Art of the Dealer

 In Culture, Feature

One of the regions most important art dealers opens William Shearburn Gallery in the Dorchester.


When visitors enter the Dorchester on Skinker Boulevard overlooking Forest Park, no longer will they find John’s Town Hall, the storied pub known for its Cheers-like atmosphere and “Medart” burgers. Every trace of the space’s former character is gone, replaced with gleaming white walls and track spotlights, all designed to showcase the impressive collection of high-end art that now hangs on the newly pristine, 14-foot walls. Founded by longtime St. Louis collector and gallerist William Shearburn, the recently opened 2,500-square-foot William Shearburn Gallery features a patio and sculpture garden overlooking the park and hosts its first group show this month. “I want people to see that I have committed to things local,” Shearburn says. “But I also deal with things that are international.”



Deeply involved in the world of art, Shearburn has put together a collection that speaks to his deep experience and knowledge. Roy Lichtenstein and Bernar Venet works co-mingle with pieces by local artists such as Andrew Millner and Fontbonne University’s Tim Liddy. A particularly dominant piece by SIU’s Sarah Frost‰ÛÓwinner of the Great Rivers Biennial 2010, who most recently completed a commission and installation for the James Hotel in New York‰ÛÓis titled “QUERTY,” and features hundreds of computer keyboard tiles. The collection is nothing if not diverse, and oftentimes, as in the Frost piece, mesmerizing. “St. Louis can germinate an artist and keep an artist here,” Shearburn says.


Multiple Exposures


To mark the gallery’s opening, Shearburn will donate 10 percent of all sales from April 4-18 to the Contemporary Art Museum’s “New Art in the Neighborhood” program. “It’s totally open to the public,” Shearburn says. “I’m going to make sure everyone is invited and have a dialogue.” The gallery will also sponsor the Contemporary Art Museum’s “AP Portfolio Day,” a new program that invites high school art students from St. Louis Public Schools to share their work with art professionals in an effort to help students advance their art skills and prepare them for the next level of art practice.

The gallery opens with a public event on April 4 from 5-8pm. Located at 665 S. Skinker Blvd., it is open Monday-Friday, 12-5pm and by appointment.


Photo credit: Gallry photo by Alise O’Brien | Portrait by Wesley Law

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