The Sander Gallery at 2600 Connecticut Ave. NW, one of the most highly respected photography dealerships in the country, will close at the end of the month. Proprietors Gerd and Christine Sander, who came here from Cologne, West Germany, expect to reopen in New York, closer to the international clientele that has made their business so successful over the past five years.

The gallery will be sorely missed in Washington, where exhibitions of leading 19th- and 20th-century European photographers -- notably German masters such as August Sander and others such as Josef Sudek, Andre Kertesz and Lotti Jacobi -- introduced material little known (and still too little appreciated) to this side of the Atlantic. Sander has also shown, and will continue to show, the photographic work of Washington artist William Christenberry, Lisette Model and two of her best-known American students, Larry Fink and Rosalind Solomon.

Occasionally, Sander ventured forth with a painting show and, atypically, such a show occupies the concluding slot on the gallery schedule. Peter Schermuly from Munich is the artist, a surrealist painter of elusive allegories often disguised as still lifes and landscapes. In one landscape, for example, a Christ-like figure seems to sink into the abyss between two cliffs; in another, several nutshells turn into sailboats on a beach. The still life paintings in particular show a masterful hand at the brush, but this exhibition fails to give any real sense of what this artist is about, and suggests that perhaps he isn't sure himself. The show -- and the gallery -- will continue through January. Hours are Tuesdays through Saturdays, noon to 6.