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Thursday, December 5, 2002 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Foster/White Gallery sold

Seattle Times art critic

After 29 years as one of Seattle's premier art dealers, Donald Foster announced yesterday that he has sold his Foster/White Gallery to the Vancouver, B.C.-based Bau-Xi Gallery. Foster/White, with branches in Pioneer Square, Kirkland and downtown Seattle, will keep its name and stable of local artists, Foster said.

The deal was signed Sunday and the new gallery director, Phen Huang, will arrive at Foster/White today. Foster will stay on part time as a consultant for six months to ease the transition.

The gallery was founded in 1968 by late entrepreneur Richard White, who sold it to Foster in 1973. Foster/White has represented many of the best-known artists of the Northwest School, including Morris Graves, Margaret Tomkins, Kenneth Callahan, Leo Kenney and Richard Gilkey. Foster handled works from the estate of Mark Tobey and his gallery was the first to represent glass artist Dale Chihuly, who still shows with Foster/White.

Bau-Xi Gallery opened in Vancouver in 1965 and expanded to Toronto in 1976. Bau-Xi represents about 50 established and emerging Canadian artists, including late painter Jack Shadbolt. "Between their two galleries they show some really big-name Canadian artists," said Barbara Shaiman, director of Seattle Art Museum's Rental Sales Gallery, which shows a number of Canadian painters. Foster said he's had other offers for the business but that this was the first one that felt right. At age 77 and in poor health, he's ready to hand over the reins.

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