He graduated with a BA in history from Oberlin College in 1944.
His Jewish family fled to Amsterdam when he was seven and Queens, New York in 1940. For ten years he lived in Paris, where he was a writer and editor, working at Réalités and Connaissance des Arts magazines, the Paris edition of The New York Herald Tribune and Time-Life International. Robert Motherwell introduced Emmerich to "the small group of eccentric painters we now know as the New York Abstract Expressionist School".
During the last half of the 20th century the Emmerich Gallery was located in New York City and since 1959 in the Fuller Building at 41 East 57th Street and in the 1970s also at 420 West Broadway in Manhattan and in Zurich, Switzerland. The Emmerich gallery showed leading artists working in a wide variety of styles including Abstract Expressionism, Op Art, Color field painting, Hard-edge painting, Lyrical Abstraction, Minimal Art, Pop Art and Realism, among other movements. Emmerich also organized important exhibitions of pre-Columbian art and wrote two acclaimed books, "Art Before Columbus" (1963) and "Sweat of the Sun and Tears of the Moon: Gold and Silver in Pre-Columbian Art" (1965), on the subject.
In addition to David Hockney, and John D. Graham the gallery represented many internationally known artists and estates including: Hans Hofmann, Morris Louis, Helen Frankenthaler, Kenneth Noland, Sam Francis, Sir Anthony Caro, Jules Olitski, Jack Bush, John Hoyland, Alexander Liberman, Al Held, Anne Ryan, Miriam Schapiro, Paul Brach, Herbert Ferber, Esteban Vicente, Friedel Dzubas, Neil Williams, Theodoros Stamos, Anne Truitt, Karel Appel, Pierre Alechinsky, Larry Poons, Larry Zox, Dan Christensen, Ronnie Landfield, Stanley Boxer, Pat Lipsky, Robert Natkin, Judy Pfaff, John Harrison Levee, William H. Bailey, Andrew Masullo, Dorothea Rockburne, Nancy Graves, John McLaughlin, Ed Moses, Beverly Pepper, among others. Between 1982 and 1996, Emmerich ran a 150-acre sculpture park called Top Gallant in Pawling, New York, on his country estate that once was a Quaker farm. There he displayed large-scale works by Caro, Alexander Liberman, Alexander Calder, Beverly Pepper, Bernar Venet, Tony Rosenthal, Isaac Witkin, Mark di Suvero and George Rickey as well as the work of younger artists like Keith Haring.
The cottage's in-ground pool had walls painted with ocean waves by Hockney. Many of the pieces later left for museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Storm King Art Center, and the Detroit Institute of Arts. In 1996, Sotheby's bought the Andre Emmerich Gallery, with the aim of handling artists' estates.
One year later the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, the main beneficiary of the Albers' estates, did not renew its three-year contract. The gallery was eventually closed by Sotheby’s in 1998. The André Emmerich Gallery records and André Emmerich papers were donated to the Archives of American Art by André Emmerich between 1999 and 2002.
Member National Association Dealers in Ancient, Oriental and Primitive Art (board directors since 1972), Art Deales American (president 1972-1974, 91-94), Century Association, Quaker Hill Country Club (Pawling, New York.
Married Constance R. Marantz, August 25, 1958. Children: Adam Oliver, Tobias David Hugo, Noah Nicholas. Married Susanne Bross, July 21, 1994.