150 Years Strong: Here’s How The Second Oldest Gallery In The Nation Grew Into A Global Art Empire


James R. Borynack gallery portrait.

The owner of Findlay Galleries, James R. Borynack, began as a salesman in 1972.

With its black-and-white awnings and dramatic bronze sculpture at its entrance, Findlay Galleries beckons well-heeled patrons of Worth Avenue to step inside and admire works by artistic greats—think Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí and more. But the gallery wasn’t always a staple in Palm Beach. Founded in 1870 in Kansas City, Missouri, it took the foresight of third-generation owner Wally Findlay to expand to the island in 1960.

“As Findlay worked with his clients in this charmed town, he understood that Palm Beach was the perfect setting to view and enjoy art,” says Findlay Galleries CEO James R. Borynack. “He also predicted that in time, the ‘season’ would extend beyond a couple of months, and it would be more advantageous to have a full-service gallery.”

Oil painting on canvas by Gilles Gorriti

"Le baie de San Sebastian II" by Gilles Gorriti.

Colorful painting

A colorful painting on display in the gallery.

Metallic statues in Findlay Galleries.

These statues are displayed in Findlay Galleries' Palm Beach location.

Colorful artwork

This modern artwork is exhibited in Findlay Galleries.

That move proved successful: Today, the gallery is celebrating 150 years in business, making it the second-oldest in the country, and represents 75 artists and artist estates specializing in Impressionism, European Modernism, L’École de Rouen, L’École de Paris and 20th-century American art. Its influence is recognized worldwide, with locations in New York City and Palm Beach and affiliate galleries in Europe and Asia. Works sold have graced the walls of the White House, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Norton Museum of Art and several French museums, among others.

“We believe in the beauty and value of art created by disciplined artists who have honed their craft and utilize their talent and spirit to imagine works imbued with beauty, regardless of the style or period,” says Borynack, who got his start with Findlay Galleries in 1972 as a salesman. Over the years, he moved up the ranks, eventually becoming director and senior vice president. After a hiatus, serving as chairman of Philips North America and a private advisor, he became Findlay Galleries’ CEO in 1997 and acquired the entire company in 1998.

Building on the momentum of this milestone year, Borynack’s vision is to continue what has garnered success for more than a century: not kowtowing to trends but working with artists based on “aesthetic merit.” “It is easy to fall prey to the illusion of what is fashionable,” he says. On the horizon is an art book chronicling the gallery’s history as well as special programming in each location. Of particular note, the New York City outpost will return to its original East 57th Street address, where it opened in 1964.

“We live our dream every day,” Borynack says. “We have some of the most brilliant and capable associates in the business. Our clients are kind, successful and interesting people who come to us when they are looking to add more joy and beauty to their lives and the lives of their loved ones.”