Historic Marietta Art Gallery to close after nearly 50 years

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October 14 — MARIETTA – Knoke Fine Arts, the famous supplier of American paintings to Marietta, will close its doors next year.

At 84, owner Dave Knoke says it’s time to hang up after some 50 years in the art world.

Knoke and Debbie Charter, his longtime business partner, spent decades traveling the country and developing an affinity for American paintings of the 19th and 20th centuries. Their careers span from the days when Southern art and folk art was considered a curiosity, if at all, to its current recognition as a vital part of American culture.

“It was a great race,” Knoke told the Journal. “We’re just having this wonderful time with it all. I can’t wait to get here tomorrow morning to see all of these beautiful paintings.”

Knoke started out as an amateur collector before opening the gallery. For a while he operated in Sandy Springs, before bringing him back to Marietta some 20 years ago.

The gallery, Knoke said, is unique among its peers in that it specializes in “the art of investment” – remarkable pieces traded by collectors that rise in value over the years.

“I have no problem with that, but… there is a huge difference between what we sell and the decorative art that people buy to match the curtains and the sofa,” Knoke said.

Among the artists with whom Knoke has worked extensively are Georgians Lamar Dodd and Wilbur Kurtz. A particular favorite was Athos Menaboni, the painter of Italian origin renowned for his depictions of birds.

“Dave probably handled more Athos Menaboni paintings than any other dealer,” Charter said.

In addition to collecting and exchanging works of art, Knoke has also forged relationships with curators at the Morris Museum in Augusta and the Booth Museum in Cartersville, among others.

“If I have one thing to leave with you about the past 50 years, it’s relationships,” he said. “The friends we made – not just collectors, but museum directors … that’s been the funniest part of the job.”


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