Gallery workers, art dealers, and market insiders have spent the summer buzzing about the dissolution of LDGR, the powerhouse New York consortium founded by dealers Dominique Lévy, Brett Gorvy, Amalia Dayan, and Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn. Now, one of the founders has departed the business, with Greenberg Rohatyn set to leave the quartet and reopen her former gallery, Salon 94.
The four plan to continue to work together despite Greenberg Rohatyn reclaiming 3 East 89th Street, the once and future home of Salon 94, where LGDR held shows for artists like Marilyn Minter and Zhang Zipiao. Salon 94 Design, the design-focused branch of that gallery, has always been, and will continue to be, housed in the building.
LGDR, under its new moniker Lévy Gorvy Dayan, will continue to operate out of their headquarters on 64th Street. In September, the gallery will open a survey of Pierre Soulages, the famed French painter who died earlier last year at 102.
“We have more similarities than differences,” Greenberg Rohatyn told ARTnews. “It’s just that the differences have always been more public.”
When it was first formed, in 2021, LGDR had the aim of being more than a traditional gallery. In addition to representing artists, it set out to advise collectors and facilitate sales to auction houses.
Its four founders had different focuses: Greenberg Rohatyn knew contemporary art, Gorvy knew the burgeoning Asian market, Lévy had connections in Europe, Dayan in the Middle East. Their backgrounds differed widely, too.
Gorvy was the postwar and contemporary art rainmaker at Christie’s before he joined forces, in 2016, with the already formidable Lévy, who worked at Sotheby’s early in her career. Dayan, too, is an auction house veteran, having spent time at Phillips with Daniella Luxembourg. The two later became partners in the chic New York– and London-based gallery Luxembourg & Dayan, which is now simply Luxembourg + Co.
Greenberg Rohatyn, on the other hand, started Salon 94 out of her family’s Upper East Side Townhouse. While she has always been ambitious—New York Magazine critic Jerry Saltz once said she was “at the level of those death-star, mover-and-shaker mega gallerists, good and bad”—her passion, she says, has always been “working with artists, helping build a career, hand-holding one or two collectors and working with them to build wonderful collections, and [doing] art fairs as a place to show curatorial vision.”
Some suspected that the differences among the founders would keep LGDR from lasting long, but Dominique Lévy, speaking with ARTnews from Greece, said that the alliance remained strong. “Yes, the four of us are big personalities, but there is very little ego,” she said. “It’s about the success and the ambition of bringing something relevant to the art community and an asset to the artists who choose to work with us.”
From its inception LGDR was meant to be a collaboration had the ability to do whatever was asked of it. In the New York Times, Gorvy described it almost Socratically. “We’ve been looking at ourselves in the mirror and trying to understand who we are and what is the best way to address our clients,” he said. “What is the business model that is appropriate? We don’t have to do everything, but we can do anything.”
According to Lévy, the group had matching amounts of enthusiasm and creativity for their venture, but their taste and commitments were sometimes at odds. Greenberg Rohatyn had a long history of design, but the entity LGDR did see design as part of their program. She was also committed to artists that LGDR couldn’t fully commit to.
“We are all past 50,” Lévy said, “and we all feel life if about giving the best of yourself, first to the artists but also to each other. We could see Jeanne was torn between her previous life, which was maybe more nimble, more personal, and a life that’s more collective. I think she was somehow missing Salon 94, in a beautiful way.”
In a way, the dissolution of LGDR is a sign, like the “market correction” that many market figures continue to say is happening, that things have returned to the before-times. When LDGR was formed in the summer of 2021, gallery sector sales had dropped 20 percent, according to the New York Times. Today, gallery sales are reportedly up 7 percent year-on-year, bringing the art market’s value back to pre-pandemic numbers. And back then, Greenberg Rohatyn and Dayan had a secondary market business, and they will continue to do following LGDR’s demise.
The four will continue to work together in other ways, though Greenberg Rohatyn no longer has a stake in the new organization. At Lévy Gorvy Dayan’s booth this year at Paris+, several of the works will come from artists squarely in Greenberg Rohatyn’s oeuvre, like Barbara Chase-Riboud, who recently gained representation with Hauser & Wirth.
“She’s an artist I’ve followed for a long time, and I think the context of putting Barbara with, say, a Fontana, at an art fair is really interesting to me,” said Greenberg Rohatyn.
“We all love this collaborative way of working, of doing business,” she continued. “And that’s what it is. I don’t need my name on everything I do.”
While it wasn’t immediately clear what form Salon 94’s roster would take, the gallery represented artists such as Judy Chicago, Niki de Saint Phalle, Lyle Ashton Harris, Minter, and Robert Pruitt prior to its closure.
With the return of Salon 94, Greenberg Rohatyn says she’ll be able to work comfortably, quickly, maybe even impulsively. “I love to just react to something and put it out there. When you work in a bigger gallery, you actually can’t work as quickly. I like that agility to have a space where I can put something up, where I can experiment, maybe go to an artist studio and bring something back and put it on a wall, if I want.”
Salon 94 will officially reopen this October with a solo exhibition of work by the sculptor Karon Davis. In November the two galleries will present an exhibition of work by the painter Jenna Gribbon at Lévy Gorvy Dayan’s 64th Street space.