Dealer Emmanuel Perrotin at FIAC 2021. Photo: Luc Castel/Getty Images.

European real estate investor Colony Investment Management confirmed that it is in discussions to buy a 60 percent stake in Galerie Perrotin, a blue chip, international gallery run by French dealer Emmanuel Perrotin.

The news was first reported by Bloomberg and comes as something of a surprise, in that the deal would marry corporate investment and a longstanding gallery rather publicly. Often, investments in art galleries by firms or private backers are on a quieter or even secret basis.

Perrotin represents boundary-pushing art stars such as Takashi Murakami and Maurizio Cattelan. The latter, for example, was the artist behind the viral art installation The Comedian, unveiled at Art Basel in 2019, where he duct-taped a banana to a wall, creating a global sensation and widespread groaning. 

Perrotin is giving up more than half of his business but not ceding any control, according to the report. The dealer said he wants access to funding in order to expand.

Left: Maurizio Cattelan’s Comedian, for sale from Perrotin at Art Basel Miami Beach. Photo by Sarah Cascone. Right: Performance artist David Datuna. Photo: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/AFP via Getty Images.

Colony, which is headed by Nadra Moussalem, says it has €3 billion ($3.2 billion) in assets under management. The two are reportedly in exclusive negotiations with a transaction likely to close in the second half of 2023, according to a statement. 

Perrotin told Bloomberg that the art market “has experienced an enormous revolution in the past few years, but there’s still lots to come. We need to boost our activities throughout the world and conquer new geographies.”

The gallery was founded in 1990 and has branches in Paris, Tokyo, New York, and Shanghai. A Los Angeles space will open later this year. Other artists in the gallery’s stable include JR, Xaiver Veilhan, and Sophie Calle.

The specific terms of the deal were not disclosed. Perrotin completed $151 million in sales last year, has always been profitable, and reportedly has no debt, however.

Moussalem said the firm’s real estate investment expertise will help Perrotin achieve his growth goals. With the additional backing, the gallery founder can consider gallery outposts in cities such as Zurich, London, Bangkok, and Istanbul, he said. The liquidity also opens up the possibility of buying up rivals, he added, as he expects more gallery consolidation in the years ahead.


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