Navigating through the roster of artists at Richard Gray (312.642.8877, www.richardgraygallery.com) is almost intimidating: It represents centuries of talent, with an emphasis on 20th-century greats. Yet Gray is careful to point out, “No one artist or genre is representative of what we do.” A collector himself, Gray runs his Chicago gallery (open since 1963) and his New York space with his son, Paul, along with Andrew Fabricant. He describes 2008 as a very active year—“In almost all respects it was pretty close to as well as we have ever done”—a rare report from an otherwise difficult year in every business.
Gray’s success has grown out of his passion from his 45-plus years as a dealer and collector and, as he says, “from creating close, trusting relationships with credible clients, institutions, and artists.” Pressed to at least narrow the gallery’s focus, he admits a penchant for “anything from the Impressionists through the postwar artists, and especially the classical modern era.” Yet he knows incredible art must be balanced with good business for any dealer to stay relevant. “So much of this business is relationship-oriented,” he says. “And our list of clients is always growing in seriousness and distinction.”