Tasende Gallery brings world-class sculptures to La Jolla

An installation by Mark di Suvero is displayed at Tasende Gallery in La Jolla.
(Aitor Tasende)

Business Spotlight:

Tasende Gallery is known for its eye-catching sculptures that front its Prospect Street space in La Jolla. To learn more about what’s going on inside the gallery, the La Jolla Light posed the following questions to President Jose Tasende, who founded the gallery in June 1979 and continues to lead it along with Mary Beth Petersen.

Q. What is your business’s mission?

A. The mission and challenge have always been to make this gallery, located far from the world’s art centers, a success.

Q. What services do you offer? What makes this gallery different?

A. Throughout its 43-year history, Tasende Gallery has worked directly with artists to acquire works for our clients. We have worked closely with renowned artists Giacomo Manzù, Henry Moore, Roberto Matta, Eduardo Chillida, Isamu Noguchi, Mark di Suvero, Niki de Saint Phalle, Wayne Thiebaud, Jose Luis Cuevas and Fernando Botero. In addition to providing educational material on the artists, we have assisted our clients in developing collections and have advised on the installation of sculpture and sculpture gardens.

In addition to acquiring works directly from the artists and preparing exhibitions and catalogs, we have also loaned large-scale sculptures to the community. Over the years we have placed sculpture by Henry Moore at The Cove and Salk Institute; [sculpture by] Giacomo Manzù and Niki de Saint Phalle at John Coles’ Book Shop lawn, now the [La Jolla] Historical Society; [sculpture by] Eduardo Chillida along Prospect Street, including St. James by-the-Sea and the Rec Center, to name a few.

We have been fortunate to have received the counsel of several influential mentors and collaborators: Thomas Messer from the Guggenheim, James Johnson Sweeney of the Museum of Modern Art, Peter Selz of Berkeley and Jose Luis Cuevas of Mexico City.

Q. What’s new recently with the business that you want everyone to know about?

A. We want people to know about the Mark di Suvero sculptures in front of the gallery and in the patio. We consider di Suvero the most important sculptor working today. This is because his innovation has had an enormous impact on public sculpture in general. Inspired by the expressive freedom of the New York School painters and drawing on his experience in building and construction, di Suvero found the means to use steel in an expressive new way emphasizing scale, balance and public interaction. Unlike the canvases of the N.Y. School painters, di Suvero’s works have no limits; his monumental sculptures interact with the sky, the horizon, the environment and the observer. When he received the national Medal of the Arts and Humanities in 2011, he was lauded by President Barack Obama for “demonstrating the power of the arts to improve our world.”

Also on view are recent acquisitions from Fernando Botero. Due to his distinctive, voluminous style and extensive global exposure, Botero is probably the most recognizable of artists in the world today. Three paintings and three drawings from the artist’s personal collection are on view through Dec. 22.

Q. What are the advantages of working in La Jolla?

A. This gallery was planned for New York or East Hampton, but Helen, my wife, who was from California, thought La Jolla was a much better locale in which to raise our family. And when it came to family matters, I always listened to my wife.

Tasende Gallery is at 820 Prospect St., La Jolla. For more information, call (858) 454-3691, email or visit

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