Scholar and Dealer Francis Naumann on the ‘Ironic’ Aspect of the Art Market That Led Him to Close His Venerated New York Gallery
Art Business

Scholar and Dealer Francis Naumann on the ‘Ironic’ Aspect of the Art Market That Led Him to Close His Venerated New York Gallery

Francis M. Naumann. Courtesy of Francis M. Naumann Fine Art. Photo: Marie T. Keller. Earlier this month, dealer and scholar Francis Naumann announced that he would be closing his eponymous New York gallery next spring, ending a nearly 20-year run. An accomplished art historian and one of the world’s leading experts on Marcel Duchamp , Naumann opened his gallery in 2001 to present works by European Dadaists and Surrealists. But waning interest in early 20th-century art has rendered the venerable dealer’s business untenable. “There are fewer and fewer collectors of 20th-century art because the younger generation wishes to identify with the art of their times and feel that the art of the past is—by definition—passé,” Naumann tells artnet News over email, before quoting his favorite artist: “When Duchamp was asked if he had any advice to give young artists, he said, ‘The son must hate the father in order to be a good son. Such hatred seems to be the only means of producing that necessary reaction against the achievements of the previous generation.’” The closing of Naumann’s enterprise seems to speak to a bigger issue than the “mid-market squeeze” that everyone is talking about these days. For generations, […]

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