The end of an Australian art legacy declaring the art world had been taken over by dickheads


image.... Ray, Evan and Henry Hughes at the gallery’s 45th anniversary celebrations in 2014  

The Hughes Gallery has ceased to operate as a commercial gallery brought about in no small part to the changing dynamics of the industry. Aligned with Hughes is NY gallerist David McKee who was also closing his gallery in New York declaring that the art world had been taken over by dickheads.

Too much of the commercial art trade has become about the selling of product and the accumulation of capital, much to the confusion and disillusionment of young artists. Chris Hughes; says.... London dealer James Mayor and Ray Hughes were mentors, have such wonderful eyes and such extreme passion for the paintings they sell and the people that make them, that it was just depressing to realise that the art trade is now centred on glorified shopping malls run by quasi-property developers (art fairs) and tacky mail-order firms (internet enterprises).

father and son gallerists Chris and Ray Hughes of Hughes Gallery Sydney

I suddenly asked myself: “Would Vollard be doing art fairs and Artsy?” Maybe he would; we didn’t want to. Ray Hughes continues to live in our warehouse in central Sydney surrounded by his extensive private collection of well over 1,000 works of Australian Modernism, 1980s Australian Neo-Expressionism, Chinese contemporary art, African contemporary art and Australian Depression-era furniture. While he is alive, the space will be a by-appointment living museum. Eventually it will become a permanent museum. Chris Hughes; "I have enormous pride that I am able to close the chapter on our art dealership in an extremely sound financial position and open a new one with the Hughes Foundation for the Arts, which will give modest but regular support to Australian cultural institutions, starting with a gift of important pieces from our collection to the Queensland Art Gallery. So many art-dealing dynasties end in tears, bankruptcy, court or acrimony. My father and I and all our artists remain on very good terms and my family now is able to fulfil my wishes to take on a more public role for our endeavours. "

Thank you to The Art Newspaper for bringing this story to light