Brett Gorvy, Deputy Chairman at Christie’s auctioneers and international head of Postwar and Contemporary art, is to leave the company after 23 years. He will now join the well-respected art dealer Dominique Lévy, in a new partnership called Lévy Gorvy. Mr Gorvy moved from Christie’s London to lead the New York department in 2000 and has been deputy chairman of Christie’s Americas since 2007. He is credited with creating the Contemporary art auction market as we know it and leaves a position and legacy which will be difficult to fill.
Gorvy is the latest senior auction house executive to depart from one of the major houses. The list includes Melanie Clore European Chair and head of Impressionism at Sotheby’s and Gorvy’s co-worker Amy Cappellazzo. in May 2015, he pushed totals for Postwar and Contemporary Art beyond the $984.5m mark, a record for a single sale season.
In a statement, Gorvy said: “To those who know me well, you will be fully aware of my profound love for Christie’s and the deep respect and pride that I have for the international team… You can only, therefore, imagine how difficult and considered the decision has been to take this next step”. He adds, “I will still have close synergy with Christie’s, most especially in 2017, as I will continue to work with the postwar and contemporary team on specific exhibition projects and key consignments.”
Stephen Brooks, deputy chief executive officer, Christie’s, said in a statement, “As advantageous as it has been to have a Brett inside, it will be equally advantageous to have him as an ally to Christie’s on the outside”.
In an announcement this evening Dominique Lévy and Brett Gorvy said; “We are delighted to be ending 2016 by launching an exciting new venture for the future.
Inspired by twenty years of close friendship, professional collaboration, and a shared passion for the living history of art, we have formed Lévy Gorvy, an international gallery devoted to the highest levels of connoisseurship and collecting in the fields of modern, post-war and contemporary art. As Chairman and International Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art at Christie’s and one of the leading forces and tastemakers behind the 20th-century art market, Brett brings an extraordinary depth of knowledge to our merger. A globally respected gallerist, Dominique formed her eponymous gallery in 2012, opened her New York space in 2013, and inaugurated a London location in 2014. Lévy Gorvy will operate in these two locations, fostering our dedication to the living artists and artists’ estates we represent and pursuing a robust program of exhibitions and related multi- disciplinary events, while intensifying our focus on private sales in the secondary market.
Lévy Gorvy will proudly continue our ongoing art historical research and original scholarship to produce exhibition catalogues and other key publications; grow our dynamic program of performances and commissioned poetry in New York and London; and extend our participation in major art fairs worldwide. Among our priorities will be a focus upon Asia. Through her representation of Korea’s most celebrated modern artists and her gallery’s presentations in Hong Kong, Dominique has been building important new bridges to private and institutional collectors. And the region is one of the areas that Brett so successfully developed while at Christie’s as one of the largest growth areas for the 20th-century art market.
Launching in January 2017 in conjunction with the inauguration of our expanded New York space at 909 Madison Avenue, Lévy Gorvy will also debut a new bespoke advisory and collections management service inspired by the vision, profoundly personal engagement, and tireless advocacy of the 20th century connoisseur dealers who are our heroes—Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, Pierre Matisse, Leo Castelli, and Peggy Guggenheim. The two of us share a unique experience as Europeans based in America, as professionals whose ‘eye’ for art has been trained upon the intersection of the Old and New Worlds. Our goal is to put that perspective—and our complementary skills and passions, our talent in sourcing the rarest works of art—at the service of collectors of true masterpieces. Our advisory department will likewise work very closely with artists’ families, foundations and estates, and estate attorneys to protect and advance the legacy of significant career artists internationally, engineering the embrace of new generations of curators, collectors, and audiences.
In the conversations that led us to this exciting moment, we discovered an uncanny similarity in our view of today’s art world. We share a belief that success is best measured in the depth of the personal relationships—with artists, museum colleagues, collectors, other gallerists and dealers, the auction houses, scholars and critics, and patrons—that ultimately shape cultural dialogue and art history beyond the limits of any transaction.
With this in mind, we look forward to sharing our next phase with you and welcoming you to Lévy Gorvy in the new year”.
Photo: Sara Faith © Artlyst 2016