Establishing a contemporary collection of quality and value

by leslierankowfinearts

UKLAN 2012.0012

ART COLLECTING CAN BE A LIFE-LONG COMMITMENT, AN EXTRAORDINARY VISUAL AND INTELLECTUAL QUEST.  IT IS VERY REWARDING FOR ME, WHEN  INTRODUCED TO COLLECTORS WHO ARE JUST STARTING, TO SHARE IN THEIR ENTHUSIASM AT THEIR  DISCOVERY OF A WORLD THAT BRINGS ME A GREAT DEAL OF PLEASURE AND INTELLECTUAL CHALLENGE.  I TRY TO EMPLOY BOTH MY EXPERIENCE AND MY INTUITIVE SKILLS IN DEFINING  THEIR AESTHETIC  TASTE AND NUANCES WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF A PARTICULAR PErIOD AND NOT ONLY  PRESENT SOME ARTISTS WHO ARE FAMILIAR TO US ALL BUT ALSO TO EXTEND AND EXPAND THEIR KNOWLEDGE AND HORIZONS.  I LIKE TO LAYER COLLECTIONS WITH WORKS IN DIFFERENT MEDIUMS AND OF DIFFERENT PERIODS BY THE SAME ARTIST AND, AT TIMES, TO CREATE A CHRONOLOGICAL  ARCH WITH ESTABLISHED ARTISTS WHO INFLUENCE AND TRANSFORM THE WORK OF YOUNGER CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS.

I AM SO PLEASED  THAT DIANE HAS AGREED TO  SHARE WITH US  HER AND HER HUSBAND’S PERSONAL EXPERIENCES AS RELATIVELY NEW COLLECTORS.  TODAY, WE WILL CONTINUE TO INVESTIGATE THE CRITERIA THAT THEY HAVE ESTABLISHED IN TERMS OF COLLECTING AND TO ANTICIPATE WHAT DIRECTION THEIR COLLECTING WILL TAKE.

DIANE, THANKS SO MUCH FOR TAKING THE TIME TO ANSWER THE  QUESTIONS IN THIS BLOG SO THOUGHTFULLY.

WHEN YOU AND BILL BOTH LOOK AT WORKS, EITHER AS JPEGS, OR IN PERSON, CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE THINKING AND DECISION-MAKING PROCESS THAT LEADS YOU TO SELECTING ONE WORK OVER ANOTHER?

I really believe that we allow ourselves to react to things that we enjoy seeing.  It seems simplistic, but it has proven to work well.  Also, going to the art shows and the auctions has given me a very good sense for established artists, and also for me to be able to more clearly understand which works I really like coupled with artists that  are successful.

DO YOU HAVE INVESTMENT GOALS IN MIND WITH RESPECT TO THE COLLECTION? WHAT ARE YOUR PRIORITIES IN TERMS OF BUILDING A COLLECTION? DO YOU SEE THIS, AS I DO, AS A LIFE-LONG AREA OF EXPRESSION IN WHICH WE CAN REFINE, UPGRADE AND ADD TO THE EXISTING WORKS AS NEW ARTISTS EMERGE AND KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE GROW?

No doubt, we have invested in the art in the hope that the collection will gain in value over time, however we have chosen art that we like, so if for some reason that is not the case we still have a body of work that we love.  I certainly hope that we will be in the position to keep up this collection and expand it.  Certainly I would like to be in a position of seeing artists emerge and see their careers prosper.

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DO YOU HAVE ANY AMBITION TO “GO BACK IN TIME” AND ADD MODERN MASTERS TO THE COLLECTION TO CREATE A DEEPER CHRONOLOGICAL ARC OR (AS IS MY THINKING AT PRESENT), DO YOU PREFER TO MOVE FORWARD, TO ENRICH THE COLLECTION WITH ARTISTS OF EQUAL NOTE AS WELL AS NEW EMERGING ARTISTS IN THE FUTURE?

I would certainly not rule out “going back in time”, but as I said above, we would find having a collection that would focus on contemporary artists very satisfying.

SOMETIMES, IN OTHER INSTANCES, COUPLES WHO COLLECT DON’T ALWAYS RESPOND TO THE SAME WORKS? ONE COUPLE “TRADE OFF” AND SOMETIMES ONE LIKES A WORK MORE THAN THE OTHER BUT DEFERS.  DO YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND TEND TO GRAVITATE TO THE SAME ARTISTS AND SAME SUBJECTS?

