Leslie Rankow Fine Arts

INTERNATIONAL ART ADVISORY SERVICE

Salthaus, an ancient therapy in a modern format, with co-founder Amber Berger

Stefanie and Amber
Co-Founders Salthaus

THE CALMING AND DETOXIFYING EFFECTS OF HALOTHERAPY CAN SUPPORT THE IMMUNE, NERVOUS AND LYMPHATIC SYSTEMS. ADDITIONAL BENEFITS ARE REDUCED STRESS AND HEADACHES, INCREASED ENERGY, AND BETTER SLEEP PATTERNS. SALT IONS PURIFY THE AIR AND MAY INCREASE LUNG CAPACITY AND REDUCE PHYSICAL AILMENTS FOR ADULTS, CHILDREN AND ATHLETES. TREATMENTS ARE RECOMMENDED TO HELP KEEP THE BODY HEALTHY DURING FLU OR ALLERGY SEASONS.

an excerpt from an article by Steven Novella on June 13, 2018

INTRODUCED TO THE LRFA BLOG BY AMBER BERGER, HALOTHERAPY HAS BEEN IN EXISTENCE SINCE ANCIENT GREEK TIMES BUT WAS A COMPLETELY NEW WELLNESS CONCEPT TO ME UNTIL AMBER OPENED AN IMPECCABLY SMART, INVITING AND BEAUTIFULLY CONCEIVED SPACE CALLED SALTHAUS ON LEXINGTON AVENUE BETWEEN 81 & 82 STREET, HOPEFULLY, THE FIRST OF MANY. IT WAS INSTANTLY POPULAR WITH ADULTS AS WELL AS CHILDREN, A GATHERING PLACE FOR FRIENDS AND FAMILY, ONE OF THE SALT ROOMS DESIGNED AS A WONDERFUL PLAY ROOM TO FURTHER ONE OF AMBER’S STRONGEST GOALS, THE WELL-BEING OF HER CHILDREN AND ALL CHILDREN, TEACHING THEM SELF-CARE AND WELLNESS FROM AN EARLY AGE. AMBER AND HER BUSINESS PARTNER, STEFANIE,  CONTINUALLY ORGANIZE SPECIAL EVENTS AT SALTHAUS TO KEEP THEIR CLIENT BASE COMING BACK FOR MORE – MEDITATION CLASSES IN THE HALOTHERAPY ROOMS, SOUND HEALING, TAROT, MASSAGE, JUST TO NAME A FEW.

SALTHAUS
1220 Lexington Avenue
New York City

AN ENTERPRENEURIAL SPIRIT ALWAYS ACCEPTS AND WELCOMES A NEW CHALLENGE. THE LRFA BLOG IS HONORED TO HAVE AMBER SHARE HERS WITH US.

AMBER, WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST BUSINESS VENTURE AND WHERE DID IT LEAD?

I first launched a jewelry business called 27 Facets with a friend when I was 26 while working as a buyer for Henri Bendel. We created the business while both working full time jobs and after 6 months, left our jobs to take on the business full time.  This later led me to consulting for a start-up called Hautelook.com (which later sold to Nordstroms) where I ended up working for three years while launching a jewelry concierge concept called Astarr on the side.

Salthaus
Sound healing

WHAT PROMPTED YOUR SHIFT FROM JEWELRY CONSULTANT TO CO-FOUNDER OF SALTHAUS?

I started my jewelry business to help people get the most for their budget on special occasion gifts from engagements to birthdays. I loved creating special moments for my clients while offering transparency on pricing so I could source the perfect gem for each client. With the industry shifting to instagram/you tube channels I was not interested in taking the business to the next level in order to stay relevant. I am always up for a challenge and wanted to break out to try something new that led me to create Salthaus. 

Meditation and Halotherapy at Salthaus

HOW DID YOU MAKE A DECISION TO OPEN SALTHAUS?

