David Zwirner announced today that it will open its sixth gallery globally in the Marais district of Paris, long a hub of the French gallery scene. Zwirner will take over a space on Rue Vieille du Temple once occupied by the legendary dealer Yvon Lambert, and most recently inhabited by VNH Gallery, which will close. Zwirner’s first show in Paris will be of work by Raymond Pettibon, who has not shown in the city since 1995, and it will open in October, timed to the FIAC fair that’s held annually in the Grand Palais.
The reason for the new space, David Zwirner told the Financial Times, was to establish a presence in continental Europe ahead of England’s planned exit from the European Union—as of now, Zwirner, who was born in Cologne, has only one space in the region, in London. He told the FT:
Brexit changes the game. After October, my London gallery will be a British gallery, not a European one. I am European and I would like a European gallery, too.
The transition will be smooth, with Victoire de Pourtalès, a partner in VNH gallery, staying on as co-manager of Zwirner Paris, with much of the staff remaining as well. VNH co-founder Hélène Nguyen-Ban called it a “happy ending” to her gallery, adding that “it’s much better than if an Abercrombie & Fitch moved in.” The new space will be co-led by Justine Durrett, a longtime director at David Zwirner in New York who will relocate to Paris.
Paris has risen in status as an art market hub since the Brexit fiasco escalated, despite the fact that London still accounted for 66 percent of all of the continent’s market activity. The arrival of Zwirner, one of the world’s most important mega-galleries, only adds momentum to the shift toward Paris.