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Nathanson Family Helps Bring Marc Selwyn Fine Art Back To Beverly Hills

Selwyn and the Nathansons hired Frederick Fisher and Partners who had worked with Selwyn on his previous two galleries, and a friend of them all, for an assessment.

BY BHC May 16, 2014
Nathanson Family Helps Bring Marc Selwyn Fine Art Back To Beverly Hills

The Nathanson family has played an important role in bringing Marc Selwyn Fine Art back to Beverly Hills.

Earlier this year, Selwyn opened his space in the historic former Al Grimmet’s Garage, a 1941 brick building on South Santa Monica Boulevard.

We are thrilled to have Marc back in Beverly Hills where he started his gallery, says longtime friend and client Marc Nathanson.

Nathanson and his wife Jane are well known in the local art scene. Amassing a collection of contemporary art over 47 years, a Richard Diebenkorn from their collection was part of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art, American Art, Contemporary Art auction earlier this year. June Nathanson is a founding and 25-year MOCA board member and an executive committee member at LACMA.

They met Selwyn thorough his parents when they moved to Beverly Hills in 1975.

Involved in the community, the Nathansons came to know Selwyn’s father Paul (also a BHHS grad) as a jeweler and member of the planningˇ and architectural commissions. His mother, Joan Selwyn, is a former art commissioner and founder of the Friends of Robinson Gardens. We became friends with his parents and Marc became a friend of our children, Nathanson said, and all are BHHS grads.

As art lovers, they’ve followed his career and bought from him when he was West Coast fine arts director for Sotheby’s (their daughter, Nicole Dwyer, with a master’s in art history, worked for Selwyn there) and director of PaceWildenstein’s Beverly Hills gallery and when he opened his own gallery.

Since 2003, he has owned Marc Selwyn Fine Art, which represents artists including Mel Bochner, the estate of Robert Heinecken (retrospective opened at MoMA in March), Richard Misrach, the estate of Lee Mullican and William Wegman.

We have a long relationship with him, says Nathanson. We highly respect him as an honest and capable art dealer.

A year and a half ago, after 40 years in Westwood and renting in different buildings, Nathanson decided to buy his own building for his Mapleton Investments, a diversified investment holding company that owns and operates real-estate throughout the U.S. and overseas, of which he is chairman.

They bought the office building at 9965 Santa Monica Blvd. and at the same time the historic Grimmet’s Garage across the street at 9953 S. Santa Monica Blvd., along with its parking lot they needed, two doors away.

We wanted the parking lot and the garage came with it, says Nathanson. The Grimmit family didn’t want to sell in pieces and we didn’t know what to do with the garage. The idea evolved. It seemed natural for us to turn it from garage into a world-class art gallery.

We’re not in the automobile business and the building didn’t have any heating or air conditioning, Nathanson adds. So his son Adam, head of the Mapleton real-estate group, who’s known Selwyn since childhood, contacted him about moving from mid-Wilshire, where his lease was up, back to his hometown.

He came over, saw, and was thrilled and fell in love with the place and that’s how it happened, says Nathan-son.

There were still cars in itˇ when Iˇ first saw it, says Selwyn. But using my imagination I knew it would be a great gallery.

These kinds of old buildings with high ceilings and atmosphere don’t come aroundˇ very much in this neighborhood, said Selwyn. Plus there’s beautiful natural light from the skylight.

Selwyn and the Nathansons hired Frederick Fisher and Partners who had worked with Selwyn on his previous two galleries, and a friend of them all, for an assessment. Fisher thought the building had potential, so the Nathansons and Selwyn entered into a long-term lease and the former repair shop is now a 3,000-square-foot gallery with an intimate drawings gallery and a larger natural-light filled exhibition area. The space is a classic industrial loft with brick walls and wood trusses.

People will go on an a gallery outing once in a while, Selwyn reports This is something in the neighborhood where our clients live and work and we have have good parking, so we want them to stop in frequently. The location near the Annenberg Space for Photography, the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Gagosian Gallery, and less than two blocks from The Peninsula Hotel is one Selwyn hopes is more than a weekend destination. I want people to feel it’s a place to stop in after lunch or on their way home, Selwyn says.

We think the block of Santa Monica between the Peninsula and Century City is a great area for improvement, adds Nathanson.

After graduating from BHHS and Stanford, Selwyn went on to earn a law degree from New York University and started practicing law in California. At the same time was working as a art journalist as West Coast editor for both Art & Auction and Flash Art magazines. He was a regular contributor to L.A. Weekly, Beaux Arts Magazine, Arts and other publications.

He finally decided he was more passionate about art than real estate law; and left to launch his art career.

The gallery is known for post World War II paintings, drawings, sculpture and photography and its focus on minimal and conceptual art. The current exhibition of works by Allen Ruppersberg ends tomorrow.

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