Wellness has been a part of my lifestyle since I was 15. I did not realize how much valuable information I inherently knew until I became a mother and I started to become the go-to person on what to take naturally when trying to recover from a cold etc. The jewelry industry was changing and was no longer inspiring to me so I knew I needed a change. I wanted to shift my focus to the other part of me which was holistic and all about wellness. I was trying out everything in the wellness market, which led me to Halotherapy. The benefits were profound and there were limited resources available to receive the 100% natural treatment. I saw an opportunity to modernize the treatment and bring greater awareness to this incredible treatment, which mimics the microclimate of natural salt caves that exist in eastern Europe.

Salthaus entrance
1220 Lexington Avenue, NYC

 

HOW DID YOU FIND OUT ABOUT SALT ROOMS INITIALLY?

I had been hearing about Halotherapy from friends in Florida. I happened to be visiting family with my husband who had a winter cough that would not go away. It was perfect timing to try out this treatment and after one session, his cough cleared. We were both taken aback and it was a light bulb moment for me that this was something special and more people needed to know about it. In the months that followed, the social wellness concept started to pour out of me.

Halotherapy Room
Salthaus

WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF SALT THERAPY ALSO REFERRED TO AS HALOTHERAPY?

The use of salt as a health remedy has been around since the Greeks, when Hippocrates recommended salt inhalation as a respiratory treatment. In 1843, Polish physician Felix Boczkowski discovered that men working in the salt mines at Wieliczka suffered fewer respiratory problems than the general population. As the workers were mining the salt, micro-sized salt particles were being disbursed into the air. Additionally there were ideal conditions below the Earth’s surface where air pressure and circulation, and humidity and temperature affected the quality of the environment. In this environment, miners were receiving many natural health benefits by breathing in the salt particles. Considering that mining jobs were usually recognized as dangerous to life and health, salt miners seemed to thrive on good health. They rarely had any respiratory issues and also looked younger due to great skin appearance.

In 1964 the world’s first facility of its kind, the underground “Kinga” Allergy Treatment Spa, was created in the “Wieliczka” Salt Mine in Poland, focused on helping people with mostly respiratory conditions as well as exploring other overall health benefits proven to be successful and spreading to neighboring salt mines and caves in Europe as well as to former Soviet Union states. In 1968, the first speleo-hospital was opened in the Solotvyno salt mine in Ukraine.

Salthaus

Having the attention from the medical community, the need for more convenient access became a necessity, in order to conduct specific studies and do more specific research. In 1985 in Odessa, Russia, the Institute of Balneology, in collaboration with the salt cavers from Uzhgorod, developed the first Halotherapy device. This was a device that was replicating the grinding and crushing of salt that would disperse the particles into the air. One could say that Halotherapy was “born” in the medical environment, in former Soviet Union. After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the knowledge of the halotechnology and established Halotherapy protocols became accessible to the rest of the world. Soon Halotherapy claimed its place in more commercial and wellness settings outside of the USSR in Eastern and Western Europe, Canada, Australia and finally the United States.

Get Salty
Salthaus

IN OUR NEXT LRFA POST, WE WILL LEARN AMBER’S PLANS FOR  SALTHAUS. PLEASE BE SURE TO JOIN US.

Amber Berger, the profile of a young collector

AMBER BERGER, CO-FOUNDER OF SALTHAUS, AND HER HUSBAND CAME TO NEW YORK TO ENJOY THE ENERGY AND OPPORTUNITY THAT THE CITY CAN OFFER. ONE OF ITS GREAT DELIGHTS IS THE WEALTH OF ART THAT IS AVAILABLE TO VIEW AND TO ENJOY, ON EVERY LEVEL, FROM MASTERPIECES IN OUR NUMEROUS MUSEUMS TO ART FAIRS AND STREET FAIRS, ESTABLISHED GALLERIES AND EMERGING ONES.  THE LRFA BLOG IS ALWAYS INTERESTED IN UNDERSTANDING WHAT AND WHY PEOPLE COLLECT AND AMBER HAS OFFERED TO SHARE HER PERSPECTIVE AND POINT OF VIEW IN TODAY’S LRFA BLOG.

