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Iconic Dealer Barbara Gladstone Dies At 89

Barbara Gladstone, the iconic dealer behind the famed New York gallery, has died at the age of 89. Her death, which occurred on Sunday, was confirmed via a press release by her gallery the next day.

Gladstone was born in 1934 and eventually ended up teaching art history at Hofstra University. She had also been collecting prints of rather unknown artists, and selling them to casual collectors. Barbara Gladstone saw an opportunity in this and founded the Gladstone Gallery in 1980. Starting with a small space on 57th Street, Barbara focused on collecting prints since they were cheaper to acquire than art works.

Soon after, she moved to a bigger space in SoHo and started representing lesser-known artists with potential – like Matthew Barney. In 1996, Gladstone Gallery moved to an even bigger, 29,000-square-foot location in Chelsea. This was before Chelsea became a bustling art neighborhood. By 2002, she had closed the SoHo space and made Chelsea the primary location of the Gladstone Gallery.

Barbara Gladstone had a clear vision for her gallery throughout her lifetime. She never aspired for it to become a mega gallery; in her mind, it was always a New York gallery. Her cautious approach was perhaps the reason why Gladstone Gallery remained relatively stable during tumultuous periods like the 2008 recession and the COVID-19 pandemic. “The goal of our gallery does not involve having a global presence, which seems to me a core idea of a mega-gallery”, she said in an interview.

Barbara Gladstone is survived by her sons David and Richard Regen.