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The son of New York gallerist Martha Jackson (1907-1969), David K. Anderson fell in love with abstract art as a high school student, inspired by a Willem de Kooning painting which hung in the living room where he did his homework each evening. While pursuing business studies at the University at Buffalo, Anderson spent summers working in New York City at the Martha Jackson Gallery, where he used his administrative skills and keen appreciation of modern art to help the gallery remain competitive within a burgeoning art market.

A prominent gallerist and collector in his own right, Anderson began to deal independently in 1959, specializing in the prints of abstract expressionist artists. In 1961, he opened a gallery in Paris, expanding his stable to include major European artists. Returning to Manhattan six years later, he assisted his mother before taking over her gallery upon her death in 1969.

Believing that he could have the best of both worlds—run a gallery in New York City and raise a family in Western New York—Anderson commuted between New York and Buffalo for many years. “When I first saw the abandoned school building that would become my Buffalo gallery, located in the student residential section near UB, I bought it with the intention of sharing it with the university,” he says.

Anderson converted the building into a state-of-the-art exhibition space and managed it as a commercial gallery beginning in 1991 before donating it to the University at Buffalo in 2000. His gift also included a collection of 1,200 works of art, extensive archives from the Martha Jackson and David Anderson galleries, and a trust to assist with exhibition and gallery support.