Bonfoey Gallery: 130 Years of Excellence
More than half of all small businesses fail after five years, but the Bonfoey Gallery has persevered and kept serving the Cleveland community for more than a century. Here is a quick look back at our roots.
Bonfoey Gallery was established in 1893 by Asher D. Bonfoey. He was a violinist who arrived in Cleveland to play in the Euclid Avenue Opera House as a member of the Cleveland Philharmonic Orchestra. For Valentine’s Day, Asher crafted a frame to display a valentine he received from his wife, Della—leading to requests from friends and family for handmade frames. Their small business grew to the point where, in 1893, they opened their storefront at the Mayer Marks Building on 268 Erie Street (East 9th Street).
Early in our history, Bonfoey’s served many notable clients such as John D. Rockefeller and Henry Ford. In 1903, a fire ended operations on Erie Street, and the gallery was moved to a new location at 2069 East 4th Street. In 1928, George Moore joined the Bonfoey Company: he was assigned to work in every aspect of the business to prepare him as Asher Bonfoey’s successor.
After the retirement of Asher and Della Bonfoey in 1939, George Moore took over as owner of the business. During this time, Bonfoey Gallery saw its clientele change from prominent private citizens to a more corporate client base, such as The Plain Dealer and Firestone Tire & Rubber. After Asher Bonfoey passed away in 1953, Moore maintained the Bonfoey policy of investing in high-quality work and materials.
In 1955, George’s son, Richard Moore joined the company. Like his father, Richard Moore spent his early years learning every aspect of the business, spending time in framing, restoration, and sales. In 1961, Bonfoey Gallery fell victim to another fire, prompting relocation of the company to its current address, 1710 Euclid Avenue. After being named company president in 1971, Richard Moore invited watercolorist Richard Treaster to exhibit his work at the gallery, which led to Bonfoey becoming the first commercial gallery to “present and promote Cleveland artists.”
This year, in celebration of our 130th year, we will be having an anniversary exhibition which will open on October 6. Check out our website (bonfoey.com) or follow us on Instagram and Facebook (@bonfoeygallery) for more updates—we welcome you to join us!
THE BONFOEY GALLERY
1710 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44115
Bonfoey’s 130th Anniversary Party, 5pm Friday, October 6