The 73-year-old mega-dealer Larry Gagosian is starting an art advisory firm in New York, appointing former Christie’s executive Laura Paulson to head up the new initiative.
The announcement was made yesterday along with two other initiatives: the appointment of Andrew Fabricant to the recently created position of Chief Operating Officer of the gallery; and the establishment of a global Advisory Board to the gallery, comprised of senior directors responsible for “strategy, business development, artist relationships and exhibitions, information and technology, and infrastructure”.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Gagosian Art Advisory “will manage, conserve and appraise collections and estates”. It is unclear whether the new firm will privately deal in secondary market works, but Gagosian’s foray into the field hints of a market where the lines between objective advisory and dealership are increasingly blurred. The advisory is set to be located in Gagosian’s New York City headquarters but will have its own office, staff, email domain and database, separate to the gallery’s sales teams.
Gagosian has been beefing up its roster of estates in the past few years. The roster already includes some of the world’s biggest estates like that of Pablo Picasso,
Despite the list of estates represented, Gagosian has always been a pioneer in the secondary market however. While Larry is better known as a dealer, “he operates more like a broker, since he has built his reputation selling other people’s art at better prices than other dealers can”, Deborah Gimelson writes in an article published in 1989.
Describing Gagosian’s mode of operation is “more typical of real estate developers and movie executives than of circumspect art dealers”, Gimelson wrote that he is “the only independent dealer able to compete with the auction houses in, today’s frenzied art market”.
She adds: “In a sense, Gagosian is a product of the times. He isn’t much interested in finding a brilliant young artist toiling away in a garret. He is interested in selling the artist’s work once the artist has made it and the painting has been bought. But, then, resale is where the biggest art bucks are. And it’s at resale—or the secondary market, as it is called—that Larry Gagosian is such a genius.”
As for the other initiatives announced, Andrew Fabricant will hold the new position of chief operating officer granting him oversight of the day-to-day operations running Gagosian’s chain of galleries, negotiating leases, and looking after sales. Gagosian has also created a team of 24 advisory board directors which, according to Gagosian, “recognises their many contributions, but more importantly, better positions our company to manage its continued growth”.
Gagosian also added that “innovation has been a driving force for Gagosian throughout its nearly 40-year history. The creation of Gagosian Art Advisory and this new management structure will enhance our client relationships, grow our global reach, and ultimately, maximise our platform to showcase the creative visions of our artists for years to come.”