After 29 years of managing the Dutch Art Gallery, Ben Massar is preparing to retire.
Massar and wife Ann opened the neighborhood gallery in 1965, the year they moved from Holland to the United States.
“In 1965, if you looked into the Yellow Pages, there were about six art galleries listed and about seven picture-framers,” Massar says.
“People didn’t know about art. People didn’t know the difference between a print and a painting. We educated the people about the quality of paintings.”
Now 66 years old, Massar says he and his wife plan to get some rest from the gallery, where in the past they have spent six days a week. Massar is preparing daughter-in-law Pam to take over.
“We love our work,” Massar says. “My wife doesn’t want to retire. She loves the people, and I do, too. I don’t want to fully retire, just take it a little bit easier.”
It will be some time before Pam is ready to manage the business, Massar says. Framing, one of the gallery’s specialties, take a lot of training, he says, and so do other gallery operations.
The gallery hosts three art shows annually, does art consultation for people decorating their homes, and sells paintings, prints and a wide selection of ready-made frames.
“You find frames here you would never find anywhere else in Dallas. I’m very proud of it,” Massar says about one of his rooms, full from wall to wall with frames in different sizes and shapes.
“It took me years and years to collect them,” he says. “It takes years to have a nice selection that is unusual but still beautiful.”
Besides frames, Massar also collects customers. Some regulars have been coming to him for more than 20 years.
“The secret is quality, good service and to make the people happy,” Massar says. “You do what you tell the customers you’re going to do. A lot of people have moved out of Dallas that still call me.”
Massar is located in the Northlake Shopping Center, on Northwest Highway at Ferndale. Two of Massar’s three sons also office in Northlake Shopping Center, where they operate their law firm.
Growing up, all three boys worked part-time in the family’s gallery.
Massar’s sons grew up surrounded by art, but none decided to go into the gallery business. Massar, however, seems as if he will have a hard time taking a break from it.
“I love art,” he says. “I love to decorate a house and make it beautiful. Paintings make a house. They make it personal.”