Gavin Spanierman: An aesthetic that spans 3 centuries
PRIOR TO JOINING FORCES WITH VETERAN AMERICAN DEALER, GERALD PETERS, GAVIN SPANIERMAN ENJOYED A TWENTY-YEAR HISTORY AS A DEALER IN AMERICAN ART OF THREE CENTURIES, INITIALLY IN A LEADING GALLERY AND SUBSEQUENTLY, IN 2009, WHEN HE FOUNDED GAVIN SPANIERMAN, LTD. HAVING WORKED AT ONE OF NEW YORK’S FOREMOST AMERICAN ART GALLERIES, GAVIN HAS PLACED SIGNIFICANT WORKS BY HUDSON RIVER SCHOOL AND AMERICAN IMPRESSIONIST ARTISTS IN THE FINEST PRIVATE COLLECTIONS AND MUSEUMS. AS AN EXPERT OF THIS PERIOD, HIS OWN GALLERY FOCUSED ON WORKS OF QUALITY AND RARITY IN THE FIELD OF AMERICAN ART FROM 1880 TO 1960 AND INCLUDED SUCH REVERED ARTISTS AS THOMAS WILMER DEWING, CHILDE HASSAM, EASTMAN JOHNSON, WILLARD METCALF, JOHN SINGER SARGENT, AND MANY OTHERS. THUS, IT IS PARTICULARLY INTERESTING TO EXPLORE WITH GAVIN THE AESTHETIC SENSIBILITY THAT HE APPRECIATES IN THE AREAS OF MODERN MASTERS AND CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN ARTISTS.
GAVIN, MANY GALLERIES THAT SPECIALIZE IN THE REPRESENTATIONAL AND FIGURAL WORK CHARACTERISTIC OF 19th AND EARLY 20th CENTURY ART TEND TO AUGMENT THEIR GALLERY EXHIBITIONS AND INVENTORY WITH CONTEMPORARY WORKS THAT FOLLOW THAT TRADITION. THAT POLICY TENDS TO IGNORE SOME OF THE MOST VITAL AREAS OF ART THAT HAVE EMERGED SINCE THE 1950s.
WITH THE CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS THAT YOU SHOWED AT GAVIN SPANIERMAN, LTD., YOU HAVE EMBRACED WORK THAT IS MORE ABSTRACT – HOW DO YOU ACCOUNT FOR THAT SHIFT FROM THE MORE CONVENTIONAL DIRECTION OF MOST GALLERIES THAT SPECIALIZE IN 19th AND 20th CENTURY ART?
The only way I can explain it is to say that I have a real passion for the abstract. I enjoy the expressive qualities of artists who explore the boundaries of working with different mediums and applications as well as how those same works engage me intellectually.
HOW DID YOU FIRST BECOME INTERESTED IN ART? DID YOU STUDY OR HAVE THE PRIVILEGE OF A HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE SINCE YOUR FAMILY WAS AN ESTABLISHED AND DOMINANT PRESENCE IN THE MARKET AND SCHOLARLY HISTORY OF AMERICAN ART?
I really stumbled into becoming an art dealer. My formal education was as a chef and restaurateur, but I stopped along the way to take a summer job working for my father and simply fell in love with the art.
YOU HAVE HAD THE PRIVILEGE AND OPPORTUNITY TO BE INVOLVED IN THE PLACEMENT OF GREAT WORKS OF ART TO IMPORTANT MUSEUM AND PRIVATE COLLECTIONS. WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES IN APPROACHING A PUBLIC INSTITUTION AND A PRIVATE COLLECTOR?
Yes, I have been very fortunate to work with some of the most wonderful museums in the field of American Art. Crystal Bridges, The Met, Boston Museum of Fine Art, Virginia Museum of Fine Art, LA County Museum of Art, the Dallas Museum of Art just to name a few. The primary difference between working with an institution and a collector is that museums generally take a few months to work through the process of making an acquisition. The Curator must decide if the work will fill a void in the collection. Then the curator seeks the approval of the director before presenting it to the acquisition committee.
Acquisition committees are made up of board members and staff of the museum. If the work meets with the approval of the acquisition committee, then the work is sent on approval to the museum, for the conservator to inspect to be sure the condition meets with the museum’s standards. Assuming the work meets all of the above criteria, there is a full board vote to determine if it will in fact be added to the museum’s collection.
So you see there are a lot of different personalities and opinions involved with working with a museum as opposed to working with private collectors.
IN OUR NEXT POST, GAVIN WILL INFORM US OF SOME OF THE MANY HIGHLIGHTS OF HIS PROFESSIONAL CAREER AND OF HIS FUTURE PLANS AS A PARTNER WITH GERALD PETERS OF GP GALLERY, NEW YORK.
THANK YOU FOR READING, YOUR QUESTIONS, AND COMMENTS.