From Sotheby’s to Pace Gallery: The Art World Is Taking Over Palm Beach This Fall

Martin Lerma
·3 mins read

With hordes of New York City’s wealthiest citizens decamping to the Hamptons over the spring and summer to escape Covid, many of the art world’s most notable institutions followed with pop-up gallery spaces. Now, several are out to conquer another haute hideaway: Palm Beach.

The Florida locale, long a favorite winter playground for billionaires, will see the launch of an auction house and at least two top galleries: Sotheby’s, Pace and Acquavella. All three will assume residence at the Royal Poinciana Plaza, a local landmark built in the 1950s that provides 180,000 square feet of retail space among a lush grove of palm trees and water features. In short, an ideal spot to do some serious gallery hopping.

For its part, Sotheby’s will curate a selection spanning fine art, design, jewelry, watches and luxury cars. Everything on view will be available for immediate purchase, with a roster of auction highlights set to rotate monthly, some of which can be viewed on-site before their official sales begin.

“We are incredibly excited to be opening a new gallery space in Palm Beach,” said David Schrader, Sotheby’s global head of private sales, in a press release. “This historic city has always been a popular destination for our clients, and with many of them staying longer-term under present circumstances, we’re thrilled to directly bring them a selection of fine art and luxury goods in a curated setting, alongside our distinguished peers at Pace and Acquavella.”

To make the most of its debut, Sotheby’s is planning on a sale featuring some of the 20th century’s most noted artists, including works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, George Condo and Damien Hirst. Its selection of furnishings is no less prestigious, with pieces by Nakashima, Jean Prouvé and Jean Royère also showcased. And those with a taste for precious baubles are in luck, as one of the initial exhibitions at Palm Beach will zero in on Parisian high jewelry house Édéenne with 14 of its glittering designs on display.

Pace will highlight one of its many blue-chip artists: James Turrell, famed for his mesmerizing light installations. Running from November 9 to December 5 of this year, it will be followed by solo and group shows with artists including Tara Donovan, Sam Gilliam, Kenneth Noland, Michal Rovner, Joel Shapiro and Kiki Smith.

“We saw enormous success with our gallery in East Hampton this summer,” Pace vice president Adam Sheffer said in a press statement. “Visitors so appreciated the unparalleled experience of viewing works of art ‘in real life’ at a time when museums and galleries had been closed for months. We plan to bring that same excitement to Palm Beach.”

To keep up with demand, Pace will offer extended hours by appointment seven days a week, with safety measures against Covid-19 in place. Sheffer himself will be relocating to Florida for the winter to oversee the entire operation in person.

Sotheby’s, Pace and Acquavella’s Palm Beach galleries are all expected to open their doors sometime in November.

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