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Art dealer Barry Friedman retires from Barry Friedman Ltd. at the end of March 2014
Friedman will continue his partnerships in his two other galleries. Photo: Christian Courrèges, 1994.
NEW YORK, NY.- Legendary dealer Barry Friedman has announced his retirement from Barry Friedman Ltd. after nearly 50 years in business. He will close the gallery at the end of March 2014 with a number of auctions of artworks, from the various periods and mediums in which he has dealt, at Christie’s under the title, “Barry Friedman, The Eclectic Eye.” There will be an evening sale on Tuesday, March 25, followed by morning and afternoon sales on Wednesday, March 26, and ending Thursday, March 27 with an Italian Vintage Glass sale in the morning and a Contemporary Glass sale in the afternoon.

“I turned 70 earlier this year, and as I am in good health with lots of energy, I would like to take advantage of this and spend more time with my family and travel the world,” explains Friedman. “In addition, I am looking forward to having the time to work on a project that I have been talking about for years – writing a book that chronicles the incredible works of art that have passed through my hands during my career.”

Friedman, a long-established presence in the international art market, is known for introducing important 20th-century European fine and decorative artworks to the American audience. Recognized as a visionary dealer with a collector’s eye, Friedman has continually forged new paths in the decorative arts fields.

Friedman has always loved the discovery of finding great works of art -- from his first small Loetz vase to the work of the superbly talented contemporary artists he shows today. With that first piece, it became his pleasure to deal in the art glass of such notable artists as Gallé, Loetz and Tiffany. In the early 1970s, he started to collect and then deal in the Symbolist and Pre-Raphaelite paintings of Gustav Moreau, Khnopff, Hodler, Rossetti, Burne-Jones, and others. In the late 1960s, he was one of the first American dealers in Art Deco, which later included the paintings of Tamara de Lempicka.

The 1983 seminal exhibition, From MacIntosh to Molino: Fifty Years of Chair Design received critical acclaim from New York to Tokyo and earned Friedman the nickname “The Chair Man.” Other landmark exhibitions presented by Barry Friedman Ltd. have included: Fernand Khnopff and the Belgian Avant-garde (1983); The Bauhaus: Masters & Students (1987); Gerrit Rietveld: A Centenary Exhibition (1988), which traveled to museums across the country; Tamara de Lempicka (1983 & 1996); and Design Italian Style (furniture of Carlo Mollino and Carlo Graffi and Italian vintage glass from Murano, 1997). More recently in 2009, “Venice: 3 Visions in Glass” originated at the gallery and traveled to four museums in the U.S. and Europe.

In the 1980s, Friedman began collecting avant-garde photography leading to his partnership with Edwynn Houk in the Houk Friedman Gallery. There he exhibited the vintage photography of such greats as Man Ray, Lissitzky, Moholy-Nagy, and Rodchenko, as well as the contemporary works of Lynn Davis, and Sally Mann, the first living artist he had ever worked with.

“At the same time, at Barry Friedman Ltd.,” says Friedman, “I started showing the work of French designers of the 1940s and 50s including Jean Prouvé, Serge Mouille and André Arbus. I also became quite involved with Cubist, Constructivist and Neue Sachlichkeit paintings. In the mid-1990s, I returned to my love of art glass when I was introduced to the contemporary work of Michael Glancy, which led to the discovery of Italian glass artists Laura de Santillana and Cristiano Bianchin, and the unique vision of the Japanese artist Yoichi Ohira.”

In 2000, Friedman revisited his Art Deco roots when he opened Friedman & Vallois on Madison Avenue with his good friends and colleagues, Bob and Cheska Vallois, of Galerie Vallois, Paris.

“Discovering the works of Ettore Sottsass and Ron Arad with my then director, Marc Benda, led to our partnership in the Friedman Benda Gallery in 2007, which I am proud to say continues to represent the work of these two artists, as well as Wendell Castle, Joris Laarman, and a new generation of young designers, painters and photographers.”

Friedman will continue his partnerships in his two other galleries, Friedman Benda Gallery at 515 West 26th Street, and Friedman & Vallois at 27 East 67th Street.

“It has been my pleasure to share my passion for my work with collectors, curators, and designers over the years, and I would like to thank them all for their participation in my success.”

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