Toronto-born collector and art consultant Ross R. DeVean (1898 – 1993) was a Riverside-based businessman for 10 years, working in the trades of wholesale paper dealing and real estate sales. With the support of his wife, Patty, DeVean began collecting art in the 1940s, and by the 1950s, he had developed a concentration of drawings and works on paper. DeVean, a businessman with a deep and cultivated passion for art, had no formal art education and was a completely self-taught collector who possessed an eye and endless enthusiasm for art. In 1953, DeVean purchased his first original print by Georges Rouault. The following year, five of DeVean’s prints were included in the first post-war exhibition of German Expressionist art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).
A lover of French and German art in particular, DeVean made frequent purchasing trips to Paris, Munich, Zurich, and all along the West Coast. In 1959, DeVean agreed to sell 177 German Expressionist prints to the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts at the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco.
Galerie DeVean celebrates 37 works of art selected from the Ross R. DeVean collections of nine local DeVean patrons, including works from former RAM Executive Director, as well former Curator for the Getty and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Mary Alice Cline. The exhibition includes works spanning the 18th through 20th centuries, with an emphasis on prints and fin-de-siècle-era French lithography. Presented in a salon style format, Galerie DeVean accentuates not only the reference to emerging French art in the late 19th century, but also the collaborative aspect of the exhibition.
In the mid-1960s, DeVean began selling works to the patrons of Riverside and launched his mobile enterprise, “Galerie DeVean.” On monthly visits to the area from his home in Beverly Hills, DeVean would arrive at the houses of his grateful patrons with his Cadillac fully loaded with art. DeVean sold original prints by eminent European, American, and Asian artists such as Chagall, Picasso, Miró, Calder, Hiroshige, and numerous others. DeVean also worked closely with the Riverside Art Museum and its former Executive Director, Mary Alice Cline, by generously donating a myriad of works to the Permanent Collection. This exhibit was made possible through generous support from the City of Riverside, the James Irvine Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Field, and Dick and Jane Merrihew.
Curated by Kathryn Poindexter