By Christopher Miles

Image source:

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

tennis court.

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

history book.

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.

LA Weekly