Palm Beach’s Art Wave

The pandemic has brought event cancellations around the globe, and major art fairs like Art Basel in Miami are no exception. But just 70 miles north in Palm Beach, art galleries with clientele from Manhattan and the Hamptons have migrated with their buyers to the island, as northerners have flocked to Florida in droves. Tighter knit and less spread out than its neighbor to the south, dealers and collectors alike have found the island to be the perfect art destination. New transplants such as Acquavella along with old faithfuls like Findlay Galleries have now established Palm Beach as a major new player in the art world. Already famous for its high-end shopping, renowned dining, and year-round beach life, Palm Beach’s new art wave only adds to the island’s appeal for younger families and businesses looking to relocate.  

Wally Findlay Galleries

As the oldest operating art gallery in Florida (and the second oldest in the country), no other art institution screams “Palm Beach” quite like Findlay. This year, the family-owned gallery, which has been situated at its current Worth Avenue location for 70 years, is toasting its 150th anniversary in the business. Current CEO James Borynack acquired the company from a third generation Findlay in 1998. The gallery, which also boasts a permanent location in New York, represents more than 100 artists, including Nicola Simbari and Gustavo Novoa, who have produced some of Palm Beach’s most recognizable works. Artwork ranges from Impressionism, European Modernism, l’Ecole de Rouen, l’Ecole de Paris, and 20th Century American Art, with representation of contemporary artists and artist estates. While the Palm Beach Gallery is currently open for in-person showings for exhibitions like Henry Maïk’s “Magical Safari,” it is also offering virtual viewing rooms on its website. After the pandemic, the gallery will resume its charitable viewing parties that have become an iconic part of Palm Beach social scene.

Wally Findlay Galleries on Worth Avenue (Courtesy of Wally Findlay Galleries)

Acquavella

Acquavella is among a handful of galleries that decided to park at The Royal Poinciana–its first brick-and-mortar space outside of New York since Nicholas Acquavella founded the institution in the early 1920s. Now a three-generation, family-owned business, the gallery is famous for its 19th, 20th, and 21st century art. Its current exhibition, “Wayne Thiebaud,” pays homage to the artist (who just celebrated his 100th birthday this fall) and his ability to reimagine American subjects with vibrant colors and unique perspectives. The subjects of the 19 works range from ice cream sundaes to cityscapes of San Francisco. The exhibition, which is the gallery’s first dedicated to a living artist, will be on display through February 20th. 

Acquavella’s location at The Royal Poinciana Plaza (Courtesy of Acquavella)

Sotheby’s

Sotheby’s—a leader in fine art since 1744—also opened a 2,700+ square-foot gallery this fall at The Royal Poinciana Plaza. The auction house showcases select auction items for preview, plus fine art, design, jewelry, luxury cars, and watches that are rotated regularly and available for immediate purchase. David Schrader, Sotheby’s Head of Private Sales, exuded excitement about the gallery’s opening in Palm Beach, “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 and shoppable setting, alongside our distinguished peers at Pace and Acquavella.”

Sotheby’s at The Royal Poinciana Plaza (Courtesy of Sotheby’s)
Watch display at Sotheby’s

Coe + Co

Photographer Nathan Coe is known for breaking the rules. Originally celebrated for photographing beautiful landscapes, he is now known for combining these landscapes with the female form to tell a more captivating, provocative story. The combination of the striking and nude figures create one-of-a-kind photographs by mixing the contemporary with traditional. Originally based in Nantucket, Coe has expanded his practice into Palm Beach. His latest collection of nudes have been photographed in front of the island’s iconic landmarks, like The Breakers and The Colony Hotels. He also collaborated with Ron Cavalier to open a gallery on Royal Poinciana Way, which showcases his works as well as those of additional leading art photographers like Harry Benson, Tyler Shields, Nick Brandt, and more. 

Coe + Co Gallery (Courtesy of Coe + Co Gallery)

Voltz Clarke

Founded in 2002 by Blair Clarke, Voltz Clarke established its first permanent gallery space on the Upper East Side in 2015. The gallery features diverse works by both emerging and mid-career artists, with a focus on introducing international artists to New York—an increasingly globalized market. In November, Voltz Clarke expanded into the Palm Beach market as many New Yorkers relocated for the season. The solo exhibition, which is on display at The Colony Hotel, features paintings by Joshua Avery Webster, who uses color to create unforgettable visual experiences.   

Voltz Clarke Gallery at The Colony Palm Beach (Courtesy of Voltz Clarke)

Pace Gallery

Alongside Acquavella and Sotheby’s, Pace Gallery opened a seasonal space at The Royal Poinciana Plaza. With nine locations around the globe, Pace has established itself as a leader in representing 20th and 21st century artists. “Our new venture is primarily an opportunity to re-engage with our collectors and other colleagues in South Florida, a place that has become vital to the international arts ecology. There are remarkable works being made in our artists’ studios and we felt compelled to show them this season—Palm Beach seemed the ideal place,” said Pace Vice President Adam Sheffer. The Palm Beach location launched with a presentation of a wall installation by James Turrell, a Los Angeles-based artist associated with the Light and Space movement during the 1960s. Now through January 3rd, the gallery is displaying an exhibition of six watercolors by Sam Gillian. The gallery will continue to rotate its series of artists presentations throughout the season and is strictly following the guidelines to protect visitors from the spread of COVID-19. 

Pace Gallery at The Royal Poinciana Plaza (Courtesy of Pace Gallery)