Edith Gregor Halpert helped influence American artistic tastes through her galleries championing both modern and folk art. Halpert lied about her age to study at the National Academy of Design when she was fourteen years old, but also developed a taste for modern art, which was frowned upon by the academy. By age twenty she had been named to the board of SW Straus & Company, an investment banking firm, but in 1925 she quit her job and travelled to Paris for a year, immersing herself in the city’s art galleries. In 1926 she opened the Downtown Gallery in Greenwich Village, specializing in modern art, and in 1931 created an offshoot, the American Folk Art Gallery, which became so popular that she was able to remain in business throughout the Depression. By 1962, the gallery had moved uptown to the Ritz Tower on Park Avenue. In 1952 she founded the Edith Gregor Halpert Foundation, which promoted law codes and other measures to help guarantee the rights of artists. Having arranged municipal art shows in the US throughout the 1930s, in 1952 Halpert was asked by the State Department to organize the American National Exhibition in Moscow.
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Jewish Women's Archive. "Edith Gregor Halpert." (Viewed on August 7, 2020) <https://jwa.org/people/halpert-edith>.