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SEATTLE ART DEALER, SAM DAVIDSON HAS BUILT ONE OF THE LARGEST ART GALLERIES IN THE WORLD
Davidson Galleries, on artline Davidson Galleries, on artline Davidson Galleries, on artline
Sam Davidson   Leonard Baskin   Jenny Robinson


I was born in Boston, Massachusetts, but grew up in Seattle. My father was a physician. My mother taught short story writing at the University of Washington and served as a docent at the Seattle Art Museum. I earned my BA from Wesleyan University in Connecticut, and an MA in Art History from U Mass in Amherst. I bought my first two prints with book money while I was an undergraduate, (one was a wood engraving by Leonard Baskin), from a traveling print show brought to the university by Ferdinand Roten Galleries of Baltimore, Maryland.


Davidson Galleries, on artlineAfter a rugby tour with the Manhattan Rubgy Club and a year as a teaching assistant, I traveled for Roten Galleries* in the Western United States and Canada. After nine months on the road I was brought to Baltimore to oversee the inventory and gallery publications, from 1970-1973.

My brother, (who had taken over my former territory in the West), and I returned to Seattle to create a small version of the Roten model of short term traveling exhibitions and stock catalogs. As the collaboration evolved, my brother focused on framing and I moved the gallery operation to Pioneer Square and added a regular monthly exhibition schedule, beginning in 1974.



Davidson Galleries, on artline Davidson Galleries, on artline Davidson Galleries, on artline
M C Escher   Yozo Hamaguchi   Tomiyuki Sakuta


It soon became clear that art coverage in the local press was sporadic, at best. Together, as a small core group of Seattle art dealers, we established "First Thursday" (joint evening receptions) to increase our visibility in the community, and to celebrate the month's' new exhibitions. A few months later we initiated a monthly printed announcement with images for each of the shows and sent it to the combined mailing lists eventually reaching 24,000+ people.

Beginning in the 1980's I broadened the gallery's offerings to include contemporary sculpture and paintings. We were selected by the Chinese government to host the first U.S. commercial gallery exhibition of mainland Contemporary Chinese paintings. It was at this time that I formed a fifteen year partnership with Allan Kollar to show and sell American paintings from the period 1850-1930. During the Goodwill Games in 1990 Davidson Galleries hosted a series of exhibitions of important contemporary Russian artists.



Davidson Galleries, on artline Davidson Galleries, on artline Davidson Galleries, on artline
Käthe Kollwitz   Tony Fitzpatrick   Erik Desmazieres


This past year I decided to return to my roots and focus primarily on works on paper--anything that can be done on paper. We continue to mount regular exhibitions each month, to publish two or three catalogs a year, and to maintain a strong website presence. [The newly updated Davidson website is comprehensive and user friendly. www.davidsongalleries.com]

In the last 42 years we have presented more than 800 exhibitions, published more than 100 catalogs, held an international small format print competition called FOOTPRINT (1976, '77, and '78), set up the N.W. Artist stamp Collective, and organized several national print fairs in Seattle, and later, in Portland (at the Portland Art Museum, in 2014 and 2015).

I continue to be inspired by all the artists who have devoted their lives to sharing the images they are compelled to make. Often their path represents a tremendous personal and economic sacrifice. I am thankful for the many wonderful relationships with both artists and clients over the course of 45 years while sharing my excitement about the incredible images and processes that are possible with printmaking when handled by gifted, committed artists both past and present.

Sam Davidson
Owner and Director

* Ferdinand Roten was responsible for introducing print collecting to young college students throughout the USA. He and his people relentlessly traveled to most colleges and universities for years introducing prints being produced by printmakers.