After 41 years in business, Chelsea gallery Barry Friedman Ltd. will shutter in late March. Owner Barry Friedman is retiring, bringing to close a nearly 50-year career as an art dealer. A three-day Christie’s auction, “Barry Friedman, The Eclectic Eye,” will coincide with the gallery’s last days.
In a press statement, Friedman, age 70, cited a desire to travel and spend more time with his family as the primary motivations for his retirement. He also intends to write a book about the artwork he has encountered over the course of his career.
Friedman first began collecting in 1966, purchasing a Loetz vase. His early acquisitions focused on glass from Tiffany and Gallé, as well as Loetz, but his interests soon expanded to include Art Deco, mid-century French design, Symbolism, the German Neue Sachlichkeit movement, Cubism, Constructivism, Pre-Raphaelite paintings and vintage and avant-garde photography.
Friedman was responsible for such influential exhibitions as “From MacIntosh to Molino: Fifty Years of Chair Design” (1983), “The Bauhaus: Masters & Students” (1987), “Gerrit Rietveld: A Centenary Exhibition” (1988) and “Venice: 3 Visions in Glass” (2009). In the 1980s he also partnered with dealer Edwynn Houk to run Houk Friedman Gallery, which showed photographic work by artists such as Man Ray, El Lissitzky, László Moholy-Nagy, Lynn Davis and Sally Mann.
Though his flagship space is closing, Friedman is still a partner in Art Deco gallery Friedman & Vallois, which he opened in 2000 with Robert and Cheska Vallois, and Friedman Benda Gallery, which he has run with Marc Benda since 2007.
The Christies auction is expected to include works from a wide range of periods and mediums. An evening sale on Mar. 25 and morning and afternoon sales on Mar. 26 will feature post war and contemporary art, 19th century painting, Impressionist and Modern works, photography and 20th century decorative arts and design, with vintage Italian glass on the morning of Mar. 27 and contemporary glass that afternoon.