While walking on Calle Principal in Monterey, CA you might miss what is located at street number 406, next to an expensive French restaurant. That is the address of the Willem Photographic Gallery. Don't be fooled by its inconspicuous storefront. With a $6 million dollar collection of more than 1,700 framed photographs on its walls, Willem Photographic is considered the largest fine art gallery in the country. As the lights are turned on revealing wall after wall of images by iconic photographers such as Richard Avedon, Ruth Bernhard, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Michael Kenna, Robert Mapplethorpe, Tom Millea, Irving Penn, Edward Steichen, Andre Kertesz, Brett Weston, Edward Weston and others, one cannot help but be overcome by a sense of AWE.
The owner, photography collector and dealer Brooke Gabrielson, knows the subject, the photographer and the story behind each photograph in his collection. A collection that includes nude and non-nude photos of Hollywood celebrities before they were famous. I learned, for example, the Ally McGraw started as an assistant to photographer Melvin Sokolsky before dedicating to her acting career.
He has a special appreciation of glamour and fashion photographers from the 30s. He is particularly proud of the "Chrissy Portfolio", a limited edition portfolio published by Willem Photographic consisting of sixteen 16x20 archival pigment prints of model Chrissy photographed by Dominic Petruzzi.
A new air-conditioned addition to the gallery is the Melvin Sokolsky Room, displaying over 130 of his best images including the "bubble" and "fly" collections. The 60’s "Bubble on the Seine" garnered the “Iconic Fashion Image of the Past 100 Years” by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
The Willem Photographic Gallery is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday - Friday and 11 to 1 Saturday or contact the gallery for more info at email@example.com.