Queer Places:
Jordan-Volpe Gallery, 958 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10021

Vance Jordan (February 14, 1943 – October 20, 2003) was a leading dealer in American art and a pioneer in promoting the American Arts and Crafts Movement.

In the late 1970's Jordan and his cousin Tod Volpe ran the Jordan-Volpe Gallery on West Broadway in SoHo. It specialized in American Arts and Crafts furniture and pottery along with paintings by American expatriate artists like Edwin Lord Weeks, H. Siddons Mowbray, Julius LeBlanc Stewart and Charles Caryl Coleman. At a time when many of these objects were considered little more than flea-market finds, the gallery's exhibitions and catalogs help educate the collecting public, elevating work by furniture makers like Gustav Stickley and objects by the Arts and Crafts ceramist William H. Fulper 2nd to hot collectibles that over the years ended up adorning homes from Hollywood to Manhattan and the permanent collections of museums across the country.

Born on Feb. 14, 1943, Jordan grew up in Yonkers, the son of Lillian and Joseph Jordan. He graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1964 with a degree in engineering. Instead of pursuing his studies, however, Jordan first became a squash pro at the New York Athletic Club. In the late 1960's and in the 1970's, he ran the Joe Jordan Talent Agency, a children's talent agency founded by his father in 1966.

But his first love was art. After more than a decade in SoHo, in 1987 he moved his gallery to Madison Avenue and changed its name to Vance Jordan Fine Art. It was then that he began concentrating on important American paintings of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, holding exhibitions on subjects ranging from Stewart to paintings and watercolors by Childe Hassam and another devoted to the still lives of John La Farge.

In 1996 Jordan financed an exhibition at his gallery consisting of 25 American paintings from the permanent collection of the Brooklyn Museum of Art. He held an opening that was a benefit, raising about $160,000 to finance a catalog of the museum's historic American oil paintings.

Jordan was himself a tireless collector whose tastes ran from the whimsical to the serious. Not wanting to compete with his clients, he chose far different areas on which to focus. His Manhattan apartment was filled with an astonishing array of unexpected collections ranging from Swatch watches and antique clown shoes to Italian crib figures and 19th-century Italian painting.

Jordan served on the board of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia.

He died on October 20, 2003, at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan. He was 60 and lived in Manhattan. The cause of death was cancer, his sister, Jill Spangler, said.

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  1. https://www.nytimes.com/2003/10/21/arts/vance-jordan-60-a-dealer-in-turn-of-the-century-art.html