Gagosian Gallery in Paris?

September 17, 2009 § Leave a comment

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Rumours have been circulating for weeks with re: mega-dealer Larry Gagosian opening a gallery in Paris – almost certainly in or near the über trendy rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. Several top players in the art world familiar with the company and its directors, have said that the gallery is in talks to acquire a space in the upmarket 8th arrondissement. However, any confirmation details of this taking place
have been kept firmly quiet by the Gagosian team.

The artistic capitals of the world, just like the fashion capitals of the world, change over a period of time and for ages London was the place to go and to be in the art world. Now it’s different, London’s financial situation has changed things, and Paris is beginning to rise to the top in the gallery scene.

I began to notice this last year when I went through the list of exhibitions taking place in the French capital.  There was a strong, exciting body of work on show in 2008, with the French seeming to embrace the new wave of contemporary art with gusto.

At the recently launched Design Art London in Berkley Square last October, the majority of dealers came form the French capital showcasing inspiring high-quality design pieces from designers such as Le Corbusier, Arne Jacobsen and Jean Prouvé.

In recent years, Paris has regained some of the prestige it enjoyed during the 20th century as a place to buy art, revitalised by the return of the Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain (FIAC) to Paris’s Grand Palais in October 2006.

The French government have also been keen to keep promoting the arts in Paris with money being spent over the last few years on art institutions and museums such as the Musée du Quai Branly and the Atelier Brancusi designed by Renzo Piano and situated right next to the Centre George Pompidou.

The presence of billionaire French collectors such as Francois Pinault and Bernard Arnault is also certainly boosting Paris’s rivalry with London. Pinault founded the retail and luxury group LVMH and owns Christie’s International whose Paris branch became the highest-grossing auction venue in the first half of 2009.  This was accomplished with the help of the Yves Saint Laurent auction in February where a record 342.5 million € was achieved from sales.

The New York-based gallery’s expansion will certainly be welcome in Paris where Larry Gagosian would instantly become one of the most important contemporary art dealers – it would also allow him to exhibit contemporary artists that are represented by rival galleries in New York and London.

He will also shortly be opening a showroom in Athens with a Cy Twombly show on 25 September, 2009. Gagosian’s Athens branch will be run by shipping heiress Marina Livanos, who recently married Andreas Martinos, one of Greece’s most prominent art collectors.

I guess theses days you can’t wait for the buyers to come to you – you have to go to them. A gallery has to be proactive. Every deal has to be chased and opening galleries in thriving city centres is a great exercise in local client relations.

Other projects supplementing Larry Gagosian’s stable of galleries include the launch of an arts bookshop at the end of the month on New York’s Upper East Side, where catalogues and publications produced by his galleries will be available.

top_Bookshelf--Marc-Newson-

For the time being, the art world will for the moment be waiting with baited breath to see what happens next…

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