AMBER, WELCOME BACK!

WHEN DID YOU FIRST DEVELOP AN INTEREST IN ART? DID YOU VISIT MUSEUMS AND/OR GALLERIES GROWING UP, WITH YOUR PARENTS? WERE THEY COLLECTORS?

My mother is a fine artist so art has been a big part of my life since I was young. I grew up biking with her around the neighborhood and watching her paint nature scenes. We always went to museums in our own city as well as any city we visited.  I loved learning about the different techniques and have always admired oil on canvas, the texture just speaks to me.

Daniel Dens

WHAT PROMPTED YOUR FIRST PURCHASE AND WHAT WAS IT?

My husband and I bought an apartment together before we got married which began our personal interest in art. Living in the NYC there are so many incredible galleries, museums and art fairs to attend that helped us get a sense of what style we liked. Walking on the city streets, street art was our first love.  My husband could not get this one artist out of his mind that he saw in Soho on the street years ago so when we were ready to purchase art for our apartment we tracked him down, named Daniel Dens, and went to his loft in Williamsburg. It was a memorable experience going through rolls of art in his studio until we found the perfect one. It was a blue painting of Bridget Bardot with bright yellow writing on top that said “Merci beau-coup, Ciao I’ll call you later.”

WHO ARE THE OTHER ARTISTS YOU COLLECT?

Craig Allen, Julien Vos Andres, Jonas Sunset, Jonathan Robles, Curtis Kulig, Tanc, Bob Taber, Ole Aakjaer

Craig Allen

HOW IMPORTANT IS THE POTENTIAL INVESTMENT VALUE OF A WORK TO YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND?

We mainly go with our intuition, interested in pieces that move us and evoke a sense of emotion. Of course, we check with friends who are our advisors to make sure we are not making a poor investment but as young collectors we are not as concerned about the potential investment if it made us feel something.

HOW WOULD YOU CHARACTERIZE THE STYLE OR GENRE OF WORK THAT YOU HAVE ACQUIRED SO FAR AND WHAT DIRECTION ARE YOUR PURCHASES TAKING?

We love emerging artists usually in modern art and landscape photography. We have been into street art since the beginning and it has been amazing to watch how much that market has exploded over the last 10+ years.

Tanc

DO YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND AGREE ON YOUR PURCHASES? DO YOU NEED TO OR IS IT COLLECTING DRIVEN BY ONE OF YOU MORE THAN ANOTHER?

My husband and I luckily have very similar tastes so it has not been an issue to date. He actually has a great eye for art and we bounce ideas off each other all the time. We never set out to purchase art, it usually just happens when we come across a piece we want to bring into our home.

HOW DO YOU FEEL THAT YOUR KNOWLEDGE AND LOVE OF THE CRAFT OF JEWELRY HAS INFLUENCED YOUR TASTE IN ART?

Both industries involve craftsmanship so I truly treasure the fine details and understand that even when something may appear easy and simple, it is usually just the opposite.

WHO ARE SOME OF THE ESTABLISHED ARTISTS THAT YOU PARTICULARLY ADMIRE AND WISH YOU COULD COLLECT?

I love color so Jackson Pollack always brightens my day and butterflies are symbolic for my family so I have a natural soft spot for Damien Hirst. As for more recent artist I have been watching RETNA for years and still kick myself for not purchasing it years ago when he first came on the scene.

Curtis Kulig

DO YOU INTEND TO CONCENTRATE ON EMERGING ARTISTS AND HAVE THE FUN OF SEEING WHICH OF THE ARTISTS YOU’VE PICKED BECOME ESTABLISHED?

Yes I think that is my passion. We love watching people rise into stars so tracking the artists we have purchased or admire and watching where they land is a thrill.

