Old Master Dealer Johnny Van Haeften Quits Mayfair to Operate Gallery From Home

artnet News spoke to the veteran London dealer to find out the details.

Johnny Van Haeften. Courtesy Johnny Van Haeften.
Johnny Van Haeften. Courtesy Johnny Van Haeften.

To avoid entering a legal battle to be able to keep his lease, the London dealer Johnny Van Haeften has shut the doors of his Mayfair gallery, where he was based for over 35 years, and is now running his business from his Richmond Park home.

Van Haeften, a veteran dealer in Dutch and Flemish Old Master paintings, will now be focusing on the Asian and online markets, but, although he is optimistic about the future, he has mixed feelings about leaving Mayfair, an area where he has worked in since 1969.

“I’ve got mixed emotions about leaving, as I’ve worked in St. James all my life,” the veteran dealer told artnet News in a telephone conversation.

“On the other hand, despite being a bit of a dinosaur, I have to admit that the world is changing and the internet is taking over the world. All our recent major deals have been made over the internet,” he added.

Johnny Van Haeften has packed up and left Mayfair. Courtesy Johnny Van Haeften.

Johnny Van Haeften has packed up and left Mayfair. Courtesy Johnny Van Haeften.

The gallery has made sales to major museums in Germany, the Netherlands, and the US, conducted entirely online, with walk-in sales at the gallery reducing dramatically in number in recent years.

“I have good relationships with the older collectors, and private collectors and the younger collectors mainly search for work by surfing the net and using Google,” Van Haeften told artnet News.

Despite this change in pace and location, the gallery will still be taking part in TEFAF Maastricht this year, and perhaps also Frieze Masters, where it has always performed well.

Van Haeften will also be pursuing opportunities in the Asian market, where there is a keen appetite for Old Master paintings.

For now, Van Haeften has set up shop in his London home, complete with security. Visits are welcome, but strictly by appointment only.

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