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Victor D. Spark papers, circa 1830-1983, bulk 1930-1970

Biographical Note

Victor D. Spark (1898-1991) was a prominent New York City appraiser and art dealer who specialized in Old Masters paintings as well as 19th and early 20th century art.
Spark was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1898. When he was two years old, the Spark family moved to Harlem. His father worked in the hotel business and owned hotels in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Europe. Spark briefly attended the City College of New York before transferring to New York University, where he studied for half a year, then enlisted in the Marines Corps during World War I and served overseas for 2 years. After his discharge, Spark returned to NYU where he majored in French, an interest he acquired during his military service. After graduation, Spark married Nina and went to Europe to help his father manage a summer hotel. There, he became interested in art.
Spark returned to the U.S., continuing to work for his father until 1929. Spark was involved with decorating and furnishing the hotels and often purchased antiques, artwork, and furniture, furthering his arts interests and knowledge. He began working in a gallery, acquiring works of art and dividing the sales profits with the gallery owners. Spark had no formal art education and his taste and eye for art was gained primarily through his travels in Europe. He also had a good business sense about what might sell for profit in the U.S.
Spark made frequent art buying trips across the United States to cities such as Boston and Philadelphia and returned to New York with paintings that he sold. Spark never owned a gallery, but he occasionally held exhibits, such as one titled "101 American Painters," inside the apartment. Although Spark specialized in 19th to early 20th century American art, he also sold European art work acquired during trips to Europe following World War II.
Spark continued his work selling paintings to museums, collectors, and other art dealers, until the 1970s. He was most active from the 1930s through World War II. As a prominent dealer for over four decades, Spark came to know many luminaries of the New York art scene, such as art dealer and gallery owner Edith Halpert. Spark died in 1991.