By Christopher Miles
Image source: www.patriciafauregallery.com
Gallerist Patricia Faure, a mainstay of the Los Angeles gallery scene for
decades, died in her sleep on October 21 at the age of 80. Faure began as
art dealer Nicholas Wilder’s assistant in the 1970s. For fifteen years, she
and friend Betty Asher ran the Asher/Faure Gallery, one of a handful of
venues that helped raise the profile of the LA gallery scene in the '80s. In
1994, she opened her own gallery at Bergamot Station, where her corner space
was a cornerstone of the complex for ten years before she began phasing out
of the business.
Faure, known as Patty, always had a twinkle in her eye, and she had a good
eye, not just as a dealer who launched and represented some of the best
artists in Los Angeles during her career, but also as a photographer. As a
2005 show of her photos at the gallery of her friend Margo Leavin revealed,
between her early career as a fashion model and her later vocation as
gallerist, and parallel to her life as a young mother, Patty enjoyed a life
behind the lens. She worked for Francesco Scavullo, Elle, Jardin de Mode,
Marie Claire, Vogue, and the New York Times. Her show at Margo Leavin
included a shot of Peggy Moffitt and Bill Claxton sailing in the '50s, a
1958 group portrait of the Ferus Gallery stable recently made familiar in
the documentary The Cool School, a 1970 shot for Rudi Gernreich’s UNISEX
line; and pictures from Faure’s 1971 “Artists Exercise” series including
Billy Al Bengston doing calisthenics and Ken Price and Ed Moses on the
There was a tweediness about Faure, but also an elegance and a hint of
naughtiness, all of which were captured in a 1965 portrait of her shot by
friend Helmut Newton. In 2003, she printed the Newton photo on the
invitation to her 75th birthday party at the Santa Monica Museum of Art.
What Newton captured was always there, and in her older years, Faure had
about her the manner of an angel who sometimes listened to a devil sitting
on her shoulder. With the pleasure she took in personally touring visitors
through shows, and her trademark line, “Isn’t that good?” both revealing her
genuine enthusiasm for art and subtly masking her salesmanship (though she
maintained that art couldn’t really be sold but rather sold itself) Faure
was equal parts an institution, a living treasure, and a walking and talking
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Some might mark the death of an art dealer with the sense of loss one would
attach to the demise of a used car salesman, but as with most professions,
the gallery business has its more and less likeable shopkeepers. Faure set
the bar for likeable, and now sets the bar for being missed.