The famously bullish art dealer built an empire spanning 16 locations around the globe by never saying no to his artists’ ambitions. With an estimated $1 billion in annual sales, does Larry Gagosian have anything to conquer?
“CAN WE QUICKEN this up?” It’s lunchtime in New York and Larry Gagosian is hungry. It’s time for supper—or at least aperitifs—in Europe, where he recently did a three-week working tour of France, England, Germany and Switzerland, and it’s breakfast in Los Angeles, where last week he hosted his annual pre-Oscars opening at his Beverly Hills gallery, followed by a bash at Mr. Chow. So when food appears, served in his office on delicate Japanese dishware from his restaurant, Kappo Masa, four floors below, he’s ready. “Here, I’ll do that,” he says, commandeering the water and pouring it himself into a pair of ridged tumblers.
The silver-haired, tanned Gagosian settles himself back at his massive desk, a third of which is taken up with a collection of tchotchkes, including a jack-in-the-box of George W. Bush, Russian nesting dolls bearing the faces of various international despots and a cross given to him by the head of the Armenian Orthodox Church. These curios make a humorous counterpoint to the impressive canvases in the room: Across the expansive office is a somber painting by Francis Bacon, while to his right a large Picasso leans against the wall. Directly behind him hangs a Cy Twombly covered in the artist’s lyrically looping lines.....
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