News and Events
Daniel Wolf '72
July 15, 1999
Daniel Wolf '72 began collecting art when he was an Exeter student on School Year Abroad in France. "I first saw 19th century photographs in an antiques store in Rennes," he recalls. "I was blown away. They were more beautiful than anything from the 20th century." During his years as a student at Bennington, Wolf made regular trips to Europe and sent home boxes of photographs and old travel albums. He went on to open a gallery in New York selling 19th-century photographs. By 1983, Wolf was recognized as one of the leading photography dealers in the world. Today he is a private dealer in photography, pre-Columbian art and 20th-century art and furniture, and a major collector in his own right. "I'm always collecting something. It's just in your blood" Wolf's collections—or addictions, as he calls them—include everything from aluminum by Wendell August to Warhols from the late '60s, and six tons of quartz stored in New York and Colorado. He says he has tried to interest his wife, the architect/artist Maya Lin, in the quartz, but she has declined to put it to use.
Recently Wolf's collection of ancient vessels from Asia and the Americas was featured in an exhibit at the Lamont Gallery at Phillips Exeter. Classmate and gallery director Samuel Heath '72 had seen the Chinese bronzes and pre-Columbian vessels from Mexico and Central America when visiting Wolf and knew he wanted to exhibit them. From the approximately 350 pieces in the collection, a number of which Wolf acquired at flea markets, Heath chose 80 for the show. Vessels originally used for pouring wine during religious rituals and protecting the ashes of the dead were displayed alongside containers used for storing agricultural products and cooking food. "I wouldn't call myself a collector of vessels, but I am," Wolf comments. "The exhibit verified this almost subconscious activity of mine for the last 20 years."
— Katherine Towlet