Larry Gagosian is the most influential art dealer of the past century. It wouldn’t be exaggeration to say that he’s among the most important dealers in history. This piece in the Wall Street Journal magazine gives great insight into the breadth of his connections. You’ll read about everyone from Basquiat to Brancusi and from de Kooning to Koons. The name dropping alone makes it worth the read. But what I love most about this article is the hope it provides to every other wanna-be successful entrepreneur. That’s because I had no idea that Gagosian had absolutely no formal education in art or art history.
Gagosian earned his BA in English Literature from UCLA. After a short stint at the William Morris Agency he ended up selling posters on the street in Los Angeles. From there, a bit of business hustling and relationship building ultimately lead him to opening an art gallery.
It may have been chance that lead him to the art world, but it was his drive and moxie that allowed him to flourish within it. Through relentless determination he made key connections in the industry and built a business out of those relationships. He became an expert in the field and an indispensable player in the market despite his lack of formal training in art or art history.
It shows me that you need dedication, determination, and ambition more than you need pedigree or credentials. And that gives me hope for success in any endeavor.
Photo is the Wall Street Journal Magazine Cover, May 2016. Photo was found on https://www.gagosian.com/about/about-larry-gagosian, last checked by the author 5/31.2016.