THE THRILL OF THE CHASE AND OF THE HUNT AND THE REWARD OF HAVING A GOOD EYE ARE INTEGRAL TO THE HEART AND MIND OF EVERY COLLECTOR WITH WHOM I SPEAK. IT IS GREAT THAT YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND HAVE THIS SHARED PASSION AND CAN EXPLORE THE ART MARKET, GALLERIES AND MUSEUMS BOTH HERE IN NEW YORK AND WHEN YOU TRAVEL.

IN OUR NEXT LRFA BLOG POST, THE LRFA BLOG WILL FEATURE SALTHAUS, THE REMARKABLE HALOTHERAPY CENTER THAT AMBER FOUNDED JUST OVER A YEAR AGO. IT IS AN OASIS OF WELL-BEING AND THOUGHTFULLY DESIGNED, IMPECCABLY DETAILED AND AN UNEXPECTEDLY WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE. I WENT WHEN IT OPENED JUST AS A SIGN OF SUPPORT AND I WAS ASTONISHED AT HOW EFFECTIVE IT IS AND HOW RELAXING AND SEDUCTIVE AN EXPERIENCE!

https://www.salthausny.com/

UNTIL THEN!

 

Introducing Amber Berger, founder of Salthaus, wife, mom, entrepreneur, collector

Amber Berger,
Entrepreneur, wife, mom,
contemporary collector

AMBER BERGER IS A YOUNG UPPER EAST SIDE WIFE, MOTHER AND BUSINESS ENTREPRENEUR. SHE AND HER HUSBAND ASKED FOR GUIDANCE A FEW YEARS AGO WHEN THEY DECIDED TO START TO COLLECT EMERGING ARTISTS AND I RECOMMENDED A GOOD FRIEND AND EX-GAGOSIAN DIRECTOR, CHARLIE MANZO. SHE LAUNCHED HER FIRST BUSINESS AS A FINE JEWELRY CONSULTANT WHEN SHE CAME TO NEW YORK AND HER CURRENT BUSINESS  LAST YEAR, A GEM OF A SPACE CALLED SALTHAUS, A MODERN SALT ROOM ON LEXINGTON AVENUE AT 83RDSTREET, THAT REFLECTS HER INNOVATIVE SPIRIT AND COMMITMENT TO WELLNESS FOR EVERYONE OF ANY AGE.

https://www.salthausny.com/

THE LRFA BLOG HAS LONG ADMIRED AMBER’S TASTE, HER WARM AND APPROACHABLE NATURE, HER DEDICATION AND DELIGHT IN HER YOUNG CHILDREN AND HER MARKETING AND BRANDING SKILLS. TO DATE, SALTHAUS HAS RECEIVED A VERY HEALTHY AMOUNT OF PRESS, PODCAST AND PRINT INTERVIEWS. AMBER  REPRESENTS THE PROFILE OF AN INDEPENDENT AND CONTEMPORARY ENTREPRENEUR AND COLLECTOR WHO BALANCES HER PROFESSIONAL LIFE WITH A DEEP ENGAGEMENT WITH HER FAMILY AND FRIENDS.

THE LRFA BLOG IS PLEASED THAT SHE HAS AGREED TO CONTRIBUTE HER PERSPECTIVE. AMBER, WELCOME. YOU HAVE SO MUCH TO JUGGLE. I AM VERY PLEASED YOU HAVE AGREED TO TAKE THE TIME TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE LRFA BLOG.

 

WHAT IS YOUR PERSONAL BACKGROUND? WHERE DID YOU GROW UP AND WHAT WERE YOUR PRIORITIES AT THAT TIME?

I grew up in Miami Beach, Florida and always lived a very active lifestyle. I get my energy from my parents who have always been avid tennis players. I feel my best when being physically active from swimming to biking to dance and was a competitive dancer as a child. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease at 15 which turned out to be the biggest blessing in my life.  While managing a disease as a child was definitely challenging, it taught me to be resilient and not give up. I took a non-traditional approach to wellness, going all-natural against doctors orders, and healed myself through the power of food. It was transformational for me and my families, learning about the power of food along with self-care practices. There are so many people in our lives we have helped thanks to the education we gained due to my illness.

