London Art Dealer Joseph Nahmad, Scion of a Powerful Collecting Family, Pleads Guilty to Assaulting His Girlfriend

The dealer comes from one of the world's most prominent art dynasties and runs Nahmad Projects in London.

Joseph Nahmad.Photo: Nick Harvey. Courtesy Nahmad Projects.
Joseph Nahmad. Photo: Nick Harvey. Courtesy of Nahmad Projects.

London art dealer Joseph Nahmad, who runs the Mayfair gallery Nahmad Projects, has pleaded guilty to assaulting his girlfriend.

In March, Nahmad attacked his girlfriend, Georgia Barry, at his London home in what prosecutor John Fairhead described in the Evening Standard as a “considerable beating—banging her head against the wall.” Nahmad, who is 31, also pleaded guilty to attacking Barry during another incident in October.

He pleaded not guilty, however, to an alleged attack that took place at the nightclub Tape London, and that charge has since been dropped. “There was an incident in a nightclub where a scratch and bruise were sustained. Very minor injuries,” Nahmad’s attorney, William Clegg, told the Southwark Crown Court.

Clegg also told the court that Barry had previously tried to withdraw her allegations against Nahmad, who said in a statement: “She was in a consensual, loving relationship that at times became toxic.” Clegg and Fairhead did not immediately respond to requests for comment from artnet News.

Joseph Nahmad comes a long line of powerful art collectors and dealers. (Christie’s honorary chairman Christopher Burge once said the family, which has one of the world’s largest collections of Impressionist, Modern, and contemporary art, had “sold more works of art than anybody alive.”) He is the son of Monaco-based art collector Ezra Nahmad and the nephew of billionaire dealer David Nahmad. Another dealer named Joseph Nahmad, who runs the gallery Nahmad Contemporary in New York, is his cousin. Their galleries are not related.

The latest incident is not the first time that members of the younger Nahmad generation have found themselves in legal trouble. Helly Nahmad, Joseph Nahmad’s cousin in New York, was sentenced to a year in prison in 2014 for his role in a $100 million illegal gambling ring.

Nahmad Projects, the London gallery that Joseph opened with Italian dealer Tommaso Calabro in 2016, is known for pairing historic works by masters such as Jean Tinguely and Pierre-Auguste Renoir with contemporary artists, like Jason Rhoades. Its inaugural show, organized by the celebrated curator Francesco Bonami, presented performance art inspired by the work of Tino Sehgal.

Joseph Nahmad pleaded guilty to two charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm. He is currently out on bail until his next court appearance on September 2, where he could be sentenced to serve time in jail.

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