Published: May 11, 2017
DALLAS, TEXAS – It is with regret that we report the passing of dealer and auctioneer Tony Altermann, who helped create a thriving market for historic and contemporary Western and Native American art and artifacts, first in a gallery setting and later with auctions in Dallas, Scottsdale and Santa Fe. Altermann died at his Dallas home on March 12. He was 76.
Born in Dallas on August 10, 1940, Mark Anthony Altermann served in the US Air Force before attending the University of North Texas, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees. For a brief period, he was theater librarian in the fine arts department of the Dallas Public Library. He subsequently entered the motion picture industry as an advertising and publicity specialist, first with ABC Interstate Motion Picture Theatres and then at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer as division manager for advertising and publicity.
At about the same time, Altermann founded his own advertising agency in Dallas. Agency work with an art gallery prompted his decision to become a dealer himself. Over the years, he owned or operated, with others, galleries in Dallas, Houston, Scottsdale, Phoenix, Jackson Hole, Hilton Head and New York City. He founded Altermann Galleries & Auctioneers in 1978.
In a tribute published in its May issue, Western Art Collector cited Altermann’s instrumental role in developing the current market for Western paintings and sculpture. Altermann, wrote the magazine, “was a prominent force at his own auctions, where he would often help man the phones at the back of the room, but also at museum and gallery exhibitions around the country, where he would mingle with the artists, many of whom he represented early in their careers.”
Art dealer Jack Morris told Western Art Collector that his colleague “learned his trade from Bill Burford of Texas Art Gallery in Dallas – the pioneer of today’s contemporary Western art auctions – in the late 1970s…”. Altermann’s son Richard noted his father’s “special interest” in emerging artists, including “many of the former illustrators who were turning to fine art and members of the Cowboy Artists of America.”
Altermann Galleries & Auctioneers continues under the direction of Richard Altermann. The firm’s next auction is planned for August 11 and 12 in Santa Fe.
Tony and Richard Altermann at their August 2016 auction in Santa Fe, N.M.
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