Edith Rudman, founder of the first gallery in the nation specializing in animation art, passed away on May 25, 2004 from cancer. She was 62 years old. Many credit her as starting the animation art industry.
Rudman and her husband Burt where teaching in Tehran, Iran, in the early 1970s when they decided to return to the States in 1975. A fellow Iranian teacher proposed that they collaborate on selling his collection of animation cels. The Rudman placed an ad in the newspaper and where surprised by the response. The couple then contacted the animation studios and discovered that the studios had no process of displaying or selling cels.
So the Rudmans decided to open the Gallery Lainzberg named after their son's dog. The gallery opened its door in a small suite on the 4th floor of the Guaranty Bank Building in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in the fall of 1975. The Rudmans promoted the gallery through traveling shows at shopping malls in Iowa, Nebraska and Illinois then later toured college exhibitions in conjunction with animation lectures from coast to coast. As the popularity grew, the gallery would later offer original art from animation legends such as Fritz Freleng, Bob Clampett and Chuck Jones. For more information on the history of the gallery, visit http://www.firstanimationart.com/GalleryLainzberg.html.