10 of Art History’s Most Important (and Now Defunct) Galleries

As a business model, the art gallery occupies a unique position. Functioning as the bridge between art’s existence as a commercial enterprise and its role as a philosophical pursuit, a gallery, unlike other businesses, has a measure of success that is completely divorced from its financial earnings: by championing important artists, and putting on daring and provocative shows, they can become part of art history even if they never generate a massive profit.

On the one hand, this is a good thing, since it means that galleries can handle the commercial side and leave the artist to do what they do: make interesting art. On the other hand, it means that even historically significant galleries art don’t always make it past their first year of existence. This might be for fiscal reasons, or due to shifting audiences—or, in some cases, a successful gallery’s operator simply decides to move on. Below are 10 galleries that each made a major impact on art, but, for various reasons, didn’t last.

 

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