The gallerist Paul Kasmin (l) with the artist David Hockney, photographed by Jill Krementz on November 20, 2017 at Hockney’s opening night at the Met

Paul Kasmin, the much-loved proprietor of the Chelsea gallery that bears his name, died today after a lengthy battle with cancer. Kasmin helped develop the careers of many vital artists, including Mark Ryden, Bosco Sodi, Bernar Vene, Tina Barney, Walton Ford, and James Nares.

Kasmin was as responsible as any single individual for transforming Chelsea into the center of New York’s art world when he moved his SoHo gallery to 10th Avenue in 2000. The force of his personality – a spritely, endearing personality that saw him dining out constantly and mingling with everyone – helped form a gravitational field throughout the 20s. Kasmin’s sculpture garden at 27th St has become one of the most recognizable spots on the High Line.

Kasmin came by his gallerist connections genetically. His brother Aaron Kasmin is a well-regarded painter; their great-grandfather was Ben Nicholson, the abstract landscape artist and contemporary of Mondrian and Picasso; his works hang in the Tate Gallery and have sold at auction for millions of euros. Ben’s siblings included the artist Nancy Nicholson and the architect Christopher Nicholson. Paul’s father, John Kasmin, became a revered dealer in London who championed David Hockney. Paul inherited that friendship and was frequently spotted out with Hockney. In fact, Kasmin, a talented photographer, counted Hockney among his subjects.

According to the photographer Jill Krementz, “They were very close friends, David having known Paul since he was a baby. [They] last saw one another in August when Paul visited David in Normandy.”

According to Artnet, a succession plan for the gallery calls for the current managing director Nick Olney to assume leadership in conjunction with the board.