(b Buffalo, NY, July 8, 1896; d New York, Nov 23, 1989).
American dealer, collector, and writer. He first worked as a professional ballroom dancer, aeronautical mechanic, and businessman. During business trips to New York he began visiting museums and art galleries in the 57th Street area. He moved to New York in 1924, married Harriet Grossman (1898–1963) in 1925 and in 1926 founded the M’Lord Shirt Company. He began collecting art in 1926, acquiring one of the finest collections of the Ecole de Paris in the USA. On successive trips to Europe, he met Fernand Léger, Pablo Picasso, Piet Mondrian, Constantin Brancusi, Marcel Duchamp, and other major European artists. After acquiring The Dream by Henri Rousseau (New York, MOMA) he became interested in American naive painters, including Grandma Moses and Morris Hirshfield, on whom he published a study in 1942.
Having dissolved his business in 1939 to devote himself full-time to writing and lecturing on art, in 1949 Janis opened the ...