The art galleries history
From the art dealer to the digital gallery

We are approaching the history of art galleries, from the beginning of the sixteenth century to the new on-line galleries that encircles the world through the network.

Merchant means a person who especially trades with paintings or works of art, according to the Royal Spanish Language Academy (RAE) in its third meaning.

Moreover, to speak of the history of art galleries owners is to trace it to the origin of the first art dealers or merchants. Five centuries have passed since the trade emerged in the Netherlands after the conclusion of the first specific art fairs as “Schilder Pand” of Antwerp. It has been five centuries since the profession evolved and revolutionized the art market worldwide. Dealers, gallery owners, have become one of the key pieces in the art circuit in the last five centuries.

At the beginning, the itinerant merchants were simply intermediaries who exercised the office changing objects from one collection to another in different countries. It was not until the sixteen century and booming of the art market in Europe that the profession begins to acquire the current characteristics. The dealers or merchants started charging a prestige and prominence, which were not used to in the art market. Its figure began to emerge the revalue itself and the first ‘modern’ dealers along with the rejected artists by the academies face the monopoly of art and change the relationship between the collectors, artists and them.

The pioneers of the sixteen centuries in Europe

The Frenchman, Paul Durand-Ruel (1831-1922), for many known as “The Dealer of the Impressionists,” considered as the first modern gallery owner, who also relies on a close and first-hand relation with his artists, among some such as Monet or Renoir. Durand-Ruel in 1865 opened his gallery in Paris, where he exhibited at the Barbizon School to bet five years later by the Impressionist painters, who discovers, despite going against almost the majority of public opinion at the time. The failure of the sales and financial difficulties led him to exhibit in London and New York, where he eventually opened a gallery in 1888. It is there through the collectivism of the Americans, where he takes his artists to road of success.

Ambroise Vollard (1868-1939) is another of the most representative figures of the first gallery owners. He follows the line of Durand-Ruel and opens in Paris his gallery in 1890 with the exhibition of his favourite painter Paul Cezanne. Although, he also fails to obtain a foothold in the market, continues to focus on post-impressionist painters and cubist of the stature of Pablo Picasso. His intention was always to enhance the intellectual character and exclusive works of his artists.

The Dutchman, settled in London, Joseph Duveen (1869-1939) takes his first steps in his father’s antique shop, where he begins to submerge into the international art circuit. In contrast to the previous gallery owners, Duveen only worked with artists already listed on the market. The Dutchman is considered as one of the largest art dealers of all times.

The twentieth century American contribution

With the turn of the century, the art market began to bet on a progressive internationalization, which today, far from curb, continues to increase. The epicenter of art moved from Paris to New York in an environment of innovation and commitment to new movements ranging from Expressionism to Pop Art and Minimalism. The galleries of New York began to become not only a sales office, but are places where reflection and a meeting point among critics, collectors and artists were a constant.

Among the main reputable gallery owners gain popularity; Betty Parsons (1900-1982) specialized in Abstract Expressionism. In 1946 she opened his gallery in New York with artists such as Jackson Pollock and Robert Rauschenberg.

The American, Leo Castelli (1907-1999), opened his first gallery in 1957 in New York be-coming one of the most distinguished of the moment. One of his bets was the combination of European artists with the Americans, from Picabia to Mondrian. In addition, Castelli bets on new artists from Warhol Pop Art Conceptual Art Nauman. The dealer was one of the first co-production in funding the work of artists. Leo Castelli became one of the most influential art dealers of history and his mark is still present today.

Gallery Owners today

The landscape today is led by a group of galleries of worship, considered “master of the art market.” They are powerful, influential and ultimately control from first-hand the circuit of art internationally. Sell their works to big collectors and galleries moving parts from half the world without forgetting a continuous presence in museums.

Larry Gasgosian is currently considered the most powerful man in the global art market. In total, he has eleven spaces in cities such as New York, London, Paris, Rome or Hong Kong.

His first gallery was opened in New York in 1979 and began his road to success, now betting mostly on renowned artists in the world of international art.

Another great magnate, Jay Joplin is the owner of the White Cube gallery in London. Joplin is characterized by a different function to that of most galleries. Represents about twenty artists, but does not usually organize regular exhibitions and has no contract with any of them. Nonetheless, does perform exhibitions for emerging artists betting on the new figures, who are looking for a break in the market. The gallery has a great influence within the art world and his relationship with the critics, the collectors and the media has led him to organize exhibits with a very high cared profile.

Emerging galleries, boundless through the network

logoIn recent years, the Internet plays a major role in spreading the knowledge of the work of art of many artists. The virtual art market, and globally, is now a reality with a steady increase in specialized portals in the world of art and its different aspects. Of galleries, auction houses and pages that act as intermediaries in the process is the main benefits of opening the doors via the network to undergo a very important artistic promotion through blogs, personal websites and of course galleries. Moreover, works of art as a perfect Internet information portal for the dissemination of news within the art circuit in addition to promoting an alternative market in which the purchase of works of art occurs freely and independently. The artists achieve an effect impossible to find years ago and find a place, where to exhibit their work, in most cases through virtual galleries.

Within this bet, PLASTIKÉ ART GALLERY is intended to be an international meeting point through the network to gallery owners, collectors and artists. The art is joins the new technologies in this field to show that there are no boundaries.

Ultimately, galleria owner’s history has travelled a long way and now advocates reinventing it in the hands of new technologies.



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