Ed Merrin – Blog

Philanthropy, floristry, garden design and antiquities are just a few of the host of things that make up who Ed Merrin is.

NYU & Merrin: Improving Bedside Patient Care

by Merrin Gallery Press

Ed is a keen supporter of NYU’s Program for Medical Education Innovations and Research (PrMEIR) through the Merrin Bedside Teaching Program.

The PrMEIR reception with Dr. Lipkin, Dr. Crowe and Mr. Merrin engaged in conversation

Dr. Lipkin, Dr. Crowe and Mr. Merrin at PrMEIR's annual reception at the NYU Medical Center

From its founding in 2003, there have been several new additions to the team and, among other generous donors, Ed and Vivian Merrin were honored at PrMEIR’s receiption on June 7th 2011, which was preceded by mention in the Fall 2010 edition of Tufts Magazine:

PrMEIR’s faculty development programs have been made possible by the deeply appreciated support of private philanthropists, such as the Merrin and Zabar families. A primary goal of these programs has been to help reverse the nation-wide decline in bedside teaching resulting from technological advances and shorter hospital stays.

Photo of Dr. Greene, Dr. Shah, Mr. & Mrs. Merrin, Dr. Felson, Dr. Mints and Dr. Wong

The Merrin Bedside Teaching Program was created in 2003 to improve the proficiency and quality of this essential instructional technique within the Division of Greater Internal Medicine. The program’s keystone, the Merrin Master Clinician Fellowship Program, provides selected Internal Medicine faculty with training to become masters of the physical examination and experts in teaching physical diagnosis skills at the bedside. Read the rest of this entry »


The Contemporary Mystery of Ancient Cycladic Art

by Ed Merrin

Sparkling white marble was carved into “minimalist” sculptures of figures — predominantly female — as well as vessels and other objects in the third millennium BC in the group of Aegean islands called “the Cyclades”. We now know that the figures were not as deceptively reductive as they appear today, as they were originally painted, at least with facial features, if not overall.

So, like the sculptures of Greece and Rome that mostly survive in pristine monochrome, Cycladic figures have come to represent an aesthetic — in this case, modernism — that differs from that of their creation. When such objects were first discovered, in the 19th century, it was their starkness that made them reviled. However, it is a happy accident that their streamlined forms seem to prefigure styles of 20th century art, as they have come tobe embraced, appreciated, collected, and preserved as a result.

A marble head of the Cycladic. This piece was sold by Ed Merrin to the J. Paul Getty Museum.

Some figures retain variations in surface preservation in the outlines of long-gone paint. These barely visible details are called “paint ghosts”.

Various styles evolved on different islands through time. These styles have been given names such as “Speedos variety”, “Dokathismata variety”, “Plastiras type”, etc. Also, individual artists’ styles have been discerned and where that occurs, the anonymous artist has been granted a name, usually based on the name piece’s modern collection location. Cycladic figurative sculptures range in size from miniature to life-size. The production of the largest figures suggests that well-organized and stratified societies.

The most frequent type is a female with arms across the midriff. The breasts and the pubic triangle — the essences of fertility — remain visible. Thus, some scholars believe that the figures are representative of a mother-goddess or fertility cult. The feet are rarely in a flat position that would permit the sculptures to stand upright. Rather, the feet are usually pointed. Thus, the likely disposition of the figures was in a reclining position, something that encrustation analysis supports.

What do the figures mean and how were they used? Those questions are still being investigated. But as with all ancient artifacts that are not purely functional or decorative, cult and ritual practice, religious worship, afterlife intercession, or ancestor reverence are all possible rationales for the creation of these magnificent works.

Cycladic art has long been a key favorite in the Merrin Gallery’s collection and, as the New York Times reported in 1989, Ed Merrin caused quite a stir in the market.

Flower Arrangements Tickle the Fancy of Edward Merrin

by Merrin Gallery Press

The New York Botanic Gardens is publishing a book on the arrangement of flowers by Edward Merrin with photos by Ismael Ramirez. It is a book of 250 arrangements, and will be of coffee table size.

This volume will be the start of a series of publications. It will be available in August 2011, to hit book stores for the full run for the Christmas season 2011.

Blue Water Lillys - Ed Merrins Favorite

Founder and former owner of New York’s Fifth Avenue Merrin Gallery, Edward Merrin has, together with his wife Vivian, been at the forefront of garden design, flower arrangements, and other nature-inspired pursuits. The Merrin couple are also avid philanthropists, having recently made donations to aid financial programs at Tufts University for students who otherwise would not be able to attend.

Edward Merrin has been involved with various charities, NGOs, and other organizations for his whole life; notably the Infants’ Home of Brooklyn, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (AJJDC), Childville, and the American Friends of the Israel Museum (AFIM).

The availability and specific details of the flower arrangement publication will follow shortly. Please watch this space.

Edward Merrin, A Dealer of Renown

by Merrin Gallery Press

As for many, Edward’’s destiny began on his honeymoon – though, not only through his marriage to Vivian. On their honeymoon in Mexico, Edward discovered pre-Columbian art – although he wasn’t the first. (Columbus was.)

At first, Ed used the ancient South American figurines as a display in his family’’s jewelry store, but eventually, sometime around the mid-1960’s, his interest in pre-Columbian works developed into The Merrin Gallery, a full-blown ancient art business! Edward’s passion and appreciation for the elegance of pre-Columbian art,” led to his status as a true connoisseur of art of this New World. In time, his business came to encompass the ancient art of the Old World – ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt, as well as the Near East and Europe.

In the present day, there is scarcely a major museum in the US that has not acquired works at the Merrin Gallery (as well as many throughout the world). Private collectors in these fields, as well, have been nurtured. The personal connection between an art dealer and client is a special one. Responding to a client’’s interests and passions, the dealer is called upon to find the perfect object to become a part of the client’’s life. This exploration often occurred over a long period of time, as the collector was exposed to a myriad of choices, and came to trust Ed Merrin’’s taste and expertise.

Wishes for the New Year

by Ed Merrin

Wishing everyone a happy New Year. May 2011 bring your dreams to life!

America’s Top Donors

by Merrin Gallery Press

Edward Merrin was included in The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s directory of America’s top contributors and their beneficiaries. It was on account of the New Yorker’s recent gift:

Tufts University (Medford, Mass.) has received a pledge of $30-million from Edward H. Merrin, founder of the Merrin Gallery, an antiquities gallery in New York, and his wife, Vivian, for financial aid. Mr. Merrin graduated from the university in 1950 with a bachelor’s degree in economics and is a former trustee. The couple’s three sons also graduated from Tufts. Before this gift, they donated nearly $9-million to the university.

The philanthropy blog also featured him in another article, though perhaps the best discussion of Edward and his gift to Tufts comes from The Tufts Daily (the independent student newspaper of Tufts University):

[Edward] Merrin’s gift is part an estate-related plan that will come from his will, making up 20 percent of his estate. It will fund the Merrin-Bacow Scholarship, in honor of University President Lawrence Bacow.

Edward and Vivian Merrin. Credit: Sam Merrin (via The Tufts Daily).

“Larry will be our partner; it’s really being done in his honor because I’ve had such admiration for him,” Merrin told the Daily.

Bacow expressed his appreciation for the Merrins’ gift, noting that it would support a cause that is especially close to his heart.

Read the rest of this entry »

About Edward’s Philanthropy

by Merrin Gallery Press

Retired as the founder of The Merrin Gallery ancient art business, but continuing with his life-long humanitarian work, Edward Merrin hopes to do his part to help change the world.