Bearing Postwar European Art, a New Gallery Alights in Chelsea

A 2002 painting by Ben Vautier that will be available at Vicky David Gallery. (Photo: Vicky David)

Come September, Chelsea galleries such as Leo Koenig, Inc. and Daniel Reich Gallery will have a new neighbor on their stretch of West 23rd Street.

The newcomer is the Vicky David Gallery, which will open at 522 West 23rd on Sept. 15, and will focus on postwar European art with a particular emphasis on French artists who were active in the Nouveau Réalisme, Figuration Narrative and Figuration Libre movements of the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s.

At the helm of Vicky David are David Farhi and his sister Victoria Farhi. The siblings’ father, Jean-Claude Farhi, is a French sculptor, known for geometric, often brightly colored metal sculptures, and was friends with many of the artists that were active in the movements Vicky David will show. “We grew up around art and artists,” David Farhi told The Observer in a telephone interview.

The 2,500-square-foot gallery will open with a group show of historical material—“a crew of artists, most born between 1920 and 1960, who lived and worked together,” said Mr. Farhi. A show of the Naples-born, Nice-based artist Ben Vautier will follow, and remain open until January. The pair of dealers also plan to show work by Jacques de Villeglé, Pol Bury and their father.

Artists from many of the movements that the gallery plans to exhibit have not generally been well received in the U.S. New Yorker writer Peter Schjeldahl, for instance, recently termed Yves Klein, who died in 1962, the “last French artist of major international consequence.”

However Mr. Farhi seemed unfazed about such critical judgments. “In many cases these artists’ reputations are not where they should be,” he said. “But after a time, after fashions change, art finds the place where it belongs in art history.”

Bearing Postwar European Art, a New Gallery Alights in Chelsea