A central gallery within the New York art scene will reportedly close for good. Marlborough Gallery, which operates spaces in New York and London, is shuttering its Manhattan flagship amid a debacle involving an alleged disagreement between the family that operates the space and the gallery’s board members, Artnet News reported on Thursday night.
The gallery had last year led an effort to consolidate its two New York spaces—one was in Midtown, the other in Chelsea—and was planning to open an expanded gallery in the city in the fall of this year, according to the 2019 announcement. It was not clear whether its London gallery was closing as well.
According to Max Levai, president of the gallery, the decision to close the New York space was made while his father, Pierre Levai, the nephew of the gallery’s founder and Marlborough’s current leader, was hospitalized following coronavirus-related complications. A real-estate transaction gone wrong involving an attempt to combine Marlborough’s current Chelsea space with the next-door one formerly operated by Cheim & Read inflamed matters, according to Artnet.
“As he lay battling for his life, after testing positive for Covid-19 this spring, the board used his condition for their own advantage, and voted while he was incapacitated to permanently close the New York gallery,” Levai said in his statement, which was provided to ARTnews by a representative for the gallery. The board’s decision allegedly has “legal ramifications.”
Marlborough Gallery’s roster boasts artists such as Frank Auerbach, Alice Aycock, Celeste Dupuy-Spencer, Red Grooms, R. B. Kitaj, Andrew Kuo, Tony Matelli, Paula Rego, John Riepenhoff, and Susan Te Kahurangi King. The gallery first launched in London in 1940, and it later expanded to New York in 1963. Until last year, its three spaces operated independently, with the Chelsea one acting as a go-to for contemporary art within the district.
“It is the great artists, some inherited from years of history with Marlborough, and others who have more recently joined the program, who are truly responsible for the incredible moments and memories we will always cherish,” Levai said. “My top priority is to protect our artists and their work.”