Comic Art Collector Philippe Labaune Opening Gallery at 555 West 23rd

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A collector plans to open a more permanent gallery dedicated to European comic art in Chelsea, Commercial Observer has learned.

Philippe Labaune’s Art9 Comics signed a two-year lease for 1,250 square feet on the ground floor of 555 West 23rd Street between 10th and 11th avenues, landlord Douglaston Development announced. Asking rent for the storefront in the 15-floor condominium building was $9,000 a month.

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The spot, named the Philippe Labaune Gallery, is set to open later this month and showcase original European comic art, and will be the only dedicated comic art gallery in the country, according to Douglaston.

The French-born Labaune worked in the finance industry in New York for nearly three decades and started to amass a collection of original comic art about 15 years ago, according to France-Amérique magazine. He left his job and founded Art9 to promote European comic art around the United States.

Labaune’s collection includes pieces from “The Adventures of Tintin” creator Hergé and artist Jean “Moebius” Giraud, and he staged his first exhibit last year in Chelsea.

“It was so wonderful that I was able to share the artwork of more than 50 of the most renowned comic artists from all over the world, like Hergé, Moebius, and Enki Bilal, at an exhibition in Chelsea last year, but with my own gallery I will be able to do that on a regular basis,” Labaune said in a statement. “And my new space is in the perfect location nestled in the Gallery District.”

Art9 represented itself in the lease, while Joshua Young of Clinton Management, the property management arm of Douglaston, handled it for the landlord.

“The addition of Philippe Labaune Gallery to West Chelsea is not only the start of galleries reopening, but continues to embed Douglaston’s long-standing history of facilitating and supporting art opportunities in the gallery district,” Young said in a statement. “The COVID-19 pandemic posed increased hardship and challenges to the arts industry as a whole and we are focused and dedicated to help aid in the sector’s revival by focusing on even more unique and creative avenues to bring gallery spaces to the neighborhood.”