Astarr Jewelry Concierge

WHERE DID YOU ATTEND SCHOOL AND WHAT DID YOU MAJOR IN?

I attended the University of Florida, majored in Finance with a minor in Economics.

WHAT WERE YOUR FIRST PROFESSIONAL INTERESTS AND EMPLOYMENT?

I grew up in a family jewelry business called Mayer’s. They manufactured high and low end fine jewelry so jewelry was definitely my first love when it came to work. I worked on all sides of the business from design to sales and was always interested in creating something and then selling it to retailers.

WHEN DID YOU MOVE TO NEW YORK AND WHY?

I moved to NYC right after college, as I was enamored with city living.  New York’s energy and work ethic was palpable to me since I was young and I could not wait to live it.

AMBER’S FIRST COMPANY WAS FEATURED IN 2011 IN A POST BY TARYNTHEWIFE THAT DESCRIBES THE THOUGHTFUL AND ALL-INCLUSIVE SERVICE AMBER HAS ALWAYS PROVIDED HER CLIENTELE IN EACH OF HER COMPANIES.

ASTARR JEWELRY CONCIERGE

AMBER BERGER, FOUNDER

For any busy wife who runs a household or holds down a career and a household could certainly use the services of Astarr to make your life easier.  Astarr is executive jewelry concierge service… Think of them as personal shoppers, they can provide you with the utmost service, personalized selection and unmatched value. Astarr can satisfy each client’s desire from bespoke jewels to engagement rings, wedding bands, designer watches, and other exquisite gifts for Bridal Parties, Anniversary, and Push Presents. No request is too demanding, as their goal is to leave no wish unfulfilled.

Conveniences:

  • Customize ‐ Fine Jewelry, Designer Watches and Costume Jewelry
  • Bespoke ‐ Bridal Salon
  • Monetize ‐ Fine Jewelry & Watch Resale
  • Refresh ‐ Jewelry & Watch Repair
  • Borrow ‐ Jewels on Loan Program
  • Value ‐ Discrete Appraisals
  • Package ‐ Complimentary Gift Wrapping

As a full service personal Jeweler, Astarr  aims to exceed every customers’ expectations when it comes to some of life’s most memorable moments captured by the gifting of jewelry. With unique style, invaluable experience and an impeccable reputation, take comfort in trusting the AStarr team to handle everything. The Husband should also add Astarr to his rolodex for special occasions! 

PLEASE JOIN US IN THE NEXT LRFA BLOG POST TO SEE AMBER’S PROFESSIONAL AND PERSONAL PRESENCE IN NEW YORK, ABSOLUTELY CAPTURING THE WORK ETHIC AND ENERGY THAT CHARACTERIZE THIS CITY!

 

Timothy Macdonald, CEO of Timothy Macdonald Incorporated, today and tomorrow

TIMOTHY MACDONALD INCORPORATED
Artworks by Carmen Herrera and Jason Martin

MANY DESIGNERS HAVE AESTHETIC CRITERIA THAT EMBODY THEIR VISION OF DESIGN. ONE IMPORTANT 20th CENTURY INFLUENCE ON TIMOTHY MACDONALD WAS THE EXCEPTIONAL FRENCH MODERNIST DESIGNER AND FURNITURE MAKER, JEAN-MICHEL FRANK.

Jean-Michel Frank

Jean-Michel Frank was not a minimalist. This statement will shock admirers who view the most influential designer of the 1930s as the maître of understatement: walls of rye-straw marquetry, sofas of creamy glove leather, screens dressed in mica. But as enduring as those hallmarks remain, echoed by designers from Jacques Grange to the late Jed Johnson, Frank was surprisingly multidimensional.

