Richard L. Figen, a prominent heroism, dealer and collector who has influence in the art world in New York and competed for both old masters and new talent, included top dollar deals of all kinds for museums and magnets. At Mount Kisco, NY He Was 90.
His daughter, Philip Fagen Malkin, stated that the reason for this was complications of COVID-19.
Mr. Feigen had a hand in the sale of several title-making arts during his more than 60 years in business. In his galleries in Manhattan, Chicago and elsewhere, he hosted countless exhibitions, including emerging figures such as pop artist Gerald Lang and sculptor Enrique Castro-CID. For years he represented the elusive collagenist Ray Johnson, and was a big booster to assemblyist Joseph Cornell, painter and sculptor Jean Dubuffet and painter and printmaker Max Beckman, all of whom show in his gallery.
At various points he advanced from the 13th century to the Baroque period, sunset, German expressionism, Italian art and, more specifically, anything involving the old masters. In a 1987 article in The New York Times about him and his work, a headline from today’s collectors called, “Old Masters, New Tycoon.”
As noted in that article, with his interest in the old masters he was shaking the edge of a traditionally stage of the art market – he had “brought the style and pressure of Wall Street into a business that still Steeped in the aristocratic notion of gentleness. “
Whatever artist or style he was showing or showing in his galleries, Mr. Fagen showed a keen tendency to value – or, more important, future values - despite having little training in art or the history of art.
“Richard was always ahead of the curve,” Francis FL Beatty, vice president from 1980 to 2017, and then president of Richard L. Fijn & Co. by email. “He Did not like to be a follower; He wanted to shine a light on great art that was underestimated. “
Mr. Fagen traveled in narcotic circles, befriended the artists and told those who gathered him about Kajol. His hard-driving style eliminated some of his more reserved colleagues.
“He One can manage four English dukes, three financiers and two film stars to work their long hours in long-lasting sentences.
Whatever, his passion of the time, Mr. Feigen understood that in order to appreciate the importance and value of art, it is necessary to know how it fits into his time period.
In an oral history recorded for the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art in 2009, he stated, “I like the artists I love.” “They are not painting in their rearview mirror. They are painting through the windshield. “
Richard Lee Fagen was born on 8 August 1930 in Chicago. His father, Arthur Paul Fagen, was a lawyer and real estate investor, and his mother, Shirley (Burman) Fagen, was a housewife.
By the time he was about 10 years old, he was already developing a rudimentary theory of collecting.
“I think I was interested in the future potential of things,” he said in oral history.
At the age of 11 or 12, as he told the story, he bought a watercolor in keeping with the French Revolution by Scottish artist Isaac Cruikshank, who had caught his eye at a local antique shop. He Paid $ 100, he said, money he had earned by selling Tea leaves with flowers in them. Why would a child buy such?
In a 2019 interview with auctioneer Christie, he said, “I liked it and thought it would make sense of my spending.”
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By the time he was in college at Yale University, he had amassed a collection that he was concerned that the pieces were “somewhat threatened by a swarm of nuisance roommates,” he said in oral history. He Bachelor’s degree there in 1952 and a master’s degree in 1954 at Harvard Business School.
He The company, owned by relatives, was being prepared for a spot at the Beneficial Standard Life Insurance Company of Los Angeles, and 25 were assigned to start its investment division. But his passion for art collecting continued to drag him back east.
He Bought a seat on the New York Stock Exchange, thinking that he could work in Wall Street and pursue his art passion at the same time, but this proved not possible. In 1957, he made a leap into the art world with both feet, opening the Richard Fagen Gallery on Astor Street in Chicago.
“I had to use my collection as my opening show,” he recalled in oral history. It was titled “masterpieces of 20th century German art”, with Mr. Fagen introduced to German expressionists. But soon he was showing Beckmann, Francis Bacon, Romanian sculptor and painter Victor Brunner and other important artists there.
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He He also includes painter George Cohen, to represent some Chicago-area artists. The curiosity of his work was seen in New York, he said, adding that he opened his first New York gallery in 1963 on East 81st Street.
In 1965 he opened a second Manhattan gallery in Soho, focusing on contemporary art. In this period he owned a piece of a gallery in Los Angeles, and for four years in the early 1990s, he had a gallery in London. Over the years their New York galleries have occupied various locations, including the current one on East 77th Street.
Mr. Fagen loved working with his artists, even businessmen like Mr. Johnson, who died by suicide in 1995. Once Mr. Johnson indulged in a kind of performance art, he fired 60 hot dogs from a helicopter on Ward Island. in New York City. He Mr. Feigen talked in taking tabs for both helicopters and dogs.
“He Dr. Beatty said that dedication to particular artists and movements (never the most obvious) was relentless.
Showing artists in his galleries, Mr. Fagen built a reputation as a wheeler-dealer in the art world. He Often turned into a bidder behind high-priced sales at large auction houses, and even cast as a version of himself in Oliver Stone’s 1987 film “Wall Street”. Often at such auctions he was representing buyers whom he had schooled at the value of investing in art.
“There are few ready customers in this business, especially Americans,” he told the Times in 1987. “You have to convert them.”
Museums often turn to Mr. Fagen for significant acquisitions. But sometimes he was buying for himself, either for his galleries or for inventory for his personal collection, which became formidable over time.
In oral history, he admitted, “I never bought any big thing for myself.” “I never knew where the money was going to come from. I managed it somehow. “
Late in life, Mr. Fagen, who lived in Katoena, N.Y. at the time of his death, sold pieces of his collection to finance his retirement. Christie handled one such sale in 2019.
“I hope none of them sell,” he said at the time, “because I want them back in my living room.”
Mr. Fagen’s marriage to Sandra Elizabeth Canning in 1966 and Margaret Kluwer ended in divorce in 1998. In 2007 she married Isabel Horncourt Viswati, who survives her first marriage with a daughter, Ms. Figgins Malkin, and a son, Richard; Two stepdaughters, Stephanie Diana Harkoncourt Viswati and Leonie Allison Horncourt Viswati; A step-son, Alexander Carl Richard Viswati; A sister, Brenda Sou Feigen; And three grandchildren.
Mr. Fagen, a staunch Democrat, recorded a Smithsonian oral history during the last days of President George W. Bush’s administration in January 2009, in whose eight-year term he broke from a cultural standpoint. He Talked about stewardship and where art should fit into society’s value system.
“It has to start with a belief that is not universal: that art is fundamentally important,” he said. “Now, not everyone agrees, and some would call it elitism. The fact is that I believe that what we leave behind in terms of art really matters, not the bombs we build and the pits we dig and the structures we build, which over time The forests turn into piles. “