Published: August 26, 2008
Minna Rosenblatt, a leading figure among the first generation of antiques dealers responsible for the 1950s revival of Tiffany lamps and French, Austrian and American art glass from the Art Nouveau period, died August 2 at her country home of natural causes, she was 94.
A Brooklyn native, born June 29, 1914, Minna Gootnick began her career at 16 as an underage temporary employee of Macy’s at Herald’s Square during the 1930 Christmas season. She exhibited such an uncanny aptitude as a salesperson that the position quickly became a permanent one. While there, Gootnick spent all of her free time on the eighth floor in the fine glass and china department, enthralled by the objects on display.
Seven years later she left Macy’s to marry Saul Levy and raise a family.
Rosenblatt held a number of jobs during and after World War II to help support her then-husband and two young sons. Levy died in 1947. Minna’s love of antique glass resurfaced with her subsequent marriage one year later to Sidney Rosenblatt, a nationally renowned and award-winning journalist at Parade Magazine. With Sidney’s encouragement, she began dealing antiques from the basement of their modest home on Stuart Street in Brooklyn. Most of these pieces were obtained for friends and neighbors and were purchased from local shops, flea markets and even the Salvation Army.
From those humble beginnings came her first storefront on Flatbush Avenue. As collectors recognized her discerning eye, extraordinary expertise, willingness to share her knowledge and sound advice, the business grew and led to the establishment of a series of galleries on Madison Avenue in Manhattan.
Rosenblatt, together with Lillian Nassau, Maude Feld, Bea Weiss and Gladys Koch, are largely credited with restoring Louis Comfort Tiffany’s artistic and commercial reputation. Arlie Sulka, current owner of Lillian Nassau LLC, recently said of Minna, “She was one of the original ‘Tiffany Girls’ who helped create the market and the interest that exists today.”
Rosenblatt’s international clientele rant the gamut from leaders of industry to prominent figures in the fields of entertainment and politics, including the likes of Walter P. Chrysler Jr, David Geffen and Barbra Streisand. Rosenblatt’s near 50-year career culminated in 2003, at which time Christie’s auction house held a landmark sale of the remaining art objects from the gallery. A year or two earlier, Fordham University honored her and her husband’s philanthropic and academic contributions by renaming one of its institutions, generously supported by the couple, the Sidney and Minna Rosenblatt Holocaust Library. The facility is considered one of the top 25 libraries of its kind in the world.
In addition to Saul Levy, Minna Rosenblatt was predeceased by her second husband, Sidney Rosenblatt and by her son Joshua. Survivors include her sons George Rosenblatt of Walker Valley, N.Y., and Daniel Rosenblatt of San Carlos, Calif., her sister Rose Levine of Brooklyn, N.Y., her brother Seymour Gootnick of Plainview, N.Y., six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be announced at a later date.
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