Exhibitions News USA

Alexander the Great returns to New York

The gallerist who is something of a forgotten legend gave Andy Warhol his first show

The artist Rene Magritte (left) with the gallerist Alexander Iolas, 16 December 1965. Photo: Steve Schapiro/Corbis

Artists come in and out of favour, but what about art dealers? “They tend to be forgotten,” says Adrian Dannatt, the co-curator of show that opens today at the Paul Kasmin Gallery (until 26 April) dedicated to the career of Alexander Iolas, a gallerist who is something of a forgotten legend. “He had 2,000 mink capes made for himself,” Dannatt says, but not only that: he also gave Andy Warhol his first exhibition in 1952 at the Hugo Gallery in New York. That show was later bookended by one of Warhol’s last exhibitions, also commissioned by Iolas, of pictures based on Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper.

In between, Iolas spent time with Man Ray and Duchamp and helped Dominique de Menil form the basis of her Surrealist art collection. In 1967, he hosted Ed Ruscha’s first New York solo show. But Iolas had catholic tastes and his eyes were open enough to also appreciate artists as diverse as Jules Olitski and Paul Thek. He died in 1987 but “here he is once again,” Dannatt writes in the show’s catalogue, “brought back into being, physically represented by the works he helped create”.

“Alexander the Great: The Iolas Gallery 1955-87, is on show at Paul Kasmin Gallery, 293 Tenth Avenue, 6 March-26 April

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