Donald Young (1942-2012)


Chicago art dealer Donald Young has died at 69.

Young died after a yearlong battle with cancer, according to a statement from his gallery.

Young is known for showing artists such as Dan Flavin, Donald Judd, Martin Puryear, Robert Mangold, Richard Serra and Sol LeWitt, as well as Jeff Koons, Charles Ray, Sophie Calle, Cristina Iglesias and, more recently, Josiah McElheny and Anne Chu.

“He was an incredible advocate for the work and for the artists he showed,” says Paul Gray, director of Chicago’s Richard Gray Gallery. “His relationships were very long and very loyal, and that’s not about contracts, but rather about sensitivity for what makes it possible for an artist to continue to create. Donald was a very sensitive dealer in that regard. In 30 years in the business I have never heard a bad word spoken about him.”

Born in England in 1942, Young worked at a London gallery before moving to Paris in the early ‘60s, where he dealt in 20th-century European masters and contemporary American art for a decade. He lived briefly in New York before moving to Chicago, where, with Rhona Hoffman, he opened Young Hoffman Gallery in 1976, showing Minimal and Conceptual art.

He opened Donald Young Gallery in 1983. Well known for its involvement with video, initially showing Bruce Nauman and later Rodney Graham, Gary Hill and Bill Viola, Young’s gallery was one of the first to achieve commercial success with the medium. After a move to Seattle in the early ’90s, the gallery returned to Chicago in 1999.

Photo by Mary Barone