David Zwirner Gallery expands to Paris ahead of Brexit

David Zwirner Gallery expands to Paris ahead of Brexit
Olivier Mosset 2015 installation at 108 Rue Vieille du Temple, the future home of David Zwirner Paris. Photo by Philippe Servent.
Leading lights  -   Gallery owners

Just months after the Goodman Gallery announced they’d be expanding their South Africa-based gallery to London this fall, David Zwirner, one of the art industry’s biggest gallery names, announced plans to expand to Europe. Set to open in just a few months, the Zwirner gallery will then have its first continental Europe gallery in Paris.

One of the German-born dealer’s biggest concerns? Like many others, Brexit. ‘Brexit changes the game,’ Zwirner said in an interview with the Financial Times. ‘After October, my London gallery will be a British gallery, not a European one. I am European, and I would like a European gallery, too.’ Zwirner hopes that the new gallery will offer the artists he represents more exposure to European viewers after Brexit goes through.

The want to establish a strong base in Europe anticipates not only Britain leaving the European Union but the potential for a no-deal Brexit. Boris Johnson, one of the prime candidates to take over as Prime Minister after Theresa May stepped down in June, remarked that Brexit is a ‘do or die’ situation making the October 31st deadline, looming over the heads of many, even more daunting.

The Paris addition will be the sixth location for Zwirner’s self-named gallery whose flagship space is in London. The new gallery will call an 8,600-square-foot Le Marais space once used by Yvon Lambert that since 2015, has been used by VNH Gallery. Hélène Nguyen-Ban, owner of VNH, reached out to Zwirner when they knew they would be closing the gallery at the end of July to offer up the well-loved location. The news of the expansion comes after speculation that Zwirner was looking to expand when he accidentally made mention of a possible new location in June on the Art Agency, Partners podcast In Other Words.

Victoire de Pourtalès, Nguyen-Ban’s partner from VNH Gallery, won’t be leaving the Parisian gallery space, though. She will be staying there to become the co-manager of the new Zwirner location. In fact, a large number of the team from VHN will stay on with Zwirner. New York director for Zwirner, Justine Durrett will head to Paris to work alongside Pourtalès as co-manager. In the end, the VHN team has had a ‘happy ending’ said Nguyen-Ban to the Financial Times. ‘It’s much better than if an Abercrombie & Fitch moved in.’

The gallery is set to open in October to coincide with FIAC with a solo show of works by US artist Raymond Pettibon.

In Zwirner’s official statement, he said:

‘In recent years, Paris has quickly become one of the most vibrant cities for the visual arts in Europe. It’s a city where history meets the present, and we are endlessly excited to be able to occupy one of the most beautiful and legendary gallery spaces in Le Marais.’