A Legend in Her Own Time
For a lifetime, Patricia Faure has cultivated only the best in the art world
What defines a legend? As Webster states,“a person or notable whose deeds or exploits are much talked about in his own time.”This definition reflects only one facet of Patricia Faure’s extraordinary life of seventy-nine years. A renowned fashion model, photographer, gallerist, mentor, visionary, mother and, of course, great friend of the art world must be added to the description of this particular legend.
Patricia (Patti) Faure was born in Milwaukee,Wisconsin and raised in Los Angeles. After attending Hollywood High, the pretty fifteen-year-old decided to pursue a career in fashion modeling and headed to New York, where she signed a contract with the Ford Agency in 1947. Fascinated with the world of photography, Faure soon decided to step behind the camera; she began pho- tographing designer collections while assisting leading fashion photographer Francesco Scavullo.
She continued her photography career in Los Angeles where she met and married Jacques Faure, art director for Condé Nast. For the next eleven years they lived in Paris, where she gave birth to daughter Zazu and freelanced for numerous fashion publications.
Quickly becoming an important influence in artistic circles, Faure began attracting the “movers and shakers” in the art scene.“She is like a great social hostess from another era—she introduces every- body to everybody,” explains contemporary artist Andy Moses, a close friend of Faure’s.“If you meet someone through Patti you feel like you have a kinship and affinity with them because of the common bond. And you automatically feel they must be special to have a friend like Patti.”
Returning to Los Angeles after her divorce in 1970, Faure continued pursuing her passion for the arts as an assistant to Nick Wilder, reputed as one of LA’s most notable art dealers.
“Working with Nicky was the biggest influence on me. He had the vision to see new movement in art before anyone else,” says Faure today. When Wilder closed his gallery in 1979, Faure partnered with Betty Asher, a contemporary art collector and former curator at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The Asher/Faure Gallery became unique in its own right by initially introducing important New York artists to LA and intermingling them with local artists.This feat in itself precip- itated a revitalization of the LA art scene.
“I was always interested in the evolution of art and all new things that were happening and what the next movement would be,” explains Faure.
Her insight perpetuated itself. Faure moved to and opened Patricia Faure Gallery at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica after Asher died in 1994. As she continued to support contemporary artists—including Tony DeLap, Craig Kauffman, Scott Greiger, Llyn Foulkes, Max Hendler, and Andy Moses—she com- mitted herself to educating and enlightening the LA art community and to developing new and emerging artists such as Salomón Huerta and Ethan Acres.
“Very few dealers have stuck to their guns the way Patti has. She follows her gut as a dealer and if she likes something she’ll stick with it through thick and thin,” says Moses.
In 2006 Faure sold her gallery to Samuel Freeman, a fellow art devotee who adheres to a philosophy not unlike that of Faure. As Freeman explains, Patricia Faure Gallery remains authentic to its original vision by continuing to show art that is “honest work—work with a sense of integrity and depth that is not overly naïve or pretentious.” In other words, both Freeman and Faure believe that a painting should stand on its own. These days, Faure still keeps her eye on the art scene—albeit as a less active participant—and is still adored by those who know her and have worked with her. Molly Barnes, a radio show host, owner of Molly Barnes Gallery, and an admitted rival of Faure’s, reveals:“Being a top model in Paris and going first class with Nicky Wilder, Patti has always had a high concept and attitude of how things should be done. In her gallery, she always pitched the best artists and the most sophisticated collectors to inhabit her world.”
When asked how she would most like to be remembered, Faure laughs and jokingly remarks,“For being pretty.”
So true, and so much more.
Image courtesy Patricia Faure Gallery.