Safani Gallery Inc. was established in 1998. Specializing in museum quality works of art from ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt and the Near East, Safani Gallery Inc. holds a prominent position in the international market for ancient art.
Our clients include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Detroit Institute of Fine Arts, the Freer Gallery of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Stuttgart Museum of Art, the Louvre, the J. Paul Getty Museum as well as other prominent public and private collections.
We exhibit annually at the Basel Ancient Art Fair, the Winters Antiques Show, and the Brussels Ancient Art Fair. Safani Galley Inc. is member of I.A.A.DA., I.A.A.A.T.A., and the Art and Antique Dealers League of America.
Alan Safani has been involved in the ancient art trade his entire life. As a child he frequently visited his father’s gallery and was fascinated by the beauty and history of the objects he handled. After college he got graduate degrees from New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts, majoring in Ancient Near Eastern and Classical art and archaeology with minors in Islamic and Egyptian art. Alan Safani is a recognized expert in the authenticity and value of ancient art from Eastern Mediterranean cultures.
Alan Safani has coordinated several exhibitions of ancient art, the most recent being The Art of the Cyclades , The Art of Rome, and Core Form: The Cyrus Collection of Core Form Glass Vessels. In addition, he publishes a yearly catalogue of objects for sale and appraises ancient objects for I.A.A.A.T.A.
Alan Safani is a third generation art dealer. His grandfather, Dr. Benjamin Abolghassem Mahboubian, a noted authority on ancient near eastern art, excavated extensively with the French in Iran in the 1930’s, notably Hamadan and Susa. Dr. Mahboubian assisted in more than a hundred excavations over a period of fifty years and was involved in the discovery of many of the known archaeological sites in Iran. Many of his discoveries have provided new information on the ancient Elamite culture of south western Iran. A number of objects from his collection are now in the major museums of the world.
Alan Safani’s father, Edward Safani, was the founder of Safani Gallery, one of the oldest galleries of ancient art in the United States. Edward Safani established Safani Gallery in 1946 and ran the gallery until his death in 1998. He was a noted authority on Islamic art, ancient glass and the art of the Ancient Near East and was often asked by museums, auction houses and dealers to authenticate ancient works of art. As a prominent dealer of Islamic art Edward Safani was instrumental in the creation of several major Islamic collections in America and Europe.
Samuel Merrin has been leading the gallery since 1987, taking over from his father, Edward Merrin, the gallery’s founder. Ed began his professional career in the family jewelry store, but “discovered” Pre-Columbian art on his honeymoon in Mexico and began collecting. At first, he used some of the objects for display purposes, highlighting them in their glittering cases. But one day, when a customer asked for the price of the ancient object rather than the jewel, a light bulb went off in Ed’s mind and he embarked on his life’s true career.
From its humble beginnings, sharing a space with the jewelry store, the gallery eventually moved to its current location and developed into one of the premier galleries of ancient art in the world.