Precise, inquisitive, and intimate: the Friedrich Petzel Gallery has nurtured a lively and personable culture of artistic expression and exploration for over 3 decades and counting. The gallery has planted firm roots in an academic culture that is highly explorational and fosters close bonds.
The gallery was founded in 1994 and first opened on Wooster Street in the SoHo area of New York City. In the following years, Friedrich Petzel decided to expand his gallery space to tailor to the needs of his artists and their exhibits.
In 2000, the gallery moved to 537 West 22nd Street in Chelsea and then expanded to include a separate space next door dedicated to smaller exhibitions, artists’ projects, and performances in 2006. In Fall 2008, Friedrich Petzel Gallery opened a joint gallery with Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne. This new gallery, called Capitain Petzel, is housed in a glass-encased gallery located in the Mitte section of Berlin and presents exhibitions of established international artists. After eleven years on 22nd Street, Petzel Gallery closed this space, expanding into a new location at 456 18th Street in 2012.
In March of 2015, Petzel opened a second space in New York, a new, uptown location at 35 East 67th Street. Situated in a townhouse, the new gallery will curate historic exhibitions by artists within the Petzel program as well as focus on curatorial projects and publishing activities. The newest location showcases historical series from artists, such as Charline von Heyl’s early paintings and works by Georg Herold.
Gallery Locations with a Purpose
Friedrich Petzel enjoys having his galleries in the Upper East Side because it helps him build intimate relationships with his clients. The location gives him a chance to slow down and chat while enjoying a cup of coffee while discussing personal interests. In fact, his newest location nurtures an intimate community of collectors and artists, which aligns with his gallery’s long-standing vision to pursue precision instead of expansion.
Both galleries in New York are complemented by Capitain Petzel in Berlin. The move to the new, larger 18th Street location and expansion uptown continue Petzel Gallery’s commitment to developing its program upon the scope, diversity, and ambitions of the artists that it represents. Never losing touch with his inquisitive, academic roots, he keeps his galleries focused on the mission to explore, investigate, and enrich the world of art.
About Friedrich Petzel
Friedrich Petzel grew up around Cologne, Germany, an area bursting with the natural beauty of the Rhine River and countless historical masterpieces in both architecture and art. His early life was spent as a “Renaissance” man, spending long days at the Museum Ludwig and playing the bass guitar in bands. His cumulative artistic interests prompted him to study Art History in graduate school. Long after his graduation and foray into the world of galleries, Petzel approaches art with the spirit of academia — pursuing answers to ever-evolving questions in the intimate setting of provocative dialogue and boundary- bending vision.
When asked about his graduate dissertation topic in a 2019 interview, Petzel replied, “Can a painting express the opposite of what it represents? How can you talk about something intelligently without getting into questions of taste?”
These types of investigative discussions that contemplate the role of art and its meaning continued into the gallery’s culture. Inspiring a scholarly discussion, the Petzel gallery is both an intellectual and approachable experience. Petzel also keeps his roster of artists to a limited number, which contrasts his gallery from many others. This small number allows Petzel to continue the intimate, conversational culture of his gallery.
Petzel’s roots in academia have inspired him to select his artists, who all find a way to unite aesthetics with an intellectual mood. There are about 36 artists on his roster, which is a fair-sized group but small compared to other galleries of the same caliber. When asked about the limited number of artists on his roster, he replies in an interview, “My imagination does not allow for 80, 90, 100 artists. I think there’s a certain expectation of precision from people who enter the gallery.”
This concept of precision has compelled Petzel to focus on a smaller group of talent to foster strong relationships and build their careers. The size of this group has not slowed down his operations in the slightest. He has come to recruit some of the brightest artists around the world, like Charline von Heyl, Dana Schutz, Simon Denny, Rob Pruitt, Alex Katz, Jorge Pardo, Joyce Pensato, Stefanie Heinze, and Wade Guyton. Petzel’s gallery is proud to curate their rare and sought-after works and make some of them available for sale online.
Each artist offers a different aesthetic and approach to their work. Joyce Pensato’s charcoal depictions of popular cartoon characters like Mickey Mouse and Felix the Cat offer a stark and haunting contrast to the cheerful cartoon character known around the world. These warped, mutilated depictions suggest an “anti-pop” feeling, which is both exploratory and provoking.
Jorge Pardo creates art in many formats, with a focus on sculptures and other 3-D objects. He integrates contrasting materials and colors sourced from nature and industrial contexts, creating art that has both beauty and function.
For a limited time, you will find exclusive offerings from Petzel’s collection here. The selection is subject to change depending on demand and availability.