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An Art Adviser Known for His Gilded Touch


Lawrence Van Hagen in May at his “What’s Up” show in New York.

Daniel Weiss for The New York Times

Lawrence Van Hagen

Age 23

Hometown Paris

Now Lives In an art-covered, two-bedroom house in the Chelsea neighborhood of London.

Claim to Fame Mr. Van Hagen is a dashing, shaggy-haired art adviser and curator known for his gilded touch and a roaming exhibition called “What’s Up,” which showcases 50 young contemporary artists. It helps that handling Picassos is in his blood. His mother is Susanne Van Hagen, the well-heeled art connoisseur. “I have been in the arts since I was a little kid,” he said, recounting visits to Sotheby’s and Christie’s by age 6. Together they operate LVH Art, a mother-and-son art advisory that places expensive works in even more expensive homes.

Big Break After years of playing behind-the-scenes matchmaker for artists and collectors, Mr. Van Hagen decided to curate his first “What’s Up” show last year. “I wanted to know what’s up today,” he said. “What are the artists my friends should be looking at now?” The show was a hit: 85 percent of the works sold.

Latest Project The first stateside “What’s Up” was staged in May in New York to coincidence with Frieze New York, held in a three-story building in the Chelsea gallery district. To create “a dialogue” between young and more establishment artists, he paired John Chamberlain sculptures with those of Ernesto Burgos. “I’m not as well known in New York,” he said. “So it was important to have the right space in a prime location.”

Next Thing He hopes to take “What’s Up” to Los Angeles, Buenos Aires and Hong Kong. “I don’t believe in the gallery model,” he said. “Things are changing so quickly and people are getting bored of going to one gallery after another.” Instead, he wants to try his hand at virtual exhibitions. “Today it’s very tricky to buy art online, and I don’t think it’s working as it should,” he said. “A dream of mine would be to become the go-to guy in that space.”

Like Mother, Like Son Working with his mother comes with advantages and disadvantages. “My mother loves young people and has more energy than I do,” he said. “At art fairs, she gets along with all of my friends, and I get along with all of hers. Although, of course, sometimes it can be irritating when your mother wants to go out later than you at a party. I’m like, ‘Mom, it’s time to go home.’”

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