NEW YORK CITY — Long regarded as one of the shakers and movers in the New York City antiques scene, especially in the Midcentury Modern and contemporary categories, gallery owner Barry Friedman is calling it quits. Friedman, whose iconic gallery is at 515 West 26th Street, made the announcement this past week at the beginning of The Salon: Art + Design on Thursday, November 14, stating that this would be his “last fair.”
Friedman started off in the business doing the “old Madison Square Garden shows in the late 1960s — I didn’t quite make it 50 years — but close,” stated the dealer. The gallery will be closed sometime after the current exhibit, “Michael Eastman’s America,” closes in January. What remains of Friedman’s inventory and some of his collection will be auctioned at Christie’s in March.
Friedman has been an important presence in the international art market, bringing Twentieth Century European fine and decorative art works to the forefront of the American collecting community. Highly regarded exhibitions at his gallery have featured contemporary art, cutting-edge furniture, studio glass, ceramics, and photography. Friedman also specializes avant-garde painting, works on paper and sculpture from 1900 to 1940; as well as vintage photography. Over the years he has brought artists such as Tamara de Lempicka and the works of Charles Rennie Mackintosh to the attention of collectors.
Some of the landmark exhibitions at his gallery have included “Venice. 3 Visions in Glass: Cristiano Bianchin, Yoichi Ohira, Laura de Santillana”; “Ron Arad: A Retrospective Exhibition 1981–2004”; “Emergence: Early American Studio Glass & Its Influences: 1964-1989”; “Mackintosh to Mollino: Fifty Years of Chair Design”; “The Bauhaus: Masters & Students”; and “Gerrit Rietveld: A Centenary Exhibition; Design Italian Style,” as well as numerous important photography exhibitions. Several important books were published by Friedman, including the tome Wendell Castle and Venice. 3 Visions in Glass: Cristiano Bianchin, Yoichi Ohira, Laura de Santillana.
“I plan to write a book about my experiences,” explained the dealer while seated in a unique stained ash Wendell Castle chair appropriately titled “Swept Away, 2013.” “There are so many fields that I have been involved with and so many interesting stories. I also plan to travel a more — a lot more,” he said.