Artwork seller Richard Feigen, a connoisseur of Aged Grasp art, died on Friday early morning in Mount Kisco, New York, due to complications from COVID-19. He was 90 a long time outdated.
Feigen, who ran galleries in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles, equipped numerous critical artworks to much more than 100 museums all over the planet, which includes the Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum of Artwork, the National galleries of Washington and London, the Getty, and several some others.
“Richard was an art seller and collector who experienced a certain requirements he usually considered, irrespective of whether he was obtaining for trade or residence, and that was the singular excellent of innovation: the portray or drawing experienced to advance more than all other people of its time,” fellow Outdated Grasp seller Otto Naumann informed Artnet Information. “His favorite phrase was ‘Don’t seem in the rearview mirror.’”
Feigen opened his initial gallery in Chicago in 1957, the place he focused on German Expressionism and Surrealism. He championed artists including Francis Bacon, Jean Dubuffet, Joseph Cornell, Claes Oldenburg, Ray Johnson, and James Rosenquist. In 1963, he opened a next gallery in New York, in which he showed do the job by Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Constantin Brancusi, and Piet Mondrian.
Just two a long time afterwards, he turned just one of the earliest sellers to operate a gallery in Soho, wherever he confirmed do the job by Joseph Beuys—the artist’s first major publicity in the US—and John Baldessari, who Feigen gave his first New York present. (Feigen also figures prominently as a tuxedo-clad social gathering hopper in Tom Wolfe’s famous 1970 essay “Radical Chic.”)
Metropolitan Museum director Max Hollein mentioned Feigen’s eclectic preferences in a tribute to the late seller on his Instagram: “Richard Feigen was an remarkable male, great connoisseur of art from the Italian trecento by means of all centuries up to contemporaries like Peter Saul, Jim Rosenquist, or Ray Johnson (stunning for many who know him as one of the most vital Previous Grasp sellers).”
Feigen invited Austrian architect Hans Hollein (father of Max Hollein) to style his headquarters on 79th Road in 1970, then inaugurated the room with an historic Monet exhibition that garnered national tv coverage.
The seller went on to spearhead the formation of Castelli, Feigen, Corcoran Gallery in New York, which represented the Joseph Cornell estate from 1976 to 1987. And in London, his Richard L. Feigen & Co. presented Outdated Masters from 1988 to 1995.
“Collectors and museums all around the planet have benefited from his vision and he was generous with the establishments that he loved,” read a message on the Feigen gallery website.
In 2019 Feigen donated Carlo Saraceni’s altarpiece The Dormition of the Virgin to the Achieved in honor of the museum’s 150th anniversary.
“I was so glad that Richard Feigen was able to take a look at the newly renovated European paintings galleries and admire his gift,” the museum’s main curator, Keith Christiansen, explained to Artnet News in an email. The altarpiece was Saraceni’s first replacement for a rejected picture by Caravaggio, Christiansen claimed, noting “it’s not only a important get the job done of Caravaggism, but part of one particular of the most intriguing and intricate tales of acceptance and rejection in art history. This, also, is a best legacy for Richard, who seemed often battling versus conventions. He had 1 of the most eventful occupations of any person included in the arts and will be dearly missed.”
Feigen’s take a look at to the museum 6 weeks in the past with his spouse, Isabelle, to see the Saraceni installed “sadly turned out to be the final time we noticed each other,” Hollein wrote. “Thank you Richard! I will overlook you dearly!”
Regardless of whether Feigen had a succession program for his galleries remains unclear. The gallery’s longtime president, Frances Beatty, remaining in 2017 to commence a company with her son, Alex Adler.
“We had a excellent time, sold get the job done to over 125 museums worldwide, and held extra than 100 museum-top quality exhibitions,” Beatty informed Artnet Information. “His commitment to Ray Johnson, who returned to us in 1995 soon after his demise, in the type of his estate, which I now represent, was unshakable. He hardly ever wavered in his conviction that Johnson was a great artist in spite of his exasperating personality.”
Feigen could generally be counted on for a vibrant, incisive comment about the most current goings-on in the art industry. In 2009, amid the global financial disaster, he sold a unusual J.M.W. Turner portray at Sotheby’s New York, The Temple of Jupiter Panellenius Restored, which he experienced obtained 27 many years previously.
The portray marketed for $12.9 million, on the lower conclude of its $12 million to $16 million estimate, but even now a balanced outcome given the economic backdrop. When I questioned him about it following the sale, he stated, “I was glad with the selling price, which fell far more or a lot less in the estimate. In normal conditions, the customer was smart and I was silly. The painting will come to be much far more worthwhile. There are only 20 or so Turners in personal arms.”
Feigen offered works at Christie’s in May perhaps 2019 in purchase to increase funds for his retirement. “I am a collector in dealer’s clothing,” he wrote in his 2000 book Tales from the Art Crypt.
Information of the Christie’s sale arrived just after Feigen experienced scaled back again his functions in 2017, shifting from a townhouse on East 69th Avenue (a constructing which Adler and David Zwirner now share) to a a lot more modest place on 77th Road.
On the evening in advance of the sale, he joked with Christie’s Outdated Masters director François de Poortere, declaring, “I hope none of them will promote because I want them back in my living area.”
But that was not the scenario. The sale established records for Annibale Carracci’s The Madonna and Boy or girl with Saint Lucy and the Younger Saint John the Baptist, which offered for $6 million, and Lorenzo Monaco’s The Prophet Isaiah, which offered for $3.6 million.
De Poortere known as Feigen “a real visionary in the global artwork planet who produced plenty of and startling discoveries all through his career. He was known for his discerning eye and remarkable flavor and ongoing to winner the industry of Outdated Masters. He will be enormously skipped.”
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