Beloved Portraitist Henry Taylor Is the Latest Artist to Be Lured in by Mega-Gallery Hauser & Wirth

The mega-gallery has been adding star artists at a furious pace.

Henry Taylor, I'll Put a Spell on You (2004). Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Henry Taylor, the Los Angeles-based painter adored by curators and critics alike, is the latest artist to join Hauser & Wirth’s rapidly expanding roster.

The artist—who was rumored to have been pursued by a number of top galleries—will continue to work with his longtime Los Angeles-based dealer, Blum & Poe.

“After an incredibly fruitful 10 years of success together, Blum & Poe is pleased, going forward, to continue to do great work alongside Hauser & Wirth,” the gallery’s co-founder, Tim Blum, said in a statement to ARTnews, which first published the news. (A spokesperson for Hauser & Wirth confirmed the new arrangement to Artnet News.)

Taylor often focuses on African American subjects ranging from prominent industry figures in the art world, to celebrities like Miles Davis and Cecily Tyson, to victims of police violence. He is as likely to seek out a subject in the street as he is at a gallery or art fair. (Lucky visitors to his studio are also asked, impromptu, to pose.)

“First of all, I love other people,” he said in a 2017 interview with Cultured magazine. “I love to meet them, and the fact I can just paint them.”

Henry Taylor, Hammons meets a hyena on holiday (2016). © Henry Taylor. Photo: Peter Paul Geoffrion, courtesy of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.

Born in 1958 in California to a commercial painter father and a housekeeper mother, Taylor worked for 10 years as a psychiatric technician at the Camarillo State Mental Hospital, where he painted portraits of patients as he studied for a B.F.A. at the California Institute of the Arts.

Over the past decade, Taylor’s profile has risen steadily. Collectors of his work include Beth Rudin DeWoody, François Pinault, the Rubells, and Peter Brant. He was the subject of a solo exhibition at MoMA PS1 in 2012, and his work was included in the 2017 Whitney Biennial and the 2019 Venice Biennale. The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, is also currently planning a major show dedicated to Taylor, according to ARTnews.

His auction record of $975,000 was set when I’ll Put a Spell on You (2004), a layered tableau of figures standing outside and lying indoors, sold at Sotheby’s New York in 2018 for nearly four times its high estimate. His secondary market has been picking up lately, with six of his top 10 auction prices set in 2019. But Taylor’s auction prices remain relatively in line with his private sales, which have hovered between $100,000 and $300,000 for new works, and have gone as high as $850,000 for older material, according to recently published prices from major art fairs.

Hauser & Wirth has been on a tear adding artists to its roster in recent months. New additions, some of which have not been formally announced (and some of whom are also maintaining relationships with their previous dealers), include George Condo, Avery Singer, and Nicole Eisenman.

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