|First Quality Art from the Animated Film
|2036 Fifth Avenue SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52403
Toll Free 1-888-921-1001
our 35th year in
Cedar Rapids, Iowa!
A picture of her hangs in our main office and some of her memorable sayings are etched in our
"You weren't going to throw away this paper clip were you? They cost me half a cent a piece!"
"Come into my office... close the door... sit down!"
We remember her with humor and love.
A Tribute to Edith Rudman 1942-2004
Edith Rudman, founder and creative force behind Gallery Lainzberg, was a tough task
master and wonderful mentor.
She both terrified her employees and inspired them. We will miss her very much.
She passed away May 25, 2004 after a courageous battle with cancer.
Edith taught us to love animation art, to appreciate our collectors and to work hard! It
was her focus and discipline that were our inspiration in creating First Animation Art.
Remembering Gallery Lainzberg.
by John Cairns and Wanda Lunn
I. Creation and Evolution - the Rudman Legacy
Edith and Burt Rudman were a young married American couple teaching school in
Tehran, Iran in the early 1970's. When they decided to return to their home in Cedar
Rapids, Iowa in 1975, they were offered a collection of animation art from a fellow
teacher in Iran. He offered the art that was stored in Los Angeles and struck a deal
for the Rudmans to sell it and split the proceeds. The Rudmans discovered a
wonderful group of original animation cels and decided to place an ad in some
collectible magazines to see if there was an interest. They were shocked by the
large number of responses to their advertisements and then discovered an avid
audience for animation art.
Brazenly calling on the major animation studios, they found out that there was
no organized way that cels and animation related art was being sold to collectors.
Other than a few things sold at the Disneyland Art Corner store, the art was
generally not being shown to the public for sale.
So they devised a plan to open an animation art business back in Iowa using
their new studio contacts and their now growing list of collectors. Gallery
Lainzberg opened its door in a small suite on the 4th floor of the Guaranty Bank
Building in downtown Cedar Rapids in the fall of 1975. They named the gallery
after their son's dog, Jimmy Lainzberg... an odd name that would eventually
become the nation's most impressive showcase of animation art.
Opening night the gallery was ready with champagne and Burt and Edith
dressed up and ready to greet their guests. That night they realized that Cedar
Rapids, Iowa was not a big arts community at the time. No one came! But they
learned a powerful lesson about their art and their audience. If buyers wouldn't
walk in the door, they would go to the buyers.
Gallery Lainzberg was on the move! The staff originally offered the art through
a series of traveling shows at shopping malls in Iowa, Nebraska, and Illinois.
Again the Rudmans learned and grew from their experiences. They discovered
that mall shows were not a good venue because it was so difficult to keep track
of the art in the crowded shopping centers. A few cels were stolen and damaged,
so a new plan was devised.
For the next 8 years their sales staff offered animation cels at college exhibitions
in conjunction with animation lectures from coast to coast. Wanda Lunn,
(co-owner of First Animation Art) was hired by Edith Rudman in August of
1981.Wanda Lunn was one of those hired to arrange these shows. Her techniques
and enthusiasm boosted sales and refined the shows to their most successful form.
Original Production cels were matted and arranged in folders for college sales
from coast to coast. Original cels from Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, Flescher
tudios and Disney were among the first groups offered. Production cels from
Disney cost as little as $85.00 from films such as "Robin Hood", "The Aristocats"
and "Bed Knobs and Broomsticks." Signed hand painted cels from Chuck Jones
classic films, "A Cricket in Times Square", "The White Seal", "Rikki Tikki Tavi"
and "Mowgli's Brothers" started at $95.00 for superb images.
Their national college sales also fostered an interest in the cult classic films of
Sally Cruikshank, "Heavy Metal," Ralph Bakshi's "Lord of the Rings",
"Coonskin", "American Pop" and such television shows as "Planet of the
Adults visiting the college shows expressed an interest in classic Disney films
and older animation art. Edith began her life long search for classic cels and
pre production art for serious collectors.
After a visit to Friz Freleng and Los Angeles in 1977, Gallery Lainzberg began
offering original art from the DePatie Freleng archive including the "Pink Panther,"
"The Ant and the Aardvark," Jabber Jaws and Hoot Kloot.
As their college shows created demand, Gallery Lainzberg published its first
catalog in black and white in 1977. Featured on the cover was the Chuck Jones
cat from "A Cricket In Times Square." The catalog was a huge hit and the
animation art catalog was born!
Collectors clamored for these unique paintings. The Rudmans discovered
that the studios had routinely thrown away artwork through the years and
that there were no cels from such classic films as Chuck Jones' "What's
Opera, Doc?", "The Rabbit Of Seville" and many other Warner Brothers
favorites. Edith approached Chuck Jones in 1980 with the idea of recreating
some of his most famous characters and films in hand painted art.... and the
first Warner Brothers Limited Edition cels were created.
Edith had a close working relationship with the major studios and was especially
fond of Friz Freleng and Chuck Jones and the staff at Linda Jones Enterprises.
