A GALLERY OF GREATS

Byline: Holly Haber

Fort Worth suffered a big loss three years ago when the esteemed Dr. Edmund “Ted” Pillsbury resigned as director of the city’s Kimbell Museum — but fortunately for Dallas, he has landed here.
The art expert now presides over Pillsbury and Peters Fine Art on Fairmount Street, which was formerly known as the Gerald Peters Gallery. And if you step inside this serene environment, you can peruse and purchase works by Picasso, Matisse, Degas, Vuillard and Alexander Calder, among other giants of modern art, plus top contemporary artists.
Pillsbury became managing partner in the business about a year ago, and has supervised the renovation of a refined three-building complex that will feature a sunroom and sculpture garden when it is completed in March. Two of the buildings, which once housed Bifano Furs, opened their doors in January.
“I want to strike a balance between [exhibiting] artists from this region and the best Contemporary Art from elsewhere and also show classic Modern Art, like Picasso and Matisse and Hockney,” said Pillsbury. “We’ll show photography as well. It’s affordable and there’s a lot of great material available.”
With his broad knowledge of fine art, Pillsbury is determined to exhibit only high-quality works, and his international connections — he’s a great-grandson of the founder of Pillsbury Milling Co., graduated from Yale University, studied extensively in London and Florence and has served on 23 arts-related boards — insure that many of the works won’t stay in Dallas.
“I hope I will never have anything in this building simply for the sake of making a buck,” Pillsbury asserted. “Whatever I have here will be something I would have in my own home.”
The gallery began the year with an exhibit of Wayne Thiebaud’s colorful portraits of cakes, pies and other goodies. Its tentative opening schedule for the first half of the year includes the works of Virgil Grotfeldt, starting March 9; George Segal, March 30; Mac Whitney, April 20; and Richard Stout, May 4.
After leaving the Kimbell Museum, Pillsbury spent a few years as a private art consultant, which included a stint at the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art in Las Vegas. He got back into gallery management, he said, because he missed interacting with and educating people.
“I’ve gone from being a public servant to a private servant,” he mused. “A museum is a soapbox for people like me — to teach and get people excited.
“Now, I’m trying to get people to take art home and discover the joy of living with it. I think it would be nice if people didn’t just buy beautiful homes and cars and airplanes but also acquired art because they believe in its value and want to attach themselves to something more enduring. That is the psychic reward of art — what it gives you as well as how it might increase in value.” 2913 Fairmount Street; 214-969-9410.