Mary Boone

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Mary Boone
Bornc. 1951/1952 (age 66–67)[1]
EducationRhode Island School of Design
Hunter College
OccupationArt dealer and gallerist
Years active1973-present
Home townErie, Pennsylvania, US
Spouse(s)Michael Werner (divorced)
Children1 son

Mary Boone (born c. 1951/1952) is an American art dealer and gallerist, and the owner and director of the Mary Boone Gallery. She played an important role in the New York art market of the 1980s. Her first two artists, Julian Schnabel and David Salle, became internationally known, and in 1982 she had a cover story on New York magazine tagged "The New Queen of the Art Scene."[2] The Mary Boone Gallery has represented artists including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Barbara Kruger, Eric Fischl, Ross Bleckner, and Brice Marden. Originally based in SoHo, Boone has two galleries, one in midtown on Fifth Avenue, the other in Chelsea.

Early career (1973-1989)[edit]

Boone was raised in Erie, Pennsylvania,[1] studied Art History at Rhode Island School of Design and received her BFA in 1973.[3] Deciding she did not have the skill to make it as a painter, Boone moved to New York City to study art history at Hunter College.[4] After working as a secretary at the influential Bykert Gallery, she opened her own gallery in SoHo in 1977 to a positive reception. Her first two artists, Julian Schnabel and David Salle rapidly became popular in the Neo-expressionism movement.[5] While Schnabel became a celebrity artist, Boone was recognized as a new breed of dealer; young and aggressive.[6] Boone was able to expand her gallery across the street in 1981 and, in 1982, secured emerging artist Eric Fischl.[7] Boone had earned a reputation for hype and media frenzy around herself and her artists when she was featured on the cover of New York magazine that same year. The rising artist Jean-Michel Basquiat joined the Mary Boone Gallery before his well received 1984 solo show there.[6][8] Established artist Barbara Kruger was the first female artist to join Boone in 1987, surprising the art world that a leading feminist "deconstructivist" appropriation artist would join the gallery best known for aggressive neo-expressionist painting.

Mary Boone was one of the most successful gallerists of her generation[9] and became "the dealer who epitomized the speculative '80s art world."[10] She was the first dealer to require waiting lists for collectors to buy works that had not yet been produced, though some collectors were granted "first refusal".[7] When the art market crashed in 1990, she was condemned for her role in the over-heated market of the previous decade. Boone was accused of over-hyping her artists or pushing them to release inferior works to fulfill market demand.[11] In a later interview with W magazine, Boone explained without any prompting, "I think I lost my way. It was the Eighties. I got too involved with fame and fortune." [4]

Boone was on the cover of a 1982 New York Magazine story titled, The New Queen of the Art Scene.[12]

Later career (1990-today)[edit]

After the 1990 art market collapse, Mary Boone avoided bankruptcy by selling some of her personal collection. Several of her big artists left for other galleries, including Salle, Marden and Georg Baselitz; though Kruger, Fischl and Bleckner remained. An Eric Fischl painting she had sold at the height of the market for $1.4 million was resold in the early 1990s for only $167,500.[11] In 1996, the Mary Boone Gallery left SoHo and opened a midtown gallery on Fifth Avenue. She opened a second gallery in the Chelsea art district in 2000 while adding a younger generation of artists that included Will Cotton, Tom Sachs, and Inka Essenhigh.[11]

Fischl told a reporter in 2008 that Boone had "changed radically. Dramatically but slowly, if that's possible. She's really moved from a mono-focused, obsessive, driven character who could be bullying, infuriating, quick to argue and ultimately isolated to somebody who—through her spiritual development, her revelations—serves her community.[4]

In 2016, actor Alec Baldwin filed a civil suit against Boone alleging she misrepresented a Ross Bleckner painting he purchased through her six years earlier. Boone denied the claim, but in 2017 settled for a "seven-figure" amount.[13][14][15][16]

Boone was played by Parker Posey in Julian Schnabel's 1996 film Basquiat.

In September 2018, Boone pleaded guilty to filing false income tax returns. She reported a business loss of approximately $52,521, when the Gallery made a profit of approximately $3.7 million.[17][18] Boone "agreed to pay more than $3 million in restitution for taxes she owes for 2009, 2010, and 2011."[19]


Artists who have been represented or shown by the Mary Boone Gallery include:

Personal life[edit]

In 1979, Boone married the German art dealer Michael Werner, with whom she has a son, Max.[22][23] They later divorced.[22][23]


  1. ^ a b Fischl, Eric (October 22, 2014). "Mary Boone". Interview. Archived from the original on November 13, 2017. Retrieved November 13, 2017. ...the 62-year-old Boone ... an Erie, Pennsylvania, native who moved to New York at the age of 19...
  2. ^ a b c (1982-04-19),"The New Queen of the Art Scene". New York
  3. ^ "Rhode Island School of Design Website". Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c Julie L. Belcove (November 2008). A New Boone. W magazine. Retrieved 2009-02-19.
  5. ^ Cottington, David, Modern Art: A Very Short Introduction, 2005, p35. Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-280364-6
  6. ^ a b McGuigan, Cathleen (1985-02-85),"New Art, New Money". The New York Times, New Art, New Money
  7. ^ a b Finke, Nikki (2005-11-17),"Blame Ovitz: When Art Started Imitating Hollywood", LA Weekly, [1]
  8. ^ Raynor, Vivien (1984-05-11),"Art: Paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiat at Boone". The New York Times, [2]
  9. ^ Tittel, Cornelius (2006-05-14), "And then it went boom", Die Welt Am Sonntag. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 25, 2006. Retrieved June 16, 2006.
  10. ^ David Rimanelli (September 1, 1997). "Uptown girl: Mary Boone's new art gallery in uptown SoHo". Interior Design.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Haas, Nancy (2000-03-05), "Stirring Up the Art World Again". The New York Times, [3].
  12. ^ Hurtado, Patricia; Kazakina, Katya (2018-09-05). "Art Dealer Mary Boone Pleads Guilty to Federal Tax Crimes - BNN Bloomberg". BNN. Retrieved 2018-10-13.
  13. ^ Bowley, Graham (November 13, 2017). "Why Is Alec Baldwin at Least $1 Million Richer Today?". The New York Times. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  14. ^ Lehman, Susan (November 20, 2017). "Alec Baldwin's Legal Tussle Over a Painting". The New Yorker. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  15. ^ Lovece, Frank (November 13, 2017). "Alec Baldwin settles lawsuit, will donate half the proceeds to rebuild Sag Harbor Cinema". Newsday. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  16. ^ Perlson, Hili (September 13, 2016). "Alec Baldwin Sues Gallerist Mary Boone Over Swapped Painting". Artnet. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  17. ^ "Art Gallery Owner Pleads Guilty In Manhattan Federal Court To Filing False Tax Returns". 2018-09-05. Retrieved 2018-09-06.
  18. ^ Greenberger, Alex (2018-09-05). "Dealer Mary Boone Pleads Guilty to Filing False Tax Returns". ARTnews. Retrieved 2018-09-06.
  19. ^ Patricia Hurtado and Katya Kazakina (6 September 2018), Art Dealer Mary Boone Pleads Guilty to Federal Tax Crimes, Daily Tax Report
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t "Interview Magazine". Interview Magazine.
  21. ^ Bleckner, Ross (July 1, 2001). "Inka Essenhigh by Ross Bleckner". Bomb. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  22. ^ a b Belcove, Julie L. "A New Boone". Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  23. ^ a b "Mary Boone is Egyptian - Bidoun". Bidoun. Retrieved September 27, 2018.

External links[edit]