The collection comprises over fifty
artist and gallery files containing photographs of works, press clippings, correspondence,
slides, transparencies, and personalized artwork.
Nicholas Walter George Wilder was born in Rochester, New York, in 1938. He graduated from
Amherst College in 1960 and studied law at Stanford University before deciding to enter the
art field. Wilder opened his gallery on La Cienega Boulevard in Los Angeles on April 1,
1965, exhibiting contemporary works from New York and Europe, and works by up-and-coming Los
Angeles artists. The gallery was highly regarded; Wilder was noted for his keen eye and
ability to recognize artistic talent. He gave early exhibitions to Dan Flavin, Ronald Davis,
Joe Goode, and Robert Graham, and fostered the work of Sam Francis, David Hockney, John
McLaughlin, and many others. He was the first to show Bruce Nauman's performance video
pieces and John McCracken's Planks.In 1970, the gallery moved
to Santa Monica Boulevard; but changing trends in the art market, including a shift by
artists toward creating art with an eye toward the commercial market rather than toward
personal expression, and collectors' reluctance to buy work from emerging or unestablished
artists, impacted that gallery's financial success.