Building an artist’s career, a commitment to private and public placement of the work

by leslierankowfinearts

CO-7030

I ADMIRE GALLERIES SUCH AS WINSTON WACHTER FINE ART: NEW YORK/SEATTLE, THAT SUPPORT NEW TALENT,  http://www.winstonwachter.com,    FOR THEIR ABILITY TO NURTURE THE ARTIST’S CAREER, AND COMMIT TO A  LONG-TERM ARCH OF ACCOMPLISHMENT, ARRANGING EXHIBITIONS IN OTHER GALLERIES AND  PLACING THE WORK IN EXCELLENT PRIVATE, PUBLIC AND CORPORATE COLLECTIONS.

WINSTON WACHTER EXCELS AT THIS DIFFICULT TASK.

THE GALLERY SYSTEM IS HIGHLY  COMPETITIVE.  MANY ARTISTS ARE GRADUATING FROM ART SCHOOLS EACH YEAR, OFTEN JUGGLING  ODD JOBS, SOME ART-RELATED, SOME  NOT,  HOPING TO CREATE A BODY OF WORK THAT IS WORTHY OF CRITICAL AND COMMERCIAL ATTENTION.  THEY HAVE THE ARDUOUS TASK OF SEEKING REPRESENTATION, CONNECTING WITH OTHER ARTISTS IN THE HOPE OF FINDING A “LEAD” TO A GALLERY THAT WOULD PLACE THEIR WORK IN A GROUP SHOW OR, EVEN BETTER, A SOLO EXHIBITION.  THEY ENLIST THE HELP OF FRIENDS AND FAMILY, COLLECTORS THAT ARE INTERESTED IN THEIR WORK, ANY AND EVERY POSSIBLE MEANS OF INTRODUCTION.

GALLERY REPRESENTATION WITHIN THE TRADITIONAL GALLERY SYSTEM IS, IN MY VIEW, A NECESSITY TO GAIN RECOGNITION, COMMERCIAL SUCCESS AND TO HAVE ONE’S WORK PLACED WITH SERIOUS PRIVATE COLLECTORS, IN MUSEUM COLLECTIONS AND GROUP EXHIBITIONS THAT GARNER CRITICAL RECOGNITION.

TODAY, CHRISTINE WILL ENRICH OUR KNOWLEDGE OF THE GALLERY SYSTEM BY SHARING HER EXPERIENCE IN BUILDING COLLECTIONS.

CHRISTINE, THANK YOU FOR YOUR EXPERT INPUT.

WHEN WORKING WITH A NEW COLLECTOR, WHAT ARE THE STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT FROM THE  INITIAL INTRODUCTION TO ESTABLISHING A COLLECTION?  HOW DOES THE COLLECTION EVOLVE IN TIME?  DOES IT TEND TO GO FROM WORKS BY MORE MODEST CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS FROM THE PRIMARY MARKET TO ESTABLISHED ARTISTS IN THE SECONDARY MARKET OR IS IT A MIX RIGHT FROM THE START?

Most of our clients start off with a budget in mind that does not necessarily reflect net worth but instead is a comfort zone. A study was recently done that shows people will happily spend large sums on a car or jewelry but when I comes to art, novices are very reticent. The general value of art is cultural and therefore clients can be slow to find a comfort zone leading them to often start out smaller than they could, monetarily speaking.