By 1980 only the Circle Gallery chain was the offering animation art in addition
to Gallery Lainzberg. Their animation offerings were limited to Disney Limited
Edition cels and later the Warner Brother art of Chuck Jones and Friz Freleng.
Gallery Lainzberg published its first color catalog in the fall 1981 showcasing
Disney and Warner Brothers Loony Tunes art for the first time. Again, the
Rudmans learned that their catalog was only the tip of the iceberg for collector's
appetites. When Wanda Lunn returned from her traveling shows in the spring
of 1982, she began compiling wish lists for her collectors. Now the hunt was
on and the legacy of personal searching was born.
Gallery Lainzberg's personal search service outgrew the college sales and the
Rudmans again refined their business by focusing on catalog sales and
telephone contacts with collectors. Their last traveling shows were in the fall of 1983.
Over the next several years the Gallery Lainzberg catalog grew in size and
complexity. Burt Rudman photographed all the art and wrote all the text for
these catalogs. His photography experience and fine writing made these catalogs
exciting and anxiously awaited by animation enthusiasts.
In the fall of 1985, Gallery Lainzberg expanded in space and employees when
it moved to the second floor suite in the Guaranty Bank Building. It would be
the home of the gallery for the next 15 years.
John Cairns was hired in November of 1985 as the first phone sales representative
and was mentored by Wanda Lunn. He enthusiastically jumped into the world
of animation art and within a few years became the gallery's top sales associate.
1985 through 1990 saw an explosion in sales and catalogs. Gallery Lainzberg
expanded their scope of animation art being offered. New art added in these
years included art by, Walter Lantz , Myron Waldman, Don Bluth, Jay Ward,
Disney Television Productions and more.
Notable employees included the sales representatives, Wanda Lunn, John Cairns,
Arlene Shea, Shawn Reese, Janet Melody, Marsha Hinrichs, and Charisse Mason
during these dynamic years. The support staff included Ninette Farrier, Linda
Thompson, Peg Wacha, Judy Fitzpatrick, Jo Ann Collins, Nancy Jones, Charlotte
Whalen and many more.
In 1989 alone, Gallery Lainzberg was featured in 11 national publications, including Forbes,
USA Today, and the Washington Post. In March of 1990, Edith and Burt Rudman joined
Friz Freleng, Steve Schneider, and other animation luminaries in Kansas City to mark the
opening of the Warner Brothers Animation Art Exhibit at the Kansas City Art Museum.
After 15 years of innovation and growth, the Rudmans sold Gallery Lainzberg in the fall of
1990. Their vision and hard work made animation art the popular art form that is still is
today. Their sucess with Gallery Lainzberg was instrumental in the creation of many imitator
animation galleries, but they were the original and the best. They retired to Florida in 1991.
End of Chapter One.
|Edith Rudman and Friz Freleng
|1988 Gallery Lainzberg Staff - Front Row - Burt Rudman, Edith Rudman, Middle Row - Ninette June, Charisse
Mason, Linda Thompson, Arlene Shea, Kris Cleveland. Back Row. Nancy Jones, John Cairns, Wanda Lunn, Judy
Fitzpatrick, Jo Ann Collins.
|1989 Gallery Lainzberg Staff - Front Row - Dennis Edmunds, Burt Rudman, Edith
Rudman, Ninette June. Second Row - Linda Thompsons, Nancy Jones, Michele Howe,
Charisse Mason, Janet Shelton, Kris Cleveland, Judy Fitzpatrick. Back Row - Wanda Lunn,
Marsha Hinrichs, John Cairns, Shawn Reese, Peg Wacha.
II. The "Out of Towners"
The partnership of Ron and Linda Rich and Kathy and Larry Speh 1990
Bugs On Broadway. Traveling Show Problems 1991
The creation of the Peanuts Art Program 1992
The departure of the Spehs 1993
Ron Rich's sole management - Change in philosophy 1993 -1998
The Fern Gully Nightmare - 1992
The Ariana Richards Fiasco - 1993
Lost in the Dark - The non animation art of Gallery Lainzberg
The Unauthorized Peanuts art published by RRI and Gallery Lainzberg
The law suits of Gallery Lainzberg 1990 -1997
The departure of the experienced sales staff 1995-1996
The partnership with Harold Becker 1993 - 1998
The departure of Ron Rich 1998
The collapse of Gallery Lainzberg 1998-2002
MGM editions 1991
Disney TV cels Pooh 1991
Peanuts Melendez LTD 1994
Fern Gully 1992
Ron Lee Sculptures 1992
Michael Sporn - Jazz time, The Dancing Frog, The Nightingale, The Red Shoes,
The Little Match girl, The Marzipan Pig.
Bill Plymton - color pencil cels "25 ways to quit smoking" ,"How to kiss",
Nickelodeon 1993 - Ren and Stimpy, Doug, Rug rats
Joanna Priestly - "The Rubber Stamp Film" 1994
The Beatles Yellow Sub 1994
Golden Films - B&B Mermaid
Mike Peters - Mother Goose and Grimm