When you have a lot of time on your hands, you might want to explore a passion that may turn into a new career. That’s what happened to Kenny Ackerman, the owner, founder and director of Ackerman’s Fine Art in Purchase, who opened the gallery in 2011.
“There’s really nobody like us,” Ackerman told the Review about his 2900 Westchester Ave. space. “People come in from the neighborhood and say, ‘How come I didn’t know about this place?’”
Ackerman, 54, lives in Chappaqua, just a 20-minute car ride from his specialty gallery. Ackerman’s Fine Art recently opened a second viewing space at the 2900 Westchester Ave. commercial office building to accommodate the gallery’s growing, unique collection. Prices for the artwork range from $25,000 to millions of dollars, supported by an international network of experts, dealers and advisers that Ackerman has built over the years. He did not want to commute into the city, nor did he want the hustle and bustle of a retail store. The accessibility of the office building in Purchase is one thing that sold Ackerman to open at the office park, as most of his business comes from outside the area.
Having left the life of a Wall Street trader more than 15 years ago, Ackerman was inspired to open an art gallery after his second trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2003, with his wife, who is an avid art lover, and young daughter.
He came across a collection that left the biggest impression on him. “I just fell in love with art when we went to the Impressionist section,” he said of the 19th century art movement, with arguably his favorite artist, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, as one of the style’s pioneers. “When I walked out of there, I said to my wife, ‘I think this is something I could do.’”
Now he just had to learn the fine art business from scratch. He did so with the help of his wife, observing auctions, studying books and visiting museums and galleries nationwide. “I learned the hard way,” Ackerman said. “I’m always learning, every day.”
Ackerman is a self-made art dealer, having done everything on his own. He was even buying art while making connections, and learned some valuable lessons along the way. “[Other dealers] didn’t really care that I was getting ripped off, buying stuff that wasn’t that good,” he said. “I got to see what the art world was all about.”
This learning experience is what inspired Ackerman to open a gallery that wants to help people make the best purchase, “saving them time, money and aggravation.”
What sets Ackerman’s Fine Art apart is its one-on-one, personal service. “We pick and choose who we deal with,” Ackerman said. “We let the art do the talking.”
Ackerman’s Fine Art
2900 Westchester Ave., Suite 107
Purchase, NY 10577