Ten Art Galleries Where You Can Buy Mind-Blowing Gifts Right Now
Art galleries aren’t beacons of hospitality. The white walls, the unsmiling attendants, the lack of clarity about what is and isn’t for sale—these are not service-oriented institutions. Yet, as people prepare to buy one-of-a-kind gifts for the holidays, an art gallery should, in theory at least, be a logical destination to acquire something special. And they can be, you just have to know where to go.
The following is a list of galleries that not only are more approachable than most, they have art that you can walk in, purchase, and leave with. (This is opposed to many fine art galleries, where buyers have to wait until an exhibition has concluded to get their artwork. That’s fine during most times of year, less fine when you need it wrapped by Dec. 24.)
This list might seem like a grab bag, but that’s exactly the point: In every city, in every country, anyone can easily buy an extraordinary piece of fine art.
Richard Green, London
Known for its old master and British hunting paintings, Richard Green, which occupies an imposing six-story building on New Bond Street, is, in fact, the purveyor of a broad range of comparatively affordable paintings, both new and old. The painting above is by Ken Howard, a contemporary oil painter; the gallery is putting on an exhibition of his paintings from Jan. 18 to Feb. 4. They range in price from $6,000 to $64,000.
Demisch Danant, New York
Primarily a gallery that specializes on 20th century French design, Demisch Danant also has a robust collection of fine and decorative arts. Above is a work by contemporary artist Sheila Hicks, an American best known for dynamic textile creations. The above, titled PCP, from 1988, is just 21 inches x 21 inches; prices for Hicks’s works range from $24,000 to $150,000.
Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco
Widely considered one of the best photography galleries in the United States, the Fraenkel Gallery has work by all of the giants of the medium— Diane Arbus, Lee Friedlander, Irving Penn, and others. And while those could make nice (very, very expensive) gifts, Fraenkel sells photography on the lower end of the spectrum, too. The above image is by British artist Richard Learoyd, who takes his portraits using a camera obscura. The above work, Fragment (Vanessa waiting), from 2015, is on sale for $28,000.
Hixenbaugh Ancient Art, New York
A reasonable person might assume that a 2,000-year-old work of art would cost more than a similar work of art made yesterday. That person would be wrong. It turns out that there’s a surfeit of eminently affordable antiquities, and one of the best places to find them is in New York at Hixenbaugh Ancient Art. The above is a Roman glass bottle from the second to the third century AD, and it costs $3,500.
Daniel Blau, Munich
Daniel Blau Gallery specializes primarily in 20th century art, though its notable photography collection contains some of the earliest photos ever taken. The above photograph, Buzz Aldrin on Lunar Surface, from July 20, 1969, is by the astronaut Neil Armstrong and is included in Blau’s upcoming exhibition, Exploring Beauty: early extra-terrestrial photography. The image was taken on the surface of the moon and is on sale for €6,000 ($6,300.)
Crown Point Press, San Francisco
Crown Point has functioned as an etching workshop and gallery for more than 50 years, serving as a conduit for such artists as Richard Diebenkorn, Alex Katz, Sol Lewitt, and Helen Frankenthaler, and now has ushered in younger artists with active markets and critical profiles. It’s a place for artists to make prints—and similarly, a place where people who love those artists can buy those prints in limited editions. The above image is Hot Chocolate, by Wayne Thiebaud, in an edition of 25; the cost is $7,000.
Negropontes Gallery, Paris
Negropontes primarily focuses on interior design, with an emphasis on reviving the French decorative arts. The gallery also has a series of fine-art objects, including a line of glass sculptures by husband-and-wife duo Perrin & Perrin. The above, from their 360 Seamless series, costs €12,000 ($12,660.)
Throckmorton Fine Art, New York
Throckmorton’s stock runs the gamut from Chinese jade to Pre-Columbian statues to contemporary Latin American photography; while the range of these objects is broad, their quality is consistently high. Above is a small, marble Chinese Bodhisattva head section from a wall relief that dates to 550 AD to 577 AD. Its price: $4,500.
R & Company, New York
Famous for its ability to discover and champion contemporary artists and long lost modernists alike, R & Company is a repository of some of the most sought-after interior designers on the planet. Much of its stock is wildly expensive, though there are always a few objects, such as Rogan Gregory’s small bronze sculpture (which costs $450) and the above piece, Renate Müller’s Therapeutic Toy elephant, which costs a more substantial $18,000, that are at least partially in range for the average buyer.
Exhibition A, Online
It would be remiss not to mention the existence of the internet. And while there are many, many sites that sell art online, only a few sell works by artists who normally exhibit in high-end galleries. Exhibition A, founded by Cynthia Rowley, the fashion designer, and her husband, the gallerist Bill Powers, falls into the latter category. The work above, by Brian Calvin, is titled Untitled (I Voted); in a limited edition print run of 100, it costs $150.