NEW YORK—Martin Summers, former managing director of London’s Lefevre Gallery, has opened a new gallery in London’s Chelsea, where he is currently showing works from the collection of Peter Cochrane, the London art dealer who died last year.
Summers opened Martin Summers Fine Art in March with 18 paintings that had belonged to Cochrane, along with other paintings he is offering jointly with a longtime associate, Geneva dealer Jan Krugier. The three-story gallery is located next to Summer’s home, where he had been dealing privately since Lefevre closed in 2002. “If I’m not wanted, I can be in my garden,” Summers quips, “or in my pajamas.”
Summers, who plans to present exhibitions twice a year and deal only by appointment, first began dealing in art 40 years ago when he worked with Cochrane at Arthur Tooth & Sons. Cochrane amassed a trove of some 150 paintings, now valued at about $10 million, which Summers has been asked to sell by the executors of the Cochrane estate.
The collection includes paintings by Jean Dubuffet, Sam Francis, Howard Hodgkin, Allen Jones, Ellsworth Kelly, Frank Stella and Cy Twombly, among others, most of which haven’t been on the market since being exhibited at Arthur Tooth & Sons in the 1960s. “I was with him when he made most of his purchases,” says Summers of Cochrane, an advocate of emerging artists.
In 1967 Summers became a partner in the Lefevre Gallery, which held the first solo shows in London of Francis Bacon, Balthus, Salvador Dalí, Amedeo Modigliani and Georges Seurat.
Summers estimates it will take him about six or eight months to sell the Cochrane collection, after which he’ll continue to work with Krugier, who not only owns an important inventory of art but also represents the collection of Marino Picasso, a granddaughter of Pablo Picasso’s. Among Summers’ other offerings is a recently discovered masterpiece by Gustave Courbet that the artist had stored at a neighbor’s home, where it was discovered some 150 years later behind a chest in the attic. Summers is asking around $12 million for the work. “It’s nice to be back in the harness,” he says.