Andrew Fabricant takes a new role as Chief Operating Officer as his spouse, Laura Paulson, joins the firm to establish an advisory arm.This commentary by Marion Maneker is available to AMMpro subscribers. (The first month of AMMpro is free and subscribers are welcome to sign up for the first month and cancel before they are billed.) Sometimes a lot of news comes at us pretty fast in one announcement. Late Tuesday afternoon, the Wall Street Journal’s Kelly Crow published some news from Gagosian Gallery that unpacks a number of themes within the art market. All of which are well worth considering at length. So forgive us if we devote a great deal of attention to what really amounts to a small corporate announcement: Larry Gagosian has named Andrew Fabricant to a new position, Chief Operating Officer, at the global art dealing concern. Additionally, it was announced that Gagosian would open a new division to offer art advisory services. That division will be run by Fabricant’s spouse, Laura Paulson, a relatively recent departure from Christie’s. Both moves are important because they chart several broad shifts in the business of selling art. They expose the inner workings of the world’s first global gallery, a business large enough to have an impact on the art market, as its founder moves toward an age when his business will have to transition to a format that no longer requires his daily presence and leadership. These moves raise questions about Gagosian’s leadership, the changing business model of the secondary market, the rise of advisory services to valuable estates and the rise of the next generation of dealers at Gagosian (or on their own.) Fabricant’s New Role Andrew Fabricant’s appointment as COO of Gagosian Gallery has been rumored for several weeks now. Fabricant, who spent 15 years with Gagosian before working with Richard Gray Gallery for another 20 years, had recently returned to the Gagosian fold as senior member of the staff with valuable connections and the potential to play statesman. Crow describes Fabricant’s new role:
- “Mr. Fabricant said his duties will encompass everything from negotiating real-estate leases and art sales to brainstorming with directors on potential shows and visiting artists in their studios—and showing up wherever Mr. Gagosian needs him to be. “It’s a gargantuan task to run this gallery, and I’m hoping to take more stress off Larry,” he said.”
- “Ms. Paulson said she approached Mr. Gagosian with the idea of starting her own advisory firm in his shop. They agreed that the firm would be based in the Gagosian headquarters on New York’s Madison Avenue, where she will have a separate office entrance, email domain and database. Ms. Paulson will manage her own team and intends to hire about five or six people, she said.”
- “Appraisals became Ms. Paulson’s forte. She left the house in late 2017 as global chairman of 20th century art in part, she said, because the auction house’s management suggested she step back from conducting appraisals regularly. “They wanted me to turn over the reins of these collections I’d cared over for years,” she said, “but these are relationships, not portfolios.”
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