Joseph Duveen, the early 20th-century British art dealer who first put European masterworks in the hands of American collectors, famously quipped, “Europe has a great deal of art, and America has a great deal of money.” Clearly, things have changed. Today, American dealers are staking out real estate in London to gain a foothold on its enviable global market, where collectors flock to take advantage of kinder taxes on art. That shift was perhaps best characterized by three high-profile gallery openings during Frieze week. In addition to Marian Goodman’s 11,000-square foot factory building in Mayfair, which was partially renovated by David Adjaye, and Hauser & Wirth’s art compound out on a farm in the Somerset countryside, Dominique Levy opened a new space in Duveen’s former headquarters, a legendary 19th-century building at 22 Bond Street. The inaugural group show, cheekily titled “Local History,” is a mingling of Enrico Castellani, Donald Judd, and Frank Stella that highlights the artists’ brief, symbiotic relationship, tracking them from the 1950s to the ‘70s, at which point their paths diverged. The show is hung in one of Duveen’s former showrooms, a space small and bright enough to allow “the intimacy for artists to really echo with other artists,” Levy said at Monday night’s opening.
“Outside it’s like a Venetian palace,” Levy continued, motioning toward the building’s huge windows, with a view of the wrought-iron balcony under rows of Corinthian columns. “And I love Italy. I was looking around when Lock”—Lock Kresler, her London director—”said to me, ‘You know who used to have this building? Duveen.’ And I said, ‘What!’ This is like what Matisse was for me: I had to have it.”