Forty years ago, Jose Tasende had his eye on a sculptural park in East Hampton on Long Island. He wanted a location for his international gallery, and since he already held a prominent presence in New York, it seemed like a good fit.
But his wife, Helen Tasende, had other plans. With a little persistence, she convinced him that a small beachside town across the country in southern California should be their home. So on June 1, 1979, he opened Tasende Gallery in La Jolla at 820 Prospect St., — and never looked back.
"I do everything my wife says," he said with a smile. "'It's one of the conditions to remain married."
Sadly, Helen Tasende died in 2010, but thanks to her persuasion Tasende Gallery has grown to become a staple in La 'Jolla's artistic community. The 'gallery's doors first opened to feature famous sculptors like Giacomo Manzù and Henry Moore, whose semi-abstract bronze sculptures would later be installed at La Jolla Cove and the Salk Institute.
Tasende also brought attention to ground breaking painters like Matta, Helen Frankenthaler, Lee Krasner, Richard Pousette-Dart and Wayne Thiebaud. He's celebrating his gallery's 40th-anniversary with an exhibit featuring the artists who best represented the past four decades: Henry Moore, Giacomo Manzù, Eduardo Chillida, Matta, Wayne Thiebaud, Lynn Chadwick, Fernando Botero, Jose Luis Cuevas, Mark di Suvero, and Niki de Saint Phalle.
When asked why he thinks he has continued to be successful after all these years, Tasende credits his ability to do things differently.
"I swim against the current," he said.
Tasende Gallery director Mary Beth Petersen has a different idea.
"It's his personality," she said. "He's very personable."
Tasende Gallery's 40th-anniversary exhibition is currently up. Stop by from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday or from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. For more information about the gallery, visit tasendegallery.com.