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The Annex Galleries – Celebrating 50 Years

“I have had my first business license hanging at the gallery in a frame. I just looked at it the other day and realised that it was issued in March of 1971 for my first location at 300 South A Street in Santa Rosa. My math challenged mind kicked in and I realised we were turning 50 years old this month, and that perhaps I should make a note of that before the month ends.”

 

 

“I opened the Annex Galleries as a frame shop, specialising in the framing of works on paper, which I had been doing in Berkeley before moving North. Using a $300.00 Exchange Bank loan with an old VW as collateral and $200.00 I found on the street in Berkeley, I rented the shop on South A. With no credit I would travel to my clients, some Sutter Street galleries in San Francisco and a few East Bay print collectors and private dealers, pick up the work, go to the picture framing distributors and purchase the materials and head back north to frame them and deliver them a week later and repeat the process. After a few months the distributors gave me credit and I was on my way.

As I framed the works, in one case a Durer exhibition, I would hang them on the walls and discuss them with the clients that came in and a local interest in printmaking began. In the case of collectors and artists, I would sometimes trade framing for part money and part prints. It began to snowball to the over 10,000 works we now have in the gallery.

After a year I moved to College Avenue and, after purchasing the building in the early 1980s, have been here ever since. The gallery started representing the Gustave Baumann estate around 1972 when his daughter came in with one to frame for donation to the KQED auction, and that history is a story in itself. Gala came to work at the gallery around 1975 and, as many of you know, now is the manager. We began doing monthly exhibitions, mostly of graphic work, for a couple of decades – the second photo has our logo over a montage of postcards and announcements. In 1975/6 I traveled selling prints for Roten Galleries in Western Canada and California as Gala managed the gallery and shows.

At one point about 18 years ago friends were visiting from Santa Fe and David watched as I spent way too much time with a framing client, trying to choose a mat colour. In the meantime, another client, a Baumann in his hand to purchase, finally set it down and left; David later said “Did you see what just happened?” I quit framing for the public the next week and became a full-time print dealer.

Working in a relatively small market area we had to reach out of the community and we did cooperative shows with Betty Parsons Gallery and the Witkin Gallery in New York, as well as with the Bethesda Gallery in Washington, DC, and others. We then participated in the first Fine Print Fair in the Armory in New York in 1985 and began developing a national clientele. We joined the newly formed International Fine Print Dealers Association in 1986. That began a series of print fairs that were organising around the country and we traveled: New York; Washington, DC; Cleveland; Chicago; Atlanta; Seattle; Portland, Oregon; San Francisco; Los Angeles; Santa Barbara, and San Diego, etc.

The Annex Galleries put together our first internet website in 2001, twenty years ago, and began doing print dealing on an international scale. This has continued and represents the major part of our business as the public learns to use the internet to search and purchase things that are of interest to them.”

 

 

“Our current on-line eclectic, mostly secondary-market inventory consists of 6700 works and the website is changed daily and, as many of you know, I have sent out a Print of the Day!! seven days a week for almost 5 years which goes out via e-mail and social media to thousands of potential clients.

50 years of not working, just doing what I love, and looking forward to getting to the shop every day. I have been, and continue to be, a lucky man. Thank you all for your support and interest over the years, those relationships are really the best part. We now start the second half of this curious journey.”

–¬†Daniel Lienau, The Annex Galleries.

Biography:

1943: Born and raised in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, Daniel Lienau studied sculpture at the University of Wisconsin at Madison between 1961 and 1963.

1964: Moved to upstate New York where he learned picture framing in Glens Falls and then NYC in 1965.

1967: Moved to Berkeley, California, opening a frame shop specialising in the conservation framing of works on paper, working with many Bay area collectors, publishers and galleries.

1971: Opened the Annex Galleries in Santa Rosa, exhibiting prints in  and added a photography section in 1973.

1971 – 2020: Organised a series of print exhibitions, specialising in secondary market “forgotten printmakers”, including “50 Years of California Prints”, “WPA Printmakers”, “Mexican Prints by the Taller de Grafica Popular”; a number of exhibitions of prints by members of the Atelier 17 from both the early Paris and New York periods; a number of original cartoon exhibitions including “Artists of Mad Magazine”, “New Yorker Cartoonists” and two cartoonists’ self-portrait exhibitions (including one of over 130 cartoonists who drew themselves in the buff, called “The Comic Strip”), and many other theme shows, such as “American Color Prints” and “California Abstract Expressionist Prints”.

The gallery also re-introduced a number printmakers who no longer had any market: Gustave Baumann, James D. Smillie, Helen Hyde, Pedro de Lemos, Roi Partridge, Bertha Lum, Augusta Rathbone, Gene Kloss, John Winkler, as well as photographs by Walter Chappell, Minor White, Ansel Adams, etc.

1985:The Annex Galleries exhibited in the first Fine Print Fair held at the Armory in New York.

1986. The gallery joined into the newly formed IFPDA.

1985 – 2019 The gallery exhibited in Fine Print Fairs across the US.

2001 Started doing web-based exhibitions and on-line sales, many of which featured women printmakers, African-American printmakers, etc.

2013: Wrote an essay titled “A Print Dealer’s Journey with Northern California Prints” for “California Society of Printmakers One Hundred Years 1913-2013”, by Maryly Snow and Sylvia Solochek Walters.

2015-present: Posted the first Print of the Day!! on July 7 and has posted a print from a 6800 on-line inventory that includes a biography every day since. Every Women’s History Month there are 31 different prints by 31 different women posted, with biographies.

2020-2021: Continuing on-line business while social distancing, all shows for this year cancelled.

 

View prints at The Annex Galleries.