Although the aim of all private art galleries is to sell works of merit, they play a very valuable part in disseminating a love of art, and in giving the connoisseur an opportunity of keeping in touch with current developments. Indeed, it might well be argued that the commercial success of a gallery depends upon the thoroughness with which it performs its propagandist functions, for a demand for works of art arises only through familiarity and knowledge.
London is particularly well served by private galleries which hold exhibitions and publish etchings of real merit; and among those the Twenty-one Gallery since 1926 housed at 15 Mill Street, London, W1 occupies an honourable position. This gallery was founded several years ago by its present principal partner, Mrs A.M. Bernhard-Smith, who, herself an artist, has developed it on the soundest lines. It derives its name from the fact that its original premises were at 21 York Buildings, Adelphi from which a move was made later to Durham House Street, Adelphi. When this latter building was scheduled for demolition in connection with the Strand widening scheme, in 1926, a further removal was effected to the present address, and here, in one of the oldest buildings in the West End, the gallery has a home that provides the right atmosphere for the display of works of art.
Throughout the year, exhibitions of the greatest interest are held at the Gallery. Mrs. Bernhard-Smith has been particularly successful in securing the co-operation of some of the leading workers of the day, for Jacob Epstein was one of the first to exhibit there, and later an exhibition of the work of that great Serbian sculptor Ivan Mestrovic, was arranged. Most of the exhibitions are of a single artist's work, and none but that of the highest merit is accepted.
One other very valuable activity of the gallery is its publication of fine etchings. Etchings are rapidly gaining favour among collectors of original prints, such as those in the Twenty-one Gallery's editions, are eagerly sought after. Some noted etchers of the day have had their works published by this gallery, including F.L. Griggs, A.R.A., the late Edgar Wilson, Robert Austin, R.E., Paul Drury, A.R.E., Graham Sutherland, A.R.E., and Austin Frederick, A.R.E.
A corner of the Twenty-One Gallery
Perfect conditions exist in the Gallery for those interested to examine works at leisure and in comfort.
The Twenty one Gallery is now the Headquarters of the Senefelder Club, which was formed in 1910 for the purpose of continuing the great French revival of interest in the art of lithography, during the latter part of the last century. The Club's exhibitions, always numbered among the chief events of the year, are held regularly in the Gallery and those who are not familiar with the excellent work that is produced by modern lithographers should take the opportunity provided by these exhibitions to acquaint themselves with one of the most delightful vehicles of artistic expression.