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Emily Hall Tremaine papers, 1890-2000

Biographical Note

Art collector Emily Hall Tremaine (1908-1987) lived in New York City and Madison, Connecticut, and was known for having assembled one of the most noteworthy collections of post World War II art focused on modernist, pop, and contemporary artists.
Tremaine was born in Butte, Montana, to mining executive William Hubbard Hall and his wife, Elizabeth Smith Hall. Her first marriage to Baron Maximilian von Romberg was well publicized in the society pages of the time and ended with von Romberg's death in a plane accident in 1938. Tremaine's second marriage to sugar heir Adolph B. Spreckels, Jr., ended in divorce in 1940.
While Tremaine collected art in the 1930s, it was not until her 1945 marriage to industrial executive Burton Tremaine that she began acquiring works in earnest. Together, the Tremaines assembled a collection that initially focused on American and European modern artists and would eventually include emerging pop and contemporary art. Their first purchase was Piet Mondrian's unfinished painting, Victory Boogie Woogie, now owned by the Gemeentemuseum. The collection would eventually number over four hundred works of art and range from paintings by Picasso, Kandinsky, and Georges Braque to works by Jasper Johns, Claes Oldenburg, Roy Lichtenstein, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. While single pieces were sold, traded, or donated throughout Tremaine's active collecting years, the bulk of the collection was sold at auction in 1988 and 1991 to raise funds for the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation. Tremaine died from complications of emphysema in 1987.