Chrisitie's Expanding its Art Gallery

Alexandra Peers, writing for the NY Observer reports that Haunch of Venison, the art dealer owned by Christie's is purchasing Chelsea Gallery Robert Goff. It is reported that Haunch will leave its Rockefeller Center Gallery and reopen in Chelsea with the addition of Goff and several of his artists. Goff is to remain as director of the newly located New York Haunch gallery.

As I have mentioned several times on the Appraiser Workshops blog, Christie's has been very aggressive in expanding its art related, but non-auction ventures.  Peers also notes that since taking over haunch many fairs have not allowed Haunch to display, considering the gallery as a front for the auction house and private sales division.

Peers reports

Goff said he was approached by Haunch to show his artists in London and asked himself: "How to I grow as a gallery and not have these artists poached in the next few years? The only thing I had stopping me was my name on the door, and I decided that wasn't important." He added: "I think that's part of why they wanted me, as I had run a Chelsea gallery." Haunch also has galleries in London, Berlin and Zurich.

In 2007, Francois Pinault's Christie's International (parent of Christie's auction house) bought the London gallery Haunch of Venison, which represents Bill Viola, Richard Long, and Keith Tyson. It seemed a savvy move for Christie's at the time: Collectors traditionally turn to selling through dealers, not at auction, when prices weaken. Haunch then opened in the fall of 2008 in a 17,000-square-foot duplex penthouse atop the same building as Christie's headquarters. Its early shoppers included Roman Abramovich, the Russian billionaire.

But Haunch was barred from exhibiting at some key art fairs and was plagued by rumors (as it continues to be) that it was a front for the auction house's contemporary art division. Because Haunch handles all of Christie's private sales, it never seemed a stand-alone gallery, despite some very good exhibitions. Goff stressed: "I'll be managing my own artists." Goff's better-known artists include Ahmed Alsoudani, who is collected in the Middle East, and painter Isca Greenfield-Sanders, daughter of noted photographer Timothy.
To read the complete article, click HERE.

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