Laura Rathe at the entrance to her new River Oaks District space, unveiling Thursday, October 1. Rathe, who marked her 20th anniversary as a gallerist in 2019, will now have three Texas spaces: her original gallery on Colquitt, a Dallas location in the Design District, and now this high-profile site at River Oaks District. The gallerist stands next to Gino Miles' stainless-steel sculpture "Omen," 2019. (Photo by Jack Thompson)
Matt Devine's powder coat on aluminum sculpture "Blue Collar #7," 2018, will be featured in Laura Rathe Fine Art's inaugural River Oaks District exhibition, "Dreamers," opening Thursday, October 1, 2020. (Photo courtesy the artist and Laura Rathe Fine Art)
Cecil Touchon's deconstructed text-based collage, "Fusion Series #2197," 2006, at Laura Rathe Fine Art's River Oaks District digs. (Photo courtesy the artist and Laura Rathe Fine Art)
Texas-based Caprice Pierucci's "Grey Full Circle," 2020, at Laura Rathe Fine Art's new River Oaks District space unveiling Thursday, October 1, 2020. (Photo courtesy the artist and Laura Rathe Fine Art)
Stallman Studio's "Blue Hour" diptych, 2020, hand-sculpted canvas and acrylic paint, created for the grand opening of Laura Rathe Fine Art's new River Oaks District gallery this October. (Photo courtesy the artist and Laura Rathe Fine Art)
Sydney Yeager's oil on linen "Vortex," 2020, showcased in Laura Rathe Fine Art's new River Oaks District gallery, its second Houston location. (Photo courtesy the artist and Laura Rathe Fine Art)
Zhuang Hong Yi's "b20-c068," 2020, a mixed media on rice paper, among the artists in Laura Rathe Fine Art's stable highlighted in the gallery's second Houston location at luxury Mecca, River Oaks District. (Photo courtesy the artist and Laura Rathe Fine Art)
Carly Allen-Martin's Impressionist-meets-AbEx "The Individualist," 2020, at Laura Rathe Fine Art. (Courtesy the artist and Laura Rathe Fine Art)
Laura Rathe and Hunt Slonem at the artist's opening and book signing at Rathe's eponymous Houston gallery, 2018. (Photo by Lizette Belen Soto)
In a time of coronavirus pandemic fueled uncertainty and a fraught election cycle — a particularly precarious moment for the visual arts — a noted Houston gallery’s high-profile expansion proves the Texas art world will go on.
Cue Laura Rathe Fine Art. Rathe’s stable features such notable talents as street artist RETNA; the photographer of The Afghan Girl, Steve McCurry; recently signed lensman Max Steven Grossman who captures art collectors library in imagined Bookscape images that reveal how our volumes speak of identity; and museum-collected painter/preservationist Hunt Slonem.
The gallerist — who toasted 20 years last fall with a lavish bash at her Colquitt headquarters and also boasts an enviable Dallas location in the heart of the city’s Design District — is adding a high-profile Houston retail space that places her art program front and center with some of the world’s most vaunted luxury brands.
Rathe is unveiling a second location in the tony River Oaks District, occupying a prime spot at the crossroads of Dior, Hermès and Cartier, a short stroll from some of River Oaks District’s snazziest dining spots, including Toulouse and Le Colonial. (Rathe will be shuttering her Uptown location at BLVD Place to concentrate on the new location at River Oaks District, she tells PaperCity.)
“For years, I have admired the River Oaks District for its unique experience where Houstonians may access upscale retailers and fine dining in a concentrated location,” Rathe writes in an email. “It’s with great excitement that LRFA will join the prestigious shopping center in October.”
And why now?
“While many would shy from such a big leap during these times, the gallery has never been one to fall into the expected,” Rathe explains. “I know how much we are craving to connect with the visual arts and each other.
“The 3,500-square-foot space with soaring ceilings will be able to showcase monumental sculptures and innovative works by the gallery’s renowned stable of artists.”
And Laura Rathe Fine Art’s expansive new digs are a bonus during this time. “The indoor/outdoor design of the gallery will allow us to hold exciting yet safe exhibitions,” Rathe notes.
Laura Rathe Fine Art in the River Oaks District, 4444 Westheimer, will unveil its new gallery Thursday, October 1, with the inaugural group exhibition, “Dreamers.”