Karsten Schubert, who ran a London gallery for over thirty years and was among the first dealers to organize exhibitions of works by Young British Artists, has died at age 57. According to The Art Newspaper, the cause of his death was medullary cancer, a rare form of thyroid cancer.
Schubert was born in Berlin in 1961, and he was an advisory board member of London’s Drawing Room, and a faculty member in the fine arts department of the British School at Rome. He opened his own London enterprise in 1987 on Charlotte Street with an exhibition of work by Alison Wilding, who the gallery still represents.
Throughout his career, Schubert worked with UK artists, including Rachel Whiteread, Bridget Riley, Damien Hirst, Gary Hume, and Michael Landy, and international figures like Carl Andre, Fred Wilson, Gerhard Richter, Dan Flavin, and many others. Martin Kippenberger had his first and only exhibition in the UK at Schubert’s gallery in 1991.
Matthew Higgs, director of the New York-based nonprofit art space White Columns, wrote of Schubert on Instagram this morning, “It’s very hard to understate the significance of his contribution to the British art worlds of the 1980s, 90s and beyond…He will be greatly missed.”
In 1995, the dealer cofounded the London-based publishing company Ridinghouse, which publishes art criticism, catalogues, and art historical texts. Schubert wrote a book, titled Room 225-6: A Novel, in 2015, after spending several weeks recovering from surgery at Claridge’s in London.
The gallery, which is currently located in Soho, represents Rose English, Tess Jaray, Ann-Marie James, and Alison Wilding.
“I’ve never met anyone who believed so much in art as Karsten, nor have I ever met anyone so kind and generous in sharing it…He showed my work, he sold my work, he made books, he championed my work in all the ways an artist could hope for. More than anything he believed in it, and in me, for which I will always be deeply grateful,” James said in a statement posted to Instagram.
Jaray told ARTnews, “He was one of those very rare individuals who truly love art. And he was very, very generous to artists.”
ARTnews has reached out to Karsten Schubert gallery for comment.