'Libson Yarker Ltd'

February 5 2018

Image of 'Libson Yarker Ltd'

Picture: Libson Yarker Ltd

I'm late to the news that the esteemed British art dealer Lowell Libson (above right) has entered into a new partnership with his colleague Jonny Yarker. Lowell has been in the business for decades, but Jonny started working for him just five years ago. Jonny is one of the sharpest scholars on British art of his generation - in fact, there's a touch of the Kenneth Clark about him - and I always expected him to go back into museum or academic life. But interestingly he has chosen to commit to 'the trade'. Good for him. It's often where the most rewarding, and exciting, art historical research takes place.

And good for Lowell too. Some eponymous dealers grow too fond of having only their name over the door. Often, they rely on a good researcher or colleague, but prefer to keep that person in their place, or even the shadows. A threatened ego can lead to the fiercest resentment. In the long term, these businesses atrophy, because there is nobody in the next generation to take them on. The most successful dealers - like Lowell - understand this. But there are very few of them.  

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