, one of Londons leading international art dealers, has appointed Sir Thomas Lighton as its new Chief Executive and is moving to a gallery in Mayfair in the heart of the capitals art world. These important changes herald the beginning of a new era for the prestigious, long-established gallery which will see a gradual move towards greater involvement in 20th century and contemporary art, whilst continuing with its more traditional dealing in Old Master and British paintings, drawings and watercolours.
Previously Tom Lighton was Managing Director of Waddington Galleries in London, which specialises in modern and contemporary paintings, drawings and sculpture, and he will take over from Julian Agnew on 4 January 2010 as Chief Executive. He has thirty years experience of working in the art market and is a former Chairman of the Society of London Art Dealers. As Chief Executive, he will be responsible for day to day management and major decisions and will develop the 20th century and contemporary art side of the business.
Tom Lighton said: I am thrilled to be joining Agnews and excited by the stimulating challenge this will present. The company has a long-standing and well-earned reputation for integrity, quality and scholarship. I look forward to working with Julian Agnew and his colleagues and am delighted by their enthusiasm and desire to expand further into new areas of dealing.
Julian Agnew said:The appointment of Tom Lighton marks the start of an exciting new chapter in the history of Agnews. We have known him well and worked closely with him during his time at Waddingtons. He is uniquely well-equipped to take the firm forward in its expansion into the 20th century British market, where we already have a strong presence, and into contemporary art where we have planned for some years to broaden our activities. He will be the first Chief Executive of the company who is not a member of the Agnew family and this is an important development for the future of the gallery.
Julian Agnew will continue to be actively involved in the Old Master paintings and drawings and the British paintings and watercolours departments in conjunction with Christopher Kingzett and Gabriel Naughton.
Agnews is also moving to a new home. Last year it sold its historic building in Old Bond Street, which it had occupied since 1877, to the Italian family fashion company Etro and has since been in temporary premises. It will take over four floors of an elegant town house at 35 Albemarle Street, Mayfair. The premises, not previously used as an art gallery, will require refurbishment and, pending this, Agnews will move into one floor from the New Year. The work is scheduled to be completed by the spring or early summer of 2010. There are plans for an on-street gallery for 20th century and contemporary art on the ground floor, an Old Master gallery with a space for works on paper on the first floor and offices on the second floor, while the basement will house the library and provide storage space.
It is a perfect location in the centre of Londons art market and easily accessible for our clients in the U.K. and from abroad, said Mr Agnew. It is central to the major auction houses and other dealers, and directly opposite the Royal Arcade, which leads through to Old Bond Street. It will provide a firm base for a vigorous future for Agnews as we move further into the 21st century and we will be launching a full exhibition programme once the refurbishment is complete.