The gallery, founded by Nicholas Acquavella in the early 1920s, is now a three-generation, family-owned business: Bill Acquavella joined his father in 1960, Bill’s daughter Eleanor joined in 1997, and his sons Nick and Alexander joined in 2000 and 2003 respectively. The gallery first specialized in works of the Italian Renaissance and old master paintings, but Bill expanded the focus to include the masters of Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Cubism, and Surrealism.
Today, the gallery regularly exhibits works by artists such as Paul Cézanne, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Amedeo Modigliani, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Pierre Bonnard, Joan Miró, Fernand Léger, Paul Klee, Alberto Giacometti, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Mark Rothko, Jean Paul Riopelle, Jean Dubuffet, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Cy Twombly, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Lucian Freud.
Berea's American experience begins in 1961, with his debut on the grounds of the Acquavella Gallery in New York, between November 27 and December 22. At the time, the gallery was located at 119 East 57th Street. Berea presented to the American public some of his best works, painted between 1959-1961, most of them being shown to the European public in his retrospective exhibition at the Bernheim Jeune in 1960. Among the works on display is one of the most beautiful and well known painting - "Des fleurs, des fruits et des branches ”. On the occasion of this exhibition, the painting is purchased by Bruno Pagliai, a wealthy Italian industrialist, married to the American actress Merle Oberon between 1957 and 1973. Currently, the painting is in a Romanian private art collection.
The exhibition had a well-deserved success and after 2 years, the Acquavella Gallery invites Berea again to have a new exhibition in the same location in New York. The exhibition takes place between November 18 and December 15, 1963 and in the catalog prefaced by the French art critic Pierre Cabanne, we find a short list, the first of its kind in Berea's catalogs, which contains the names of the private collectors who purchased his paintings. Among those listed, we find the Arthur Tooth & Sons collection in London, but also numerous American famous collectors, a sign that his first exhibition at Acquavella had been a real success for the Romanian artist. We notice paintings recently painted by Berea for this exhibition, among which we list "La Seine au pont des Arts", Paris, 1963, "Sur le pont Mirabeau", works purchased during the exhibition by the spouses John Bass (1891-1978, businessman of Jewish origin, passionate about journalism and art collector) and Johanna Redlich, who founded the Museum of Contemporary Art - Bass Museum of Art, in 1963 and opened to the public in 1964 in Miami Beach, Florida. The Bass family had purchased paintings by Berea also on the occasion of his first exhibition at Acquavella in 1961, among the works purchased were "Sur la terrasse", Cannes, 1960 (panoramic version of the artist's balcony at Cannes), "Une Americaine a Paris", 1961, and the "Gulf of Monte Carlo."
Des fleurs, des fruits et des branches, Cannes, 1960
La Seine au pont des Arts, Paris, 1963
Sur le pont Mirabeau, Paris, 1963