Give and Take
Stephan Keszler uses his gallery to bolster unknown artists—and his own art collection.
BY JENNY SHERMAN
STEPHAN KESZLER WISHES he could be a piano player, but he admits that he’s never had a lesson. He also wishes he could be an artist, but he went to university for a degree in economics. His talents lie more in the realm of marketing, which is why he’s well suited to locate, develop and promote the artists he represents at his own Keszler Gallery. The business allows Keszler to cultivate his own passion for giving exposure to the up-and-coming artists whose works hang on his walls.
“Warhol, Picasso and other famous artists, you can find them all over,” says Keszler, whose gallery has locations in Southampton and New York City. “I like to work with emerging artists and build them up if they have potential. My goal is to get the value and the reputation of the artists to a different level.” Though he carries established artists like Annie Leibovitz, Helmut Newton and Bert Stern, it’s the new blood that titillates: Banksy, Frank Wurzer, Russell Young and others. “Russell Young, I think we tripled his price range in three years,” Keszler says. “We are his prime dealer.”
Despite catering to emerging individuals, Keszler prefers not to put on solo shows of their work. “I’m not in favor of solo shows,” he says, noting that although he will put up a show for a single artist from time to time, he prefers mixed-group shows centered on a particular theme. He also likes to frequently mix up the artwork: “Sometimes I change my gallery every week, because I prefer to show to my collectors a lot of work.” Visitors to the galleries therefore have plenty of opportunities to view a variety of limited-edition and one-of-a-kind prints and paintings.
Keszler, who splits his time between Southampton and the city, is constantly busy building his collector base and promoting his artists. But as a consummate collector himself, does he chafe at having to part with pieces he personally likes? “It’s sad to get rid of artwork you love,” he admits, but being a gallery owner has one inherent perk: “You can always get more.” 45 Main St., Southampton; keszlergallery.scaranet.com/cms
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Kate Moss by Jerome Lucani and Untitled by Zhuang Hong Yi; Zhuang Hong Yi Exhibition at Keszler Gallery NYC and Hamptons; Kate Moss, by Banksy; Keszler Gallery Hamptons; Marilyn Monroe by Russell Young; Mick Jagger (Red Lips) by Young
PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF STEPHAN KESZLER GALLERY