Paul Kasmin, the founder of a gallery in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood currently with three spaces, is dead. A release issued by the gallery announcing the news said that he died at 60 on Monday of a “long period of illness.”
Born in 1960 in London, Kasmin founded his gallery in SoHo in 1989 and moved it to Chelsea in 2000. Over the years, it has become well known for a program that melds modernist giants with today’s major talents, and its slate now includes Ali Banisadr, Tina Barney, Constantin Brancusi, William N. Copley, Walton Ford, Jane Freilicher, Lee Krasner, and Roxy Paine, among others. Characterized by its air of refinement, the gallery has been a regular at major art fairs like the ADAA Art Show and Art Basel Miami Beach.
Kasmin often spoke effusively about artists with whom he worked. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal in 2012, he praised Les Lalanne (a French husband-and-wife duo known for its whimsical sculptures riffing on the form of animals) as among his favorites—no doubt reasoned from his long relationship with the pair, having introduced their work to American audiences at his gallery in 2007.
Since then, Les Lalanne have become art-market sensation, and their work has appeared in notable public spaces around New York, including a former gas station that the artists populated with faux sheep. “He made the market for them in the US,” Edith Dicconson, a director at Kasmin gallery, told the Art Newspaper last year.
Kasmin told the Wall Street Journal that much of his taste and style owed something to his father, John Kasmin, a noted London art dealer whose gallery formed a locus of avant-garde activity in the British capital in the 1960s. Having represented major artists such as David Hockney, Frank Stella, and John Latham early on, John took his son for a visit to New York in 1970. Together, they visited Andy Warhol’s Factory, which left a lasting effect on Paul. “Coming from England,” he said, “nothing prepared me for how much I would be blown away by New York.”
As his namesake gallery’s statement reads, “Paul took great pleasure in overseeing all aspects of the gallery until the very end, and it was his sincere wish, and in his plans, that his vision for Kasmin continue as ambitiously as ever.”