As mega-galleries continue their quest to become the dominating forces in the secondary market landscape, several have made high-profile pickups from the talent pool at auction houses. And now, Hauser & Wirth has poached Koji Inoue, who has been at Christie’s since 2008 and was most recently International Director and Specialist in the Post-War & Contemporary Art department, to be a senior international director based in New York. He will will oversee the Swiss-founded gallery’s space on the Upper East Side, and transform its programming to exclusively present historical shows by artists with estates represented by Hauser as well as other artists who align with gallery programming.
The news comes after another Christie’s alum, Liberté Nuti, joined Hauser & Wirth as International Senior Director of Impressionist & Modern art, based in London.
As gallery partner Iwan Wirth said in a statement:
Over the course of more than a quarter century, our gallery has supported research into and developed connoisseurship in the field of 20th century masterworks. And now our attention to this area is growing in truly exciting ways. Koji and Liberté bring firepower to our already significant, ongoing project to find and place exceptional works with the foremost collections worldwide. Our vision is to collaborate even more closely with private collectors, estates, families, and public museums and foundations to identify and secure masterpieces that in turn enrich the story of art when they live together in collections.
In his years at Christie’s, Inoue served as Head of Client Intelligence and Strategic Development, and before that head of the New York Evening sale. In May 2016, he was on the phone with Yusaku Maezawa when the Japanese collector bought Jean-Michel Basquiat’s untitled red skull painting for $57.3 million and Richard Prince’s Runaway Nurse (2005-06) for $9.7 million—both records for the artists at the time—in the same night, as part of that collector’s week-long buying spree. He will begin at Hauser & Wirth in the summer of 2019, after garden leave.
Koji Inoue, International Senior Director Post War & Contemporary Art. Photo by Axel Dupeux, courtesy Hauser & Wirth.