Lawrence Van Hagen: An insider’s Guide to London / Art , Architecture , Design
Lawrence Van Hagen: An insider’s Guide to London

We chat to the founder of LVH Art about where he goes to get his fix of modern art

We chat to the founder of LVH Art about where he goes to get his fix of modern art

Millennial art dealer Lawrence Van Hagen gives us the low down on his favourite galleries, clubs and boutiques.

For those in the art world, Lawrence Van Hagen needs no introduction. At just 28 years old, the founder of LVH ART has clients all around the world and has curated several incredibly successful What’s Up shows in London, Seoul, Hong Kong and New York. The shows combine emerging artists with established talent, and the pieces fly off the walls. He was born to a German mother and British father, and initially lived in Paris. Now, London is home.

Charming, self-assured and highly knowledgeable on matters of fine art, Lawrence’s Chelsea home is adorned with work he has collected since the first What’s Up show in 2016. The pop-up exhibition comprised 50 artists at varying stages of their careers, giving the emerging talent credibility by its proximity to the famous work, and bringing the established artists to a fresh audience of first-time buyers. Lawrence now advises his global clients on art worthy of investment, hand-picking work from creatives that he really believes in.

A self-proclaimed creature of habit, we asked him to share some of his favourite galleries, streets and where he’d go for dinner. 

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Did you grow up in London?

No, I grew up in Paris and then I went to boarding school here in the UK, and I've been in London for the past 10 years. Now, I'm in Cadogan Square, in Chelsea.

Do you feel that Chelsea is your neighbourhood?

Absolutely. I’m very particular: I moved flat four months ago from literally two doors down. I love being in this square – so clearly I'm not very adventurous!

Where do you go for breakfast or a coffee?

Actually I don’t drink coffee or tea, but I’m very lucky because Pavilion Road is right on my doorstep: along there there’s Granger & Co, a butcher – and you can pretty much do all your food shopping there, which is so convenient.

I’m a real homebody, but if I do go out I'm very into Mayfair. I love going to members' clubs, such as 5 Hertford Street or Maison Estelle, which recently opened on Grafton Street. It's very beautiful, so if I want to hang out in the afternoon I go there.

I also host a lot. I have all my meetings at home, and love to have friends over.

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How do you stay fit? Do you go to a gym, or do you run?

I work out five times a week. I go to a gym called Manor in Victoria, where I have a trainer. It's a real no-nonsense kind of gym, where you flip tyres, you pull sledges, they're all like professional rugby players there. It's not a “show off” kind of place, but it's very, very cool. I’ve been going there for two and a half years.

Which galleries do you make a special effort to go to when they have a new show?

If we were talking about Mayfair, I focus on galleries such as Thaddaeus Ropac and Hauser & Wirth. There's a small gallery that I like a lot called LAMB Arts on St George’s Street. And of course the big ones – Gagosian, Sadie Coles and Timothy Taylor.

And then in east London you have Emalin – that's a great smaller gallery that exhibits a lot of interesting artists. I love Perimeter in Bloomsbury, too: it’s an art foundation that does amazing shows, run by a friend of mine, Alex Petalas.

Then there is the Whitechapel Gallery, the Barbican, and so many others. You have the Estorick Collection in north London as well. I like going to see the collections of private individuals working in the art world.

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If you had a visitor for a day in London who didn't know the city well, what would you do with them?

I’d probably go round the galleries and shops in Mayfair. If they were a bit more edgy, I’d probably do all the galleries in east and south London. I have this app that I love called See Saw. You can see all the shows that are happening in the city – they have London, New York, Paris and Berlin. You can just click what shows you want and then it creates this map for you, and you can follow wherever you want to go.

I'm not very knowledgeable when it comes to east London, so I tend to focus on the galleries there.

My favourite restaurant is River Café, so that would be the spot for dinner time, or I’d cook at home and go out somewhere in Mayfair. I'm very west London-centric. I love Notting Hill, I always wanted to move there – but I never found a house that worked for me. I always felt that the Chelsea area was very “home” to me.

And are there any boutiques or local brands that you particularly like?

I find Chelsea itself a bit mainstream, so for clothing, I normally go to my tailor P Johnson. They have a showroom in Fitzrovia which is very cool, and I get everything made there. And then there's another boutique that I like in Marylebone called Anglo-Italian, which is a great men's boutique where you can customise items.

There’s also a furniture store in north London called Béton Brut. Their work with wood is fantastic.

I always go to the usual suspects in design, such as The Conran Shop, but I never tend to buy anything. What I buy tends to be from abroad or from design auctions.

What's your personal brand manifesto?

For me, it’s “less is more”. Do less.


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