©Matthu Placek

Larry Gagosian, The “Art Superdealer”

In a deliciously personal profile of Larry Gagosian on Vulture, Eric Koingsberg delicately weaves together the story of one of the art world’s most well known cultural mercenaries. The 67-year-old Gagosian, reports Vulture, essentially created the posthumous market for both mid- and late-career Warhol paintings, “defining them as a subcategory and hugely raising their value.” Though he isn’t the first or the last to have made a namesake off of what some might argue as Warhol’s most influential works, Gagosian’s rise to the top is hardly one to overlook.

The Vulture piece describes Gagosian as primarily a gallerist, putting on exhibitions for several dozen artists. He’s responsible for building those artists careers as well as representing the estates of the artists’ whose work he shows after their deaths. It is, as Vulture notes, almost impossible to mention Gagosian without mentioning Alberto Mugrabi, who operates a private art dealership and trades with like-minded collectors out of the public eye. Both men, Mugrabi and Gagosian alike, delve in the same artist pool. In recent years, however, Gagosian’s reach has begun to slip.

Keen to get to know the man behind the paintings, Koingsberg shows the underside of a man many describe as “uncouth.” He writes: “When collectors and dealers describe Gagosian as ‘brash,’ ‘shameless,’ and ‘ruthless’—his own publicist lauds him as ‘a real killer’—what they really seem to be talking about is not only his drive but how different he is from many of his peers. Fellow gallerists complain that he poaches artists and spikes prices, and that he has a history of offering to sell paintings that aren’t for sale on the promise of photos he’s torn from a catalogue or surreptitiously snapped when visiting a collector’s house.”

Gagosian’s is a story of art, fame, riches, and royalties — and it’s rife with scandal.

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