After more than two decades on the Mayfair street, Alan Cristea Gallery will relocate in the autumn to Pall Mall, where it will be joining Philip Mould & Co, which relocated from Dover Street to 18-19 Pall Mall in 2015.
“We have known for a number of years that our lease on Cork Street would expire around this time and have spent the past three years searching for a space to accommodate our expanding business,” Cristea said. “With no suitable alternatives available on Cork Street, our search led us to a larger gallery space on Pall Mall.”
The departure of yet another gallery from Cork Street is another nail in the coffin for what was for a hundred years one of the art world’s most famous addresses. The redevelopment of Cork Street to make way for expensive luxury flats saw galleries priced out of the road. There are now less than a handful of galleries left on Cork Street.
However Cork Street’s loss is Pall Mall’s gain. Although better-known for its members' clubs, Gallery Panter & Hall opened on the street three years ago and property experts say other galleries are now considering moving to the location.
Cristea believes the new location will still attract just as many visitors. “Whether it be Old Masters or Contemporary art, the area bordered by Piccadilly to the north, St James’s Street to the west, Lower Regent’s Street to the east and Pall Mall to the south is an ever more thriving area for the art trade, perfectly suited to our wide ranging remit of artists from Picasso, Matisse and Miro, to Howard Hodgkin, Gillian Ayres, Cornelia Parker and Antony Gormley.”
Guy Maude, a property expert at Leslie Perkins, who advised Philip Mould when he moved to Pall Mall, said: “Gallery businesses are focused on the type of space they can take, not necessarily just the location. The most important thing is the internal space, large floor to ceiling heights and few columns.” He added: “There is certainly a resurgence of interest in St James's.”
The decision to relocate and expand rather than close, unlike some galleries that have left Cork Street, is welcome news, with one property agent commenting: “This proves there is life after Cork Street.”
The decline of the street as a destination for art galleries has been fiercely contested, with artists and dealers mounting a “Save Cork Street” campaign in 2012.