The Locksley Shea Gallery was owned by Gordon Locksley and George Shea, and located in their Minneapolis Mansion in the 1960’s and early 70’s. They bought and sold the work of contemporary artists and amassed a personal collection that includes some of the most well-known artists of the 20th century.
Gordon Locksley was born in 1930 in Chicago, and moved to Minneapolis in the early 1950’s. He opened a hair salon that catered to wealthy clients called the Red Carpet Salon. Locksley was interested in art, and decided to start selling artwork from his salon, primarily prints by well-known modern and contemporary artists. Since he didn’t have a background in art, he worked with dealers who could help advise him about which pieces would be appealing to buyers. Soon his own great taste in art allowed him to spot talented emerging artists.
In the 1960’s and 70’s, Locksley and his partner George Shea (a professor of Japanese language and literature at the University of Minnesota) opened a gallery in their home at 3100 Mount Curve. Here they exhibited the art of some of the most well-known contemporary artists, such as Ellsworth Kelly, Claes Oldenburg, and Roy Lichtenstein. The Locksley Shea Gallery was also known for its wild parties, attended by Minneapolis socialites and artists like Andy Warhol.
In 1974 Locksley and Shea moved to Europe, and then to Palm Springs. Locksley later met and married Wayne Boeck and moved to Fort Lauderdale, while Shea remained in Palm Springs. Shea and Locksley remained friends and retained joint ownership of their collection. They also always kept their ties to Minneapolis, and in 2006 they loaned over 50 significant pieces from their private collection to the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Gordon Locksley’s death in 2014 put an end to their collaboration, but their contribution to the Minneapolis art scene will always be remembered.
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