The Big Art Network


The Big Art Network




How many locations does Gagosian have? Even some art connoisseurs are easily stumped by this question. The empire of gallery founder Larry Gagosian (born 1945) has grown rapidly in recent years. There are currently 19 locations. Gagosian is represented six times in New York, three times in London, twice in Paris, and once each in Beverly Hills, Le Bourget, Geneva, Basel, Gstaad, Rome, Athens, and Hong Kong. In terms of exhibition space alone, Gagosian has now left the competition far behind - galleries such as Pace, David Zwirner and Hauser & Wirth.

Gagosian is a giant. How high Larry Gagosian's annual turnover is, one can only speculate. The gallery itself does not disclose any official figures on this. Market observers estimate the turnover at between 900 million and one billion US dollars. More than three hundred employees work for Larry Gagosian. Quite a few of them previously worked for influential auction houses, museums, and banks - until Larry Gagosian poached them from them. Of particular importance are the sales directors, who are responsible for closing sales and usually only look after a few artists at a time. Nevertheless, as we hear time and again, Larry Gagosian often closes important sales personally.

The Gallery Network

Artists represented by Gagosian are among the trendiest in the world. The gallery's website lists just over 250 artists. Among them you can find such important names as Georg Baselitz, Urs Fischer, Damien Hirst, Anselm Kiefer, Takashi Murakami, Richard Prince, Ed Ruscha. Likewise, the gallery deals in works by deceased artists such as Francis Bacon, Willam de Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler, Alberto Giacometti, Roy Lichtenstein, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol and Cy Twombly.

No less elite is the other side of the business. Among the collectors and clients who helped Larry Gagosian build his empire were Eli Broad and S.I. Newhouse. And even today, the gallery's network of clients is exceptional: names such as Charles Saatchi, Steven Cohen, Jose Mugrabi, and François Pinault can be found among its top customers.

The Beginnings

At the very beginning of his career, it didn't look like Larry Gagosian would ever be able to negotiate on an equal footing with clients worth billions. As the only son of an Armenian immigrant couple, he grew up in Los Angeles. It was a long time before he came into contact with the art market. His mother worked as an actress and singer, his father as an accountant. At the age of 24, Larry Gagosian earned his bachelor's degree in English literature - and not in art history, as one might expect.

After graduating, he initially managed to get by with odd jobs. For a while he was employed by the William Morris Agency, an artists' agency representing artists from all parts of the entertainment industry. After a year, he was laid off again. He began working as a parking lot attendant. When he saw someone selling posters near a parking lot, he decided to give it a try. Larry Gagosian decided to sell posters and apparently managed to build a network with young collectors in the process.

Entry Into the Art World

When he happened to discover pictures by New York photographer Ralph Gibson in an art magazine, he contacted Gibson with the question of whether he should organize an exhibition for him in Los Angeles. Gibson invited Gagosian to New York and introduced him to his gallerist Leo Castelli, one of the most influential people in the international art market. In Leo Castelli, Gagosian had found his mentor, who strongly supported him from then on. In 1980, Gagosian opened his first gallery in Los Angeles and subsequently flew back and forth frequently between Los Angeles and New York. Through Castelli, Gagosian met important artists and collectors such as Samuel Irving (called Si) Newhouse. In 1985, Gagosian opened his first gallery in New York.








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Ronny Waburek
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