To study Frank interiors published between 1928 and 1941—when the forty-six-year-old designer jumped from a Manhattan building, a refugee desolated by the Nazi occupation of France and a love affair gone awry—is to be amazed by his confectionary palette and catholic furnishings. “White was his favorite color,” says the designer’s niece, Alice, who recalls her uncle’s apartment at 7 rue de Verneuil as a suave composition of travertine, sanded oak, vellum and blanched leather. But the rooms of his clients embraced the glitter of Boulle as well as the glamour of the silver screen.

Axel Vervoordt

TODAY, THE LRFA BLOG IS DELIGHTED TO WELCOME BACK TIM MACDONALD. TIMOTHY MACDONALD INCORPORATED IS A LONG ESTABLISHED RESIDENTIAL DESIGN FIRM BASED IN NEW YORK THAT HAS REALIZED SUCCESSFUL PROJECTS IN AMERICA, SOUTH AMERICA AND EUROPE FOR A GENERATION OF CONTENTED CLIENTS WHOSE CHILDREN RETAIN HIS DESIGN SERVICES NOW AS WELL.

HIS PHILOSOPHY EMBRACES THE AESTHETICS OF THE DESIGNERS HE ADMIRES SUCH AS JEAN-MICHEL FRANK AND AXEL VERVOORDT AND OF THOSE WITH WHOM HE WORKED, ANGELO DONGHIA AND VAL ARNOLD. THE FIRM DOES NOT OFFER A  “MACDONALD LOOK” BUT RATHER REALIZES A PROJECT THAT BEST SERVES THE CLIENT AND ARCHITECT AND FULFILLS THE FIRM’S DEDICATION TO QUALITY.

TIMOTHY MACDONALD INCORPORATED
Artwork by Thomas Scheibitz, Ursula Von Rydingsvard, Dale Chihuly

 

TIM, WHAT ARE THE ESSENTIALS FOR RUNNING AN EFFICIENT FIRM? THERE ARE DESIGNERS WITH TALENT BUT WHO NEVER MEET A DEADLINE OR STAY WTIHIN A BUDGET. HOW DO YOU ALWAYS MANAGE TO DO BOTH?

When working out of town, or out of the country, a “team” becomes more important than ever. A good, professional general contractor is essential to keeping the project on track in terms of cost, time and quality. We rely on the contractor to identify the best local craftsmen and artisans. The architect is also a key player. Often the architect has already worked with the contractor or in the area, so they are always critical to a good result.

Recently, we have been doing an unusual amount of work out of town; in Florida (both coasts and in the middle), Arizona, Nassau and the Caribbean.

DO YOU HAVE A GENERAL CLIENT PROFILE? DO MOST OF YOUR CLIENTS COME FROM THE WORLDS OF REAL ESTATE, FINANCE, POLITICS?

Many of my early clients followed me from Donghia and today I would say most of my clients are from the world of finance. For several years, I have begun working for the children of my clients. In one case I finished a loft in Chelsea for a lovely young woman, who was so pleased with the results, she referred me to her parents who have engaged me to help with their country home and two apartments in New York City.

TIMOTHY MACDONALD INCORPORATED
Commissioned artwork by Teresita Fernandez

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE PROJECTS THAT INCLUDE GREAT ART COLLECTIONS THAT CLIENTS BROUGHT WITH THEM?

Nearly all of my clients have an appreciation for art. It makes sense that if one is interested in interior design, they would be interested in how art fits into the completion of the interior design. Some clients arrive with little art and a thirst to learn and create a collection.

HOW DID YOU INTEGRATE THE ART INTO THE CONTEXT OF THE DESIGN AND ARCHITECTURE? DID THE ART COME FIRST AND YOU CREATED A BEAUTIFUL BACKDROP OR VICE VERSA?

I am lucky to have several who already had assembled collections and we had the great pleasure of designing the interiors with an eye towards creating a suitable background for their art. We will sometimes print elevation drawings of each space with the art shown on the wall, in color and to scale. This is also very helpful when designing the appropriate lighting for an important collection.

TIMOTHY MACDONALD INCORPORATED
Tribeca Loft 
Photo by Hiroshi Sugimoto

WHO ARE SOME OF THE DESIGNERS OF THE PAST THAT YOU INSPIRE YOUR WORK THE MOST?

