Singing a Dif­fer­ent Tune

Bespoke - - ESSENTIALS -

The Opera Gallery has just opened in Le­banon and this isn’t only ex­cit­ing be­cause Beirut now joins its reper­toire of in­flu­en­tial art cap­i­tals (along­side Paris, Lon­don, Geneva, Monaco, New York, Miami, Sin­ga­pore, Hong Kong, Seoul and Dubai) but also be­cause of the cal­i­bre of Amer­i­can, Euro­pean and Asian art this pres­ti­gious gallery brings with it. Un­like most other gal­leries which spe­cialise in a par­tic­u­lar form of art, or art from a cer­tain pe­riod, this one has both the mod­ern and the con­tem­po­rary, the emerg­ing and the es­tab­lished, not to men­tion 20th cen­tury Masters like Renoir and Matisse. It fea­tures works by world-class heavy­weights such as Sal­vador Dalí, Pablo Pi­casso and Marc Cha­gall along­side Takashi Mu­rakami, Andy Warhol and more re­cently, the graf­fiti artist, who goes by the name Seen. So, why Le­banon? It turns out that Ge­orges Chal­houb, a pas­sion­ate Le­banese art col­lec­tor, had the idea to cre­ate a gallery space in Beirut in or­der to house his ex­ten­sive col­lec­tion and some of those works were ac­quired by Gilles Dyan, founder of the Opera Gallery. As Dyan tells us, “The de­ci­sion to open Opera Gallery in Beirut [where you’ll find works rang­ing from 10,000 USD to 5 mil­lion USD] was sim­ply be­cause we have many Le­banese clients in our net­work and they re­quested we be present in this city. When my friend Ge­orges Chal­houb con­tacted me to col­lab­o­rate on this project, he had al­ready booked an ex­cep­tional space in the down­town area. Of course, our re­sponse was very pos­i­tive.” Dyan’s own foray into art was un­con­ven­tional – though he did buy his first Miró at the age of 16 and plenty of em­i­nent artists’ prints be­fore he could af­ford any­thing more – he ended up work­ing in mar­ket­ing for ten years be­fore de­cid­ing to pur­sue art deal­ing as a ca­reer at the age of 33. His big break came at the Sin­ga­pore Art Fair in 1994, when he sold all his works in one foul swoop. He sub­se­quently opened his first Opera Gallery there a few months later. And the rest is his­tory.

Opera Gallery, Chafic El Waz­zan Av­enue, Beirut, Le­banon.

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