We do a little of both. Often we both love the same works, and then it is a solid win for us.  Sometimes one of reacts more strongly to a work.  Usually if one of us strongly doesn’t like a work, we don’t purchase it.\

I KNOW YOU BOTH HAVE SUCH DEMANDING AND SCHEDULED LIVES, FAMILY RESPONSIBILITIES AND CHARITABLE COMMITMENTS, I AM ALWAYS GRATEFUL THAT YOU DEDICATE THE TIME THAT YOU DO.

NOW HERE’S A TOUGH ONE, BUT MY WARRIOR SPIRIT PREVAILS… WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE VIRTUES OF WORKING WITH AN ART ADVISOR? ARE THERE ANY DOWNSIDES TO DOING SO? WHAT COULD I PROVIDE, AS YOUR ADVISOR, THAT WOULD MAKE THE EXPERIENCE EASIER OR BETTER?

I don’t see this as a tough question. I see you as the third leg in our art relationship.  Sometimes we see something in an auction catalog that we like, but you advise us against it. Sometimes you bring things to us that doesn’t speak to us.  I think that the relationship works because of our frankness with each other.

The virtues are that you have an expertise that we could never hope to achieve, a vision for our collection.   We are comfortable with both of those, and they provide a support for the collecting that we couldn’t and wouldn’t do on our own.  It gives us a level of comfort in making decisions that we couldn’t do on our own.  One example is choosing a lesser work of a very famous artist.  The expertise is both historical understanding of art, detailed understanding of current arts and the emerging art world.

I APPRECIATE SO MUCH THE CONFIDENCE YOU HAVE IN ME AND OUR WORKING RELATIONSHIP. THANK YOU.

FOR THE MOST PART, THE WORKS IN THE COLLECTION ARE ABSTRACT IN STYLE AND THE WORKS YOU HAD PURCHASED PRIOR TO OUR INTRODUCTION WERE ALSO ABSTRACT? DO YOU TEND TO SHY AWAY FROM FIGURAL PAINTING AND SUBJECT MATTER OR, GIVEN THE TIMES IN WHICH WE ARE CURRENTLY COLLECTING, SIMPLY SEE MORE ABSTRACT WORKS FROM WHICH TO CHOOSE?

IF YOU AND BILL COULD HAVE ANY ARTIST OR SPECIFIC WORK OF ART IN THE COLLECTION THAT WE HAVEN’T YET ACQUIRED, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

I think this relates to the questions above- I think the modern/ contemporary aesthetic appeals to us in general.  We like things that are beautiful in their simplicity.  I do also love older paintings (the landscapes as an example) and wouldn’t just by definition rule it out.

My original art love is Chagall. I saw his stained glass windows in a church in Mainz and absolutely fell in love with them.  That would be it for me.  Even a little one—but of course, Leslie, a good one!

NEXT WORK, I LOOK FORWARD TO INTRODUCING YOU TO CHRISTINE WACHTER-COLLEAGUE AND FRIEND, AND FOUNDER AND PARTNER IN WINSTON WACHTER FINE ART, LOCATED BOTH IN CHELSEA IN NEW YORK AND IN SEATTLE, WASHINGTON.  CHRISTINE HEADS THE NEW YORK GALLERY AND HER BUSINESS PARTNER, STACEY WINSTON, FOUNDED THE SEATTLE “BRANCH” WHEN SHE RELOCATED THERE.  IT HAS BEEN SUCH A PLEASURE FOR ME TO KNOW THEM BOTH – AND I REMEMBER THEIR FIRST JOINT VENTURE, AN ELEGANT, SMALLER SPACE ON THE UPPER EAST SIDE.  CHRISTINE BRINGS A GREAT GALLERY EXPERIENCE TO THE FRAY AND STACEY HAD A GREAT TALENT FOR CREATING FIRST-TIER COLLECTIONS FOR INDIVIDUAL CLIENTS. TOGETHER, THEY ARE A WONDERFUL TEAM AND I LOOK FORWARD TO LEARNING AND SHARING THE CHALLENGES AND REWARDS OF ESTABLISHING A GALLERY FOR EMERGING AND MORE ESTABLISHED CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS.

I WOULD WELCOME QUESTIONS TO POSE TO CHRISTINE ABOUT THE CONTEMPORARY GALLERY WORLD, FROM ARTISTS AND COLLECTORS ALIKE. FIRE AWAY!

AND THANK YOU ALL FOR FOLLOWING THIS BLOG.