The story begins in the Wild West frontier town of Kansas City, Missouri; yet it leads to the peaceful French gardens where Claude Monet painted water lilies. It touches upon many colorful locales and fascinating people, especially in the world of art. It has been a century and a half in the making, and it is the story of Findlay Galleries. With the 150th anniversary of the business having been celebrated last year, it seems an apt time to look back at a story that began in 1870, in an unlikely place.
During the 1870s, Kansas City was more associated with saloons and shootouts than with paintings and artists. One of the most famous, or rather infamous, Missourians of the time was Jesse James; in the neighboring state of Kansas, Wyatt Earp was serving as lawman in Dodge City, where he met Doc Holliday.
In a daring move, a man named William Wadsworth Findlay decided that this frontier territory would be a good environment in which to open an art gallery. He was convinced that since Kansas City was a crossroads between the Eastern Seaboard and California, it would be a strategic location for a venture that he hoped would grow.