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Death of Patricia Faure is loss for L.A. art scene

October 22, 2008 |  2:05 pm

Faure Patricia Faure -- a beloved art dealer and eternally glamorous personality whose teenage dreams of movie stardom gave way to careers in modeling, fashion photography and, finally, the art business -- has died at 80. She died in her sleep of natural causes early Tuesday morning at Kingsley Manor, a retirement community in Hollywood, said her daughter, Zazu Faure.

Relative newcomers to Los Angeles' art scene know the late dealer through exhibitions at the Patricia Faure Gallery in the Bergamot Station complex in Santa Monica. But she established her presence as director of the highly regarded Nicholas Wilder Gallery in 1972 and formed a partnership with the late Betty Asher in Asher/Faure Gallery before opening her space at Bergamot in 1994.

Through the years, she championed the work of dozens of artists, including sculptors Joel Shapiro, Richard Artschwager and Gwynn Murrill and painters John M. Miller, Joe Goode and Margaret Nielsen. She also helped to launch the careers of Salomon Huerta, the Rev. Ethan Acres and Mark Bradford.

"She was a terrible businesswoman, but that made her interesting as a dealer," Zazu Faure said. "She loved the work she showed, but she could never really sell it."

Just before Faure's 75th birthday party, which drew a huge crowd of admirers to Bergamot, she repeated her stock declaration about the art business: "You can't sell art. It sells itself." All you can do at a gallery, she said, is "keep the place kind of tidy and get the information out. People come in. If they like it, they buy it."

Longtime friends, and I count myself among them, will not forget another Faure-ism. "Isn't that good?" she would always ask, while escorting you around her latest exhibition and pointing out the wonders of artworks that she wanted you to admire as much as she did.

A full obituary will be published later this week.

-- Suzanne Muchnic

Caption: Patricia Faure at her Bergamot Station gallery in 2003 with her favorite Salomon Huerta painting.

Photo credit: Ken Hively / Los Angeles TImes

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