Apollo Magazine

Dealer’s Choice: Alma Luxembourg

Alma Luxembourg of Luxembourg & Dayan speaks to Apollo about art, the market and the dealer's life

Alma Luxembourg. Photo: Lillian Birnbaum

The art market is full of personalities, but dealers and gallerists often seem little more than names when the market gets covered in print. In a new series, Apollo asks art dealers to introduce themselves and their businesses.

Tell us a bit about the history of your business…

Daniella and Amalia first opened Luxembourg & Dayan in New York in 2009. I joined two years later, and we opened our new London gallery space on Savile Row. While the nature of our business is selling works privately, we are driven by the exhibitions we mount in both our galleries, of those artists or movements that intrigue us and touch our hearts.

What are your specialist fields?

Broadly speaking we deal in Impressionist, modern and contemporary art. Time after time we are drawn to unsung modern masters – from movements such as Arte Povera (Burri) and Nouveau Réalisme – showing work that is well deserving of wider attention. Our recent show in New York was the first show of French artist Martial Raysse in the city for 40 years! Our ‘Pop Not Pop’ booth at this year’s Frieze Masters will feature one of his seminal works, alongside other Pop artists.

What’s the most exciting work you’re currently offering?

We are very excited to be opening the first UK show of Polish Pop artist Jerzy ‘Jurry’ Zielinski (1943–80). His paintings are a fascinating mix of Pop motifs with the forms and colours found in Communist propaganda. It’s also exciting to see that the exhibition plays a part in this wider momentum for investigating and rethinking the international impact of Pop Art, outside the UK and US.

What’s been your greatest triumph as a dealer?

I have been very lucky to meet and work with great collectors and to be able to find important works of art to sell. That is my greatest triumph.

How has the market in your field changed since you started dealing?

When I started working at Christie’s in the contemporary art department in 2004, the market was much smaller, both in terms of value and in terms of volume. Since then, the major change that I have witnessed is the increasing globalisation of the contemporary market, with many more people from around the world engaging with and collecting art.

Do you collect yourself? And in the same field as you deal?

I do collect myself, and often in the same field that I deal in. Both my parents have always collected art and so I have grown up with art on the walls. I am passionate about art and enjoy living with works of art around me.

Which work have you been sorriest to part with?

I’m often sorry to part with works of art, but I do so knowing that there are wonderful things to come. I am always looking for the next work and this keeps me going.

If you weren’t an art dealer, what would you be?

I would probably be an archaeologist or a detective…

Alma Luxembourg is a partner at Luxembourg & Dayan, New York and London.

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