Last week, when the Swiss art dealer Jean-Claude Freymond-Guth announced the abrupt closure of his eponymous Basel gallery in an emotional letter, an outpouring of surprise and sadness from the art community spread out across social media. At a time of mounting challenges for smaller art galleries, the letter struck a chord with its cri de coeur about the “alienation” Freymond-Guth felt from the art world’s “growing demand in constant global participation, production, and competition,” which led him to question a system that “works only for a tiny amount of artists and galleries.”

Since establishing his gallery in Zürich in 2006, the young gallerist had built a reputation for his strong intergenerational roster and curatorially driven program, regularly making appearances at Frieze and other top art fairs to promote artists like Sylvia Sleigh and Virginia Overton to the cognoscenti. Only last year he had relocated from Zürich to a new 800-square-meter Herzog & de Meuron-designed space in Basel—an investment that made his sudden closure even more of a surprise. Read more