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Home fire spares Amagansett art collection

Firefighters at scene of a fire at the

Firefighters at scene of a fire at the home of art dealer Larry Gagosian on Further Lane in Amagansett Tuesday night. (June 28, 2011)

A fire that authorities said was started by a smoldering plumber's soldering torch damaged the Amagansett home of art broker Larry Gagosian, but a collection of his famed artwork was spared, fire officials said.

Caretakers were at the home when the fire was first reported at 8:48 p.m. Tuesday, but there were no known injuries, officials said.

"There was no damage to any artwork," said a spokeswoman for Gagosian Gallery Inc. in an email. "The fire department was fantastic."

The fire started when plumbers repairing a water pipe behind a refrigerator in the kitchen of the home on Further Lane accidentally sparked a small fire inside the wall, fire officials said.

The plumbers tried to put out the fire with extinguishers, East Hampton Town Chief Fire Marshal David Browne said, but that failed and they called the Amagansett Fire Department, which quickly brought it under control.

Still the home has heavy smoke damage, estimated by Browne at "tens of thousands of dollars."

According to the website of the architect who built the home, Gwathmey Siegel and Associates in Manhattan, the enormous glass and metal ultramodern home sits on 7 acres of oceanfront property. It was built in 1983 and bought by Gagosian in 1990.

A recent profile of Gagosian in The Wall Street Journal called him "the most powerful art dealer in the world," selling about $1 billion of art a year. It said he represents "the estates and careers" of 77 famous dead and living artists, including Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti, Cy Twombly and Jeff Koons.

In addition to his gallery on Madison Avenue and several other New York City locations, Gagosian maintains galleries in London, Paris, Rome, Geneva, Athens and Hong Kong.

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