collection scene in the U.S.
"We concluded at the time, which is really different than now, there were very few art-historically informed galleries in Ohio," Jim Keny said.
Shortly after Tim Keny earned his master's degree in business administration from Ohio State University, the brothers founded their German Village gallery.
"We did a fair amount of research," Tim said. "We did a lot of collecting (while I was) in grad school."
Their focus: American impressionist paintings and American master watercolors, "which turned out to be very valuable," Tim said.
They opened the gallery in February 1980 and had their first show, which fit their overall theme of rustic American art, in May 1980.
"We looked at a lot of places all over the city," Tim said. "We loved the fact that it would be in German Village."
The brothers have weathered their fair share of financial storms: the Wall Street market crash of 1987, the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the great recession and now, the coronavirus pandemic.
Yet, they said they look back with few regrets because they were willing to put in the roadwork to make the gallery a success.
"We definitely enjoy it," Tim Keny said. "Yes, it's been a good business."
"It's been a wonderful business to be in because we love the art, that aspect of it," Jim Keny said, "but we're also historians."