Published: September 12, 2017
NEW YORK CITY — Eleanor Tulman Hancock, a dealer in North American Indian Art, died after a brief illness on June 15. She is survived by her beloved son, Mason, and granddaughter, Leah, as well as her husband of 46 years, James. Eleanor was predeceased by her brother, Eli, and former husbands, composer Lan Adomian and physicist Marcel Weinrich.
Hancock pursued a master’s degree in English from Union College in Schenectady, N.Y. After college, she began a career as an actress in New York City. She worked in public relations before discovering her passion for American Indian jewelry, which led to an intensive study of Native American art. A respected specialist for more than 50 years, she handled notable examples of jewelry, pottery, basketry, kachinas, beadwork and Northwest Coast and Inuit art. She owned several First Phase chiefs’ blankets, among the most sought-after of Navajo textiles.
Hancock became a trusted adviser to major collectors and museums in the United States and Europe. Objects once in her possession are now in collections formed by Ralph T. Coe, Charles and Valerie Diker and Eugene and Clare Thaw, and are exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Fenimore Art Museum, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History, the Brooklyn Museum and the National Museum of the American Indian, of which she was an early supporter.
Hancock was a longtime member of the Antique Tribal Art Dealers’ Association (ATADA) and the Appraisers Association of America.
A devotee of all the arts, Hancock shared her love of theater, museums, ballet and concerts with her many devoted friends. She will be remembered for her spirit, generosity and concern for friends and family, as well as for her fashion flair, which always included spectacular antique silver and turquoise jewelry.
Memorials are planned for late September and early October in Gloucester, Mass., and New York City. For details, please write firstname.lastname@example.org.
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