Washburn Gallery in NY Permanently Closes After Half a Century

Washburn Gallery in New York Decided to Permanently Close Its Business in Chelsea After Operating for Half a Century.

Jan 12, 2024By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
Washburn Gallery
Via the gallery.


Washburn Gallery first opened on Madison Avenue in 1971. Many museums, other cultural institutions and collectors immediately recognised for the quality of its shows. During the inaugural season, the gallery presented the first New York exhibition of paintings by Joshua Johnson (active c. 1797 – c. 1820). He was one of the earliest known African American artists. But now, the gallery is closing its spaces.


Washburn Gallery Organized Around 400 Exhibitions

Washburn Gallery
The gallery. VIA GOOGLE MAPS.


At the gallery, there were also works by Martin Johnson Heade; and in contrast, 1930s and 1940s abstract paintings by Jean Xceron. It featured American painters such as Alfred Steiglitz, Philip Guston, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Al Held for many years. They collaborated with the estates of well-known Americans, such as Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner, who wedded for over ten years until Pollock passed away in 1956.


In its 53 years of operation, they organised almost 400 exhibitions. Also, since the early 2000s, they almost annually brought their artists to a fair. A Claude Carone exhibition served as their last display, and it ended on December 23. The gallery’s creators said in a statement that despite not having an ongoing site, they will still promote artists and estates.


o keeffe skull ranch, Washburn Gallery
Georgia O’Keeffe with skull, via Pinterest


Also, the representatives said they will continue to handle the gallery’s history through its current webpage. They will also continue taking part in research projects in collaboration with galleries, museums, curators, and collectors. Brian Washburn stated the gallery’s closure was an abrupt decision, mostly brought on by a more difficult financial situation.

Get the latest articles delivered to your inbox

Sign up to our Free Weekly Newsletter


Following the Footsteps of Its Competitors

Monument, Philip Guston, 1976, via the Guston Foundation


“The market is going through a very tough time – it’s been this way since Covid”, he added. “There was another sea, a change that went on after the pandemic. The new generation of collectors, they just don’t have the attention span to look in depth into things. The art fairs have chipped away at a lot of savings”, he added. After the merchants return items to their clientele and the artist estates they represent, the venue will formally close in two months.


Washburn follows in the footsteps of numerous small and mid-sized competitors who have shut down throughout the past 24 months. Since 2022, several galleries in New York have closed, including JTT, Metro Pictures, and Cheim & Read. It’s important to note that owners and senior directors of the gallery, Joan and Brian Washburn, left its prior location at 20 West 57th Street in Manhattan in 2017.


Riding Around, Philip Guston, 1969, via The Guston Foundation.


When a plan for city demolition threatened to force a number of galleries there to relocate, they put a halt to their display programme. Before their landlord terminated the lease, Washburn art had been based there for twenty-five years. As a result, they were forced to relocate to their next and final home, which is located in Chelsea’s art district at 177 10th Avenue.







Author Image

By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.