Lawrence Gilbert "Larry" Gagosian (born April 19, 1945) is an American art dealer who owns the Gagosian Gallery chain of art galleries. Working in concert with collectors including Douglas S. Cramer, Eli Broad and Keith Barish he developed a reputation for staging museum quality exhibitions.
Life and career
Gagosian was born in Los Angeles, California, the elder of two siblings, to Armenian immigrant parents. Between 1963 and 1969, he pursued a major in English literature at UCLA. He worked briefly in a record store, a bookstore, a supermarket, and in an entry-level job as Michael Ovitz’s secretary at the William Morris Agency, but got his start in the art business by selling posters near the campus of UCLA in Los Angeles. He closed his poster shop around 1976, when a former restaurant facility became available in the same complex on Westwood's Broxton Avenue, and upgraded to prints by artists like Diane Arbus and Lee Friedlander. His gallery Prints on Broxton was renamed the Broxton Gallery when he began to show a wider array of contemporary art. The gallery worked with up and coming artists such as Vija Celmins, Alexis Smith, and Elyn Zimmerman, and staged exhibitions such as "Broxton Sequences: Sequential Imagery in Photography", which included the work of John Baldessari and Bruce Nauman.
Television executive Barry Lowen introduced Gagosian to Douglas S. Cramer, who introduced him to his ex-wife, the columnist Joyce Haber, who sold him her California art, which he promptly and profitably resold. In 1978, he opened his first gallery, on La Brea Avenue in West Hollywood, and began showing young Californians (Vija Clemins, Chris Burden) and new New Yorkers (Eric Fischl, Cindy Sherman, Jean-Michel Basquiat). That same year he bought a loft in New York on West Broadway opposite the Leo Castelli Gallery. It was Castelli who introduced Gagosian to Charles Saatchi and Samuel Newhouse Jr. In his first New York appearance, in 1979, he presented David Salle's first exhibition, in collaboration with dealer Annina Nosei. In 1982, Nosei and Gagosian staged an exhibition of Jean-Michel Basquiat in Los Angeles. Around that time, Basquiat worked from the ground-floor display and studio space Gagosian had built below his Venice home.
In the early 1980s, Gagosian developed his business rapidly by exploiting the possibilities of reselling works of art by blue-chip modern and contemporary artists, earning the nickname "Go-Go" in the process. After establishing a Manhattan gallery in the mid-1980s at 521 West 23rd Street, Gagosian began to work with a stable of super collectors including David Geffen, Newhouse, Saatchi, and David Ganek. Bidding on behalf of Newhouse in 1988, Gagosian paid over $17 million for False Start (1959) by Jasper Johns, a then-record price for a work by a living artist. That record was beaten in 2008, when Gagosian paid $23.5 million at Sotheby's in November 2007 for Jeff Koons's Hanging Heart (an artist who happens to belong to the Gagosian gallery's stable).
In 1988, Gagosian bought the Toad Hall estate in Amagansett, New York, designed by architect Charles Gwathmey for fellow architect François de Menil in 1983, for $8 million. In 2010, internet pioneer David Bohnett sold his Holmby Hills compound, originally designed by A. Quincy Jones for Gary Cooper, to Gagosian for $15.5 million, according to public records. Gagosian bought the former Harkness Mansion, an enormous townhouse at 4 East 75th Street in Manhattan, for $36.5 million in 2011.
In 2011, the British magazine ArtReview placed Gagosian fourth in their annual poll of "most powerful person in the art world". However, many regard him as the most powerful art dealer in the world.
In 2003, Gagosian paid $4 million settlement after federal prosecutors accused him and three partners of failing to pay taxes on the sale of 58 works of art.
Main article Gagosian Gallery
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- Eric Konigsberg (January 28, 2013), The Trials of Art Superdealer Larry Gagosian New York Magazine'.
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- “Art and the Middle East: Qatar’s culture queen”, The Economist, 31 March 2012.
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- Kennedy, Randy (2012-01-19). "Gagosian Sued for Selling Lichtenstein Painting Without Owner's Consent". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-06-30.