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Pure Art, Pure Food, Pure Fun

Art, food and fashion are three subjects David Maupin knows a thing or two about. The Bridgehampton resident not only owns galleries in NYC and Hong Kong, he’s also a seasoned foodie (he’s on the board of Edible Schoolyard NYC), and is married to W magazine Editor-in-Chief Stefano Tonchi. Clearly, style comes naturally to this jack-of-all-trades.

David Maupin (left) at his Bridgehampton home with his husband, Stefano Tonchi, and their 2-year-old twin daughters, Isabella and Maura

Jennifer Steinkamp’s “Daisy Bell” video installation is just one work exhibited at the Lehmann Maupin gallery on the Lower East Side

Maupin’s Hong Kong gallery opened with an exhibit of work by artist Lee Bul.

On a Sunday afternoon in mid-July, gallerist David Maupin, damp from a dip in the pool of his Bridgehampton home, is reciting his weekend grocery list.

It’s a litany of local farm stands and shops, a zigzagging gauntlet devised by a farm-to-table foodie: peaches from the Milk Pail in Water Mill, kale salad from Topping Rose House in Bridgehampton, blueberries and sweet corn from Pike Farms in Sagaponack, and a half-moon of Atlantic Mist from Bridgehampton’s Mecox Bay Dairy (Maupin is practically part of the Ludlow family who own the dairy, he says; plus, their cows graze across the street from his house).

The proximity of natural bounty has played prominently in the weekend life Maupin and his husband, W magazine editor Stefano Tonchi, who Maupin says can easily prepare dinner for 50 with the help of just one or two servers on cleanup duty.

That is, as long as he’s got the right ingredients.

“I’m a huge vegetable eater,” Maupin says. “We absolutely eat nutritious food at home. We believe in eating everything fresh, and avoiding processed food.”

The purist’s mantra can also be seen as a metaphor for Maupin’s 20-plus-year career in the art world. Lehmann Maupin, the gallery he founded in 1996 with partner Rachel Lehmann (after a seminal stint at Metro Pictures, with Chelsea pioneers Janelle Reiring and Helene Winer) has earned its reputation for discovering and showing promising talent on several continents, in media ranging from oil to acrylic to neon to reclaimed timber.

Known for being instrumental in the careers of many an award-winning artist, the gallery boasts a star-studded roster of both emerging and established talent, including Lee Bul, Tracey Emin, Mickalene Thomas, Gilbert & George, Angel Otero, Liu Wei, Mr., Teresita Fernandez and Ross Bleckner.

“Our goal is to give every artist we represent their first solo show,” says Maupin. Together, he and Lehmann, who met in Milan more than two decades ago, now own and run a trio of galleries located on the Lower East Side, in Chelsea and in Hong Kong’s Central District.

The Hong Kong gallery, housed inside the historic Pedder Building (“An original building in a valley of skyscrapers,” Maupin calls it), features interior architecture by Rem Koolhaas—who designed the Chelsea space as well—and opened with great fanfare this past March.

“Our plan was always to be global,” says the entrepreneur, “and Hong Kong gives us a base [near] the Middle East, Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, China, Korea, Taiwan, Australia and Japan.”

The evening prior to our pool encounter, the Parrish Art Museum held its annual Midsummer Party, with Maupin and Tonchi in attendance. At the party, which Maupin says made him “very proud” of the organization, he mingled with art-world denizens as well as residents of the Bridgehampton enclave he’s been a part of for 17 years. He moves fluidly in those worlds, often inviting guests to the dinners Tonchi prepares.

“It’s very important to connect with the art world and to have those bonds and common interests,” he says.

The dinners can also be occasions for entertaining some of Maupin’s mentors in the environmental and organic food movements—landscape designer Edwina von Gal, perhaps, or gourmet food merchant Anna Pump of Loaves & Fishes, who Maupin says is adept at dispensing nutrition advice. And, of course, given his husband’s line of work, it’s likely a few personalities from the fashion world attend as well.

Maupin traces his interest in food to his northern California upbringing and his time at UC Berkeley, located in the epicenter of Alice Waters’ “good food” movement. Since then he’s parlayed his passion into a seat on the board of Edible Schoolyard NYC, a nonprofit founded by Waters that partners with the city’s public schools to plant gardens and install classroom kitchens where children can learn about food and nutrition.

“I believe that, through education, we can address obesity and malnutrition and present children with choices and information about where food is coming from,” Maupin says.

When Maupin and Tonchi aren’t jetting off to Hong Kong or scoping out the runway at the Paris shows, they can be found at their one-story ranch, with its weathered cedar shakes and a sizable pool. It’s the second home the couple have bought from a friend, the previous one being a much-talked-about modern on Lumber Lane, not far away.

“We come here to decompress,” says Maupin. “We very rarely go out. This is our place to unwind.”

In that unwinding process, the couple’s daughters, towheaded 2-year-old twins Isabella and Maura, play starring roles. The family typically hits the beach in the morning and spends the afternoon by the pool or playing tennis, a sport Maupin got interested in 10 years ago when horseback riding became too time-consuming.

“As older fathers, we’re better time managers,” says Maupin, who married Tonchi in 2011 after dating for many years. “I want to be present. I’ve learned to manage my time better than I did when I was in my 20s.”

Roughly an hour after our pool chat, the girls wake up from a nap and, at a miniature table, snack quietly on fresh fruit straight from the grocery list. Then it’s time for a family portrait that no one feels compelled to overstyle.