The late Gerardus A Widdershoven of Maison Gerard.

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He created a welcoming environment at Maison Gerard with the finest objects, furniture, paintings and other accessories from this luxurious period at his eponymous shop on East 10th Street in New York City.

His impressive clientele included John Lennon and Yoko Ono and many other luminaries from the entertainment world. In addition, museum curators would seek out rarities at Maison Gerard to add to their collections. These included Walter Chrysler Jr, whose collection eventually was gifted to the Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, Virginia and the Utsunomiya Museum of Art in Japan.

Gerard was destined to become a great gallerist. At the early age of 13 he began to accumulate French - and only French - Bakelite, with one exception: the Bakelite Radio Nurse designed by Isamu Noguchi in 1937. He continued to add to this collection throughout his life and this passion opened many doors to new areas.

Buying trips through Europe unearthed important rarities in the burgeoning Deco field. ‘Collections’ were created that would form the basis of scholarly exhibitions so that clients could expand their knowledge.

Ruhlmann pioneer

Maison Gerard was one of the first galleries to highlight the works of Rene Buthaud, Jean-Michel Frank, Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann, Jacques Adnet, Line Vautrin and Jules Bouy long before others recognised their importance and contributions to design of the period.

In addition, Maison Gerard mounted specialised exhibitions, often to complement the gallery’s exhibitions at the important antique shows held at the Park Avenue Armory throughout the year including Modernism, The Winter Antiques Show (where they were one of the very first 20th century dealers invited to exhibit), TEFAF and the Haughtons' international fairs.

Maison Gerard was instrumental in publishing several reference books on the work of Jules Leleu and Maison Leleu, a long overlooked design firm whose importance spanned from Art Deco into the 1960s. Discoveries of entire households of Leleu designs as well as original drawings helped to inform the public about the important contributions Leleu made to the history of 20th century design.

As tastes changed over the years, Maison Gerard expanded beyond Art Deco and Art Moderne into contemporary design from the early years of the 21st century. Without abandoning its commitment to his core collections, the gallery continued to introduce new collectors to the works of Achille Salvagni, Ayala Serfaty, Georgis & Mirgorodsky, Hervé van der Straeten, and Niamh Barry among many others.

In 1998 Gerard welcomed Benoist Drut as a partner at Maison Gerard to ensure the business would continue to thrive after his retirement (12 years later, in 2010). Today the gallery continues its mission to present the finest design, expertise and scholarship of the 20th and 21st centuries to collectors worldwide.

Gerard and his partner of 32 years, abstract painter Nicholas Howey, were married in the Netherlands in 2005, long before same-sex marriage was legal in the United States.

As the AIDS epidemic swept through the arts community in the 1980s, he had been fortunate to become one of the disease’s early survivors. He credited his doctor with the gift of more than 25 years of life.