Christie’s International have announced the closure of its Haunch of Venison galleries. The struggling operation, Christie’s first undertaking (in its 240 years) of a primary market gallery, will now close in March with several redundancies. It is thought that the loss making gallery will shut so that Christies can concentrate on their lucrative private sales departments.
The London premises, known as the Yard, is to become the exhibition space for Christie’s private sales operation.The NY Chelsea gallery will finish with the exhibition “How to Tell the Future from the Past,” which ends March 2.
Haunch of Venison was founded by the art dealers Harry Blain and Graham Southern in 2002. It derived its name from the London Haunch of Venison Yard in which housed the gallery. Christie’s purchased the business in 2007 which had galleries in London, Berlin and New York. The gallery showcased emerging and well known artists. Christie’s announced that private sales exceeded 631.1 million pounds ($990 million) last year, up 26 percent from 2011, representing a 16 percent increase in business in 2012.
In March 2012, Haunch of Venison opened a second gallery space in London, located on Eastcastle Street in Fitzrovia. The new space, launched with an exhibition by young Scottish artist Katie Paterson. The gallery was situated in Fitzrovia; an area known historically for its artist communities and in recent years home to a number of popular contemporary art galleries.
Haunch of Venison opened in New York in September 2008. The inaugural exhibition, “Abstract Expressionism – A World Elsewhere”, showcased the paintings, sculptures and photographs of Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning, Lee Krasner, Barnett Newman, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Aaron Siskind, David Smith and Clyfford Still. The New York gallery was based in the Rockefeller Center from 2008 to 2011. In September 2011, the gallery relocated to a new space in Chelsea, also redesigned by Annabelle Selldorf.
It is thought that the restructuring will “affect a number of employees at Haunch of Venison, as well as some of the artists represented by the gallery.”