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Artwork Luminaries Shell out Tribute to Richard Feigen, the ‘Collector in Dealer’s Clothes’ Revered for Championing Previous and New Masters Alike

Artwork dealer Richard Feigen, a connoisseur of Previous Master artwork, died on Friday morning in Mount Kisco, New York, thanks to difficulties from COVID-19. He was 90 several years old.

Feigen, who ran galleries in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles, provided quite a few important artworks to much more than 100 museums around the environment, which include the Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum of Artwork, the Nationwide galleries of Washington and London, the Getty, and a lot of many others.  

“Richard was an artwork seller and collector who had a certain conditions he normally considered, whether or not he was shopping for for trade or property, and that was the singular high-quality of innovation: the portray or drawing experienced to progress about all other folks of its time,” fellow Old Learn dealer Otto Naumann informed Artnet Information. “His preferred phrase was ‘Don’t look in the rearview mirror.’”

Feigen opened his to start with gallery in Chicago in 1957, exactly where he focused on German Expressionism and Surrealism. He championed artists which includes Francis Bacon, Jean Dubuffet, Joseph Cornell, Claes Oldenburg, Ray Johnson, and James Rosenquist. In 1963, he opened a next gallery in New York, the place he showed work by Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Constantin Brancusi, and Piet Mondrian.

Just two years later, he turned just one of the earliest sellers to operate a gallery in Soho, the place he confirmed get the job done by Joseph Beuys—the artist’s first sizeable publicity in the US—and John Baldessari, who Feigen gave his first New York present. (Feigen also figures prominently as a tuxedo-clad party-hopper in Tom Wolfe’s famous 1970 essay “Radical Stylish.”)

Achieved director Max Hollein observed Feigen’s eclectic preferences in a tribute to the late dealer on his Instagram: “Richard Feigen was an extraordinary man, excellent connoisseur of art from the Italian trecento through all hundreds of years up to contemporaries like Peter Saul, Jim Rosenquist, or Ray Johnson (shocking for many who know him as 1 of the most important Previous Grasp sellers).”

Richard Feigen at Sotheby’s on January 21, 2010 in New York Town. Picture by Carrie Shaltz/Patrick McMullan by using Getty Illustrations or photos.

Feigen invited Austrian architect Hans Hollein (father of Max Hollein) to layout his headquarters on 79th Avenue in 1970, then inaugurated the room with an historic Monet exhibition that garnered countrywide tv protection.

The seller went on to spearhead the development 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. offered Old Masters from 1988 to 1995. 

“Collectors and museums all around the earth have benefited from his vision and he was generous with the establishments that he cherished,” read a information on the Feigen gallery site.

In 2019 Feigen donated Carlo Saraceni’s altarpiece The Dormition of the Virgin to the Met in honor of the museum’s 150th anniversary.

I was so happy that Richard Feigen was able to take a look at the freshly renovated European paintings galleries and admire his present,” the museum’s chief curator, Keith Christiansen, advised Artnet Information in an electronic mail. The altarpiece was Saraceni’s first substitute for a rejected photo by Caravaggio, Christiansen claimed, noting, “It’s not only a vital get the job done of Caravaggism, but aspect of one of the most intriguing and complicated tales of acceptance and rejection in art record. This, way too, is a excellent legacy for Richard, who appeared constantly battling towards conventions. He had one particular of the most eventful occupations of everyone involved in the arts and will be dearly skipped.”

Feigen’s check out to the museum six weeks back with his wife, Isabelle, to see the Saraceni installed “sadly turned out to be the last time we noticed just about every other,” Hollein wrote. “Thank you Richard! I will overlook you dearly!”

No matter if Feigen had a succession approach for his galleries continues to be unclear. The gallery’s longtime president, Frances Beatty, still left in 2017 to commence a small business with her son, Alex Adler.

“We experienced a good time, marketed operate to about 125 museums around the globe, and held additional than 100 museum-good quality exhibitions,” Beatty told Artnet Information. “His determination to Ray Johnson, who returned to us in 1995 soon after his demise, in the kind of his estate, which I now symbolize, was unshakable. He never ever wavered in his conviction that Johnson was a wonderful artist regardless of his exasperating character.”

Feigen could normally be counted on for a colorful, incisive remark about the newest goings-on in the art market. In 2009, amid the global economic crisis, he bought a exceptional J.M.W. Turner portray at Sotheby’s New York, The Temple of Jupiter Panellenius Restored, which he had acquired 27 yrs before.

The painting bought for $12.9 million, on the decrease close of its $12 million to $16 million estimate, but nevertheless a healthful outcome offered the financial backdrop. When I asked him about it after the sale, he explained, “I was happy with the selling price, which fell a lot more or much less inside of the estimate. In general terms, the buyer was intelligent and I was silly. The portray will grow to be substantially additional worthwhile. There are only 20 or so Turners in private fingers.”

Feigen marketed works at Christie’s in May perhaps 2019 in order to increase income for his retirement. “I am a collector in dealer’s dresses,” he wrote in his 2000 book Tales from the Artwork Crypt.

Information of the Christie’s sale arrived following Feigen had scaled back again his operations in 2017, relocating from a townhouse on East 69th Avenue (a building which Adler and David Zwirner now share) to a a lot more modest place on 77th Avenue.

On the night time prior to the sale, he joked with Christie’s Previous Masters director François de Poortere, expressing, “I hope none of them will offer because I want them again in my living home.”

But that was not the case. The sale established documents for Annibale Carracci’s The Madonna and Child with Saint Lucy and the Youthful Saint John the Baptist, which bought for $6 million, and Lorenzo Monaco’s The Prophet Isaiah, which marketed for $3.6 million.

De Poortere named Feigen “a correct visionary in the world-wide art entire world who made countless and startling discoveries all through his occupation. He was acknowledged for his discerning eye and remarkable style and continued to champion the discipline of Old Masters. He will be greatly missed.”

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