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Allan Frumkin started his eponymous gallery in Chicago in 1952. Initially showing a range of artists, both European and American, post-war and otherwise, Frumkin soon narrowed his focus to a particular style of non-conforming, uniquely American art. He was notably an early advocate of artists such as Peter Saul and H. C. Westermann, giving both their first solo exhibitions in the States; realist painters such as Robert Barnes, Jack Beal, Paul Georges, James McGarrell and Philip Pearlstein; as well as several prominent artists from the Bay Area such as Roy De Forest, Jeremy Anderson, William T Wiley and Robert Hudson, later Robert Arneson, Richard Shaw and Joan Brown. In 1959 he opened a second space in New York which, by the mid-70s, became the gallery's primary location. The Chicago space continued to operate, later as the partnership Frumkin & Struve together with former gallery director William Struve, beginning in 1979. Eventually Frumkin chose to focus on the New York business, stepping away from the Chicago gallery in 1986.

George Adams was hired at the New York gallery in 1980, soon taking on the role of director and proving instrumental in introducing many prominent Latin American artists to the gallery's program. In 1988, the gallery was re-formed as the partnership, Frumkin/Adams Gallery, which continued up to Frumkin's retirement in 1994 when Adams took over the business under the name George Adams Gallery. The Archives of the Allan Frumkin Gallery and the Frumkin/Adams Gallery remain in the George Adams Gallery files.