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Arwin Galleries records, 1948-1981

Historical Note

The Arwin Galleries (est. 1963-1981) was founded by Lester and Kathleen (Kitty) Arwin in Detroit, Michigan.
Although intending to move to Chicago in the 1930s, Lester Arwin found himself remaining in Detroit due to lack of funds. There he spent time observing Diego Rivera painting the murals at the Detroit Institute of Art. He also visited Rivera's studio and purchased his first piece of artwork, thus beginning his career as an art collector and dealer. Arwin served as director of Grinnell Art Galleries prior to opening his own business.
In 1963, Lester and his wife Kitty opened the Arwin Galleries, specializing in contemporary art, in Robinsons Furniture Store on Washington Boulevard. A fire at the gallery in 1963 destroyed approximately $300,000 worth of artwork, including works by Picasso with an estimated value of $150,000. The Arwin Galleries reopened at W. Grand River in 1965. The Arwins worked closely with many renowned artists such as Richard Kozlow, Ben Shahn, and numerous others.
Lester and Kitty Arwin died in 1981.