During the Civil War when a person entered the service, they had a photo taken in uniform (just as they do today). Many soldiers had their photos taken to send to their families and as a result, Bendann's business increased. They were one of only a few photographers to photograph both sides of the Civil War. After the War, David and Daniel expanded their business and opened an art gallery in 1867 on Fifth Avenue in New York City, a cutting edge move where residential properties primarily lined the street. They eventually concentrated their works in Baltimore, and in 1874, they split the business so David could continue his interests in fine arts while Daniel could focus on photography. David opened his gallery Bendann Art Galleries, and travelled extensively purchasing art and prints. During the Great Baltimore Fire in 1904, the Gallery burned down like many other buildings in downtown Baltimore and was rebuilt in about 1906.
In 1994, Lance moved the gallery to The Shops at Kenilworth, and today offers paintings best described as traditional, representational, and conveying realism. "We've never been out on the cutting edge of abstract art," notes Lance...."our works tend to be more conventional, realist paintings." The Gallery represents several regional artists, and also some European artists where the roots of the Galleries began. Bendann also offers services such as painting and print restoration, custom framing, and portrait commissions.
Although the art business has evolved over the last 100 years, including internet sales and art lovers purchasing works with increased global travel, Bendann continues to thrive because they have something special to offer. "Fortunately, we have a product and a service that thrives on personal relationships in a way that a lot of others don't," says Lance...."there will always be people who like a face-to-face, hands-on relationship." He believes that assisting people to purchase art or restoring family portraits has an appeal that will keep people coming to art galleries.
Lance appreciates the fact that his Gallery has been open so long. "When I see businesses celebrating their 10th or 20th year, I do not scoff. My reaction is always, 'good for you,' because I know that to keep a business going for 5, 10 or 20 years is extraordinary. For us, it's just amazing."