Angela Flowers, one of London’s most influential Modern and contemporary art dealers, has died aged 90. Her death was confirmed by her son Matthew Flowers on social media.
Flowers championed artists such as Tom Phillips, Penny Slinger and David Hockney during a career spanning more than 50 years. Today, Flowers Gallery has a stable of 50 artists and operates across two sites in London (Cork Street, in Mayfair, and Kingsland Road, in Shoreditch).
After working as a cinema usher in the 1950s, Flowers set out to open a commercial art space that felt less intimidating. “Many people were scared to go into galleries at that time because they were so snooty. I wanted to open a friendly gallery and help younger artists,” she told The Sunday Times in 2013. Her first gallery opened in Lisle Street, Soho, in 1970, launching with an exhibition of works by the painter Patrick Hughes.
The gallery moved in later years to other London locations at Portland Mews and Tottenham Mews (the Cork Street space opened in 2000). In 1988, Flowers Gallery added an East End venue way before the art world flocked to that fashionable part of the capital, launching at Richmond Road in Hackney. The inaugural exhibition, Contemporary Portraits, featured works by Lucian Freud, Eduardo Paolozzi and Frank Auerbach. Another Flowers gallery opened in Hong Kong in 2020.
Flowers’s philosophy shone through in the Sunday Times interview. “It’s about helping the artists achieve their goals and holding their hands the whole way through. The idea was always to establish something that championed young artists; they work hard and live lonely lives,” she said.
Angela Mary Holland, born Croydon 19 December 1932; married 1952 Adrian Flowers (three sons, one daughter; marriage dissolved 1973), 2003 Robert Heller (died 2012; one daughter); died 11 August 2023.