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Katharine Mulherin, Pioneering Dealer in Toronto Art World, Dies at 54

Katharine Mulherin.

Katharine Mulherin, who maintained multiple galleries in Toronto and New York throughout her career, died on Sunday, July 14, at age 54. According to an obituary published in The Globe and Mail and a Facebook post written by her son, Jasper, Katharine committed suicide.

Mulherin was one of the first dealers to launch an arts space on Toronto’s Queen West thoroughfare, where she opened BUS gallery in 1998. She also helmed Mulherin New York on the city’s Lower East Side, which closed about two years ago, the now-shuttered Mulherin + Pollard in New York, and Mulherin Toronto, among other projects.

According to Erin Stump, who worked as Mulherin’s assistant from 2007 to 2011 and went on to open her own enterprise in Toronto, Mulherin Toronto will be closed for the foreseeable future. Recent exhibitions at the space have showcased work by Dan Flanagan, Erica Eyres, and Drew Simpson.

Throughout her career, Mulherin championed emerging and mid-career artists, working with Shauna Born, Oscar De Las Flores, Clint Griffin, Allyson Mitchell, and others. In recent years, Mulherin Toronto participated in fairs such as Art on Paper (2019), Untitled Miami (2017), Art Toronto (2017), and the Spring/Break Art Show (2017).

Stump told ARTnews that the dealer was renowned for juggling “a million” projects at once.

“She always had multiple galleries—that was one thing she was known for,” Stump said, adding of her relationship with Mulherin, “we were able to be business partners but also remain friends, which I feel like in the art world is a unique experience.”

Clint Roenisch, another Toronto dealer, wrote on Instagram, “I applaud anyone who starts a space to show what they wish to show and that’s just what Katharine did, several times. She contributed to and deepened the cultural record of our time here. Another light in the Toronto firmament has gone out and that’s a loss for all of us who remain.”

A memorial for Mulherin will be held in Toronto next week.

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