British dealer Angela Flowers, who ran an eponymous gallery based in London for decades, died on August 11 at 90. Flowers Gallery announced her passing on Saturday.
Flowers opened her gallery on Lisle Street in 1970. There, she presented the work of emerging and under-represented artists, including Derek Hirst, Jeff Nuttall, Penny Slinger, Ian Breakwell, Jeanne Masoero, and Nancy Fouts. That year, she also mounted the first solo exhibition by Tom Phillips, a famed painter, art historian, and writer.
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For one early exhibition, titled “Postcard Show,” Flowers commissioned artists such as Joseph Beuys, David Hockney, Richard Hamilton, and Peter Blake to make art that was then turned into postcards.
David Hepher, John Loker, and the duo Boyd & Evans also showed with Flowers early on—and are still represented by the gallery today.
In 1971, the gallery moved to Portland Mews in Soho, before moving again in 1978 to Tottenham Mews, where it remained for a decade. The gallery added another location in East End in 1988, making it one of the largest commercial galleries in London at the time. It later expanded to include two spaces with a performance venue. In the early 2000s, the East End space moved to Shoreditch and the present-day West End space opened in Mayfair.
Born in Croydon, England, in December 1932 with the last name Holland, Flowers attended the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Before opening her gallery, she became an accomplished musician and singer. Flowers was first introduced by her parents to art collecting, but it was visiting artists studios in St. Ives in the 1950s was the catalyst for her work in the art world.
She did not only focus on London. In 1998, Flowers Gallery expanded internationally, opening a location at Santa Monica’s Bergamot Station Arts Center in Los Angeles. The gallery moved to Madison Avenue in 2003 and subsequently to Chelsea in 2009, where it stayed for ten years. A new space in central Hong Kong opened in 2020. Flowers’s son Matthew has been managing director of the gallery since 1989.
Since 1985, Flowers has hosted seasonal exhibitions at her home in West Cork, Ireland. Among the gallery’s various initiatives was Artist of the Day, through which artists who had not yet achieved fame were selected to stage one-day exhibitions.
She was a fellow of the Royal College of Art and a member of the executive committee of the Society of London Art Dealers and the John Kobal Foundation.
In 1952, Flowers married the photographer Adrian Flowers. They had four children—Adam, Matthew, Francesca, and Daniel—and divorced in 1973. In 2003, Flowers married journalist Robert Heller, with whom she had a daughter, the artist Rachel Heller.
Flowers is survived by her five children, 13 grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.