Rusty Quarters closes, city’s oldest gallery moving in at Lake & Bryant

It didn’t take long to fill Rusty Quarters’ space on Lake Street — Douglas Flanders & Associates Fine Art Gallery is moving from a block away, with an opening scheduled for early 2014.

Douglas Flanders said he’s moving to take advantage of more space for the same rent he’s paying now. Flanders has been in business for 41 years, and said he has the oldest gallery in the Twin Cities. His first show in 1972 displayed Georgia O’Keefe paintings. He still carries big-name artists like Monet and Picasso, but Flanders said he’s also worked with hundreds of local artists.

“A lot of our early clients now are in their 80s,” Flanders said. “Many are selling off collections they bought from us 30 or 40 years ago. … It’s fun to see those things back on the market again.”

When he opened the gallery, a portfolio of 10 framed Marilyn prints by Andy Warhol sold for $2,500. Now one print might individually fetch $100,000-$200,000.

The master paintings aren’t stored on Lake Street, however — they’re in individual homes or secured warehouses.

Flanders said that in today’s economy, museums are the primary art buyers. He recently made sales to museums in Philadelphia, Cleveland and Houston. Flanders promises that with his museum contacts, he can sell paintings for better prices than Christie’s — and he takes a lower commission.

Rusty Quarters closed Nov. 7 at 818 W. Lake St.

“We fought as long as we could but due to lack of admission/sales we have no other alternative but to close,” stated the owners on Facebook.

The closure came despite crowdfunding more than $8,000 last May to pay back rent and keep the doors open. At the time, the owners said they were struggling with high rent and a drastic attendance drop, due in part to the weather and due in part to a new Downtown arcade.

“[Perhaps] the novelty of bringing a retro video arcade back to life has just faded by way of the dinosaur,” the owners said at the time.