AS DEALERS AND ADVISORS, I THINK WE ALL HOPE TO SPARK A GENUINE INTEREST, IF NOT LIGHT A PASSIONATE COLLECTING FIRE, IN OUR CLIENTS.  CAN YOU TELL, INITIALLY, WHETHER SOMEONE HAS THE SPIRIT OF A COLLECTOR OR DOES IT EVOLVE OVER TIME? WHAT DO YOU DO TO REASSURE THE NEW COLLECTOR OF THE AESTHETIC AND MONETARY VALUE OF THESE PURCHASES, TO INSPIRE A REASON TO MAINTAIN AN INTEREST IN THE ART WORLD AND AN ACQUISITIVE SPIRIT?
In my experience, most clients develop the “collecting bug” over time. It is a process that begins with possibly purchasing one or two works but then can evolve into a greater passion. Particularly as the role of an advisor, I notice that the desire to hunt down the perfect piece typically comes from trial and error. Many times it will take a missed opportunity of purchasing a specific work for the collector to develop an urgency for pursuing other works in the future.I find the more challenging task is to encourage the collector to keep building their collection even once the physical art spaces in their home are occupied. You need to continue to nurture their passion as they pursue additional works. They may need to keep some works in storage as they rotate other pieces in and out of their homes.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MOST CHALLENGING EXPERIENCES YOU HAVE HAD AS A GALLERIST?  WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MOST GRATIFYING?

We recently completed a private commission installation by Andreas Kocks in a landmark Central Park West building. The work was installed as the centerpiece in a collector’s highly designed home. The home was designed by a very well-known architect who considered each wall a work of art. The Andreas Kocks work was installed on what was acknowledged as the architectural highlight of the space, therefore we needed to ensure that the artist, architect and client all worked together to achieve a successful piece. We had to navigate the egos and goals of both the artist and architect while satisfying the desires of the collectors. This long, involved process included flying the artist to New York twice, a year’s worth of preparatory drawings and many discussions back and forth between artist, architect and collector. In the end, the commissioned work was a fabulous addition to the collector’s unique home. All of the parties involved were extremely pleased with the integration of architecture and art.

Several years ago, the gallery worked together with Neiman Marcus and our artist, Peter Dayton. Neiman Marcus purchased a Peter Dayton painting and the rights for reproduction to create a marketing campaign. The image was reproduced on all of their merchandising materials, which made a huge  impact on Peter Dayton’s career, as the work was now seen by a global audience.

IT IS EXACTLY THAT KIND OF COMMITMENT AND DEDICATION WHICH I FIND SO IMPRESSIVE!

One of the most gratifying parts of working as a gallerist has been still working with the same business partner and friend for the better part of twenty years. I still find the job exhilarating and interesting. A continuing challenge is getting used to the cyclical  aspect of gallery life. One never quite gets used to the down turns.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE PLANS THAT YOU AND STACEY HAVE FOR THE FUTURE OF WINSTON WACHTER? HOW DO YOU SEE IT EVOLVING?  DO YOU SEE OPENING A THIRD SPACE OR ESTABLISHING A EUROPEAN OFFICE SINCE THAT SEEMS TO BE A TREND NOW IN OUR GLOBAL ART MARKET? WHAT ARE YOUR PRESENT AND FUTURE GOALS?

I think that Stacey and I are always looking to expand our horizons. Attaining a larger stable of artists , exploring new markets and art fairs, such as those in Asia, are all of interest. Our base would remain in New York and Seattle.

IN OUR NEXT BLOG, I HAVE THE PLEASURE TO SPEAKING WITH ANDY SCHOELKOPF.  ANDREW SCHOELKOPF IS A PARTNER WITH SUSAN MENCONI AT MENCONI & SCHOELKOPF FINE ART .  FOUNDED IN 2001, MENCONI & SCHOELKOPF OFFERS A WONDERFUL RANGE OF AMERICAN ART, FROM EARLY 19th CENTURY THROUGH  THE MID-20th.

IN CELEBRATION OF THE 100th YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THE ARMORY SHOW, ONE OF THE MOST SIGNIFICANT EVENTS IN THE HISTORY OF AMERICAN ART,  I AM VERY PLEASED THAT ANDY WILL SHARE HIS EXTENSIVE KNOWLEDGE OF THIS PERIOD AND THE AMERICAN ART MARKET.

I APPRECIATE ALL CONCERNS AND QUESTIONS AND LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR COMMENTS.

UNTIL THEN…