I have always had an affinity for the work of Jean Michel Frank. The simplicity of his furniture designs and interiors, together with the richness of the materials he used, informs much of the best contemporary furniture design. Today, someone who’s work I admire (and furniture I often use) is Christian Liagre. Axel Vervoordt is also a great inspiration.

HOW DO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY CHOOSE TO LIVE?

I have created some wonderful homes for me and my family. We had a grand 19th century apartment in the Osborn House apartment building in New York which was featured in Architectural Digest and a wonderful early 19th century bank barn country home in New Jersey. They were both extensive restorations; gratifying challenges with terrific results.

TIMOTHY MACDONALD INCORPORATED
Florida home

WHAT IS THE DREAM PROJECT THAT YOU HAVEN’T REALIZED YET?

I look forward to designing a house (not a restoration) for my wife and me, for our children and grandchildren to visit.

THANK YOU, TIM, FOR SHARING YOUR HISTORY, PRESENT AND FUTURE WITH THE LRFA BLOG. IT IS ALWAYS A SPECIAL TREAT TO SPEND TIME WITH YOU.

IN OUR NEXT LRFA POST, WE LOOK FORWARD TO INTRODUCING AMBER BERGER, ENTREPRENEUR, INFLUENCER, WELLNESS EXPERT, MOTHER OF TWO, AND YOUNG COLLECTOR.

PLEASE JOIN US!

New York, New York with interior designer, Timothy Macdonald

 

Tim Macdonald
Mary Tyler Moore’s Upstate NY house

THE SON OF A TAILOR, AT THE AGE OF 18 ANGELO DONGHIA LEFT VANDERGRIFT, PENNSYLVANIA FOR NEW YORK CITY TO STUDY INTERIOR DESIGN AT PARSONS SCHOOL OF DESIGN. UPON GRADUATION, HE JOINED THE DISTINGUISHED FIRM OF YALE BURGE INTERIORS. WITH BURGE AS A MENTOR HE HONED HIS CRAFT AND DEVELOPED A PERSONAL STYLE. IN 1966, ON THE RECOMMENDATION OF BILLY BALDWIN, MR. DONGHIA DESIGNED THE OPERA CLUB AT THE METROPOLITAN OPERA HOUSE AT LINCOLN CENTER WHICH, WITH SILVER FOIL CEILINGS, BLUE CHANDELIERS AND BLACK UPHOLSTERY, WAS MET WITH GREAT ACCLAIM. HE WAS SOON MADE PARTNER OF THE DESIGN FIRM, THEN RENAMED BURGE-DONGHIA.

WITH A PENCHANT FOR BUSINESS, MR. DONGHIA’S DIVERSE TALENTS WERE CONVEYED NOT ONLY IN THE WIDE RANGE OF INTERIORS HE DESIGNED BUT ALSO IN THE MANY PRODUCTS THAT CARRIED HIS NAME. SAID DONGHIA, “I KNEW THAT WHAT I HAD WASN’T ENOUGH AND THAT MY GROWTH HAD TO BE THROUGH MEANS WHICH WEREN’T THE DECORATING BUSINESS.”

DONGHIA’S DESIGN PHILOSOPHY, A LESS IS MORE APPROACH, EXTENDED TO ALL HIS PROJECTS. “HE STARTS WITH A CONCERN FOR LIVING,” STATED THE LATE GRACE MIRABELLA, BOTH A CLIENT AND EDITOR OF VOGUE. IN HIS INTERIORS HE CREATED TOTAL ENVIRONMENTS – NOT JUST ROOMS – ON THE TENET THAT “YOU SHOULD FEEL AT ALL TIMES THAT WHAT IS AROUND YOU IS ATTRACTIVE . . . AND THAT YOU ARE ATTRACTIVE.”

Angelo Donghia

ANGELO DONGHIA WAS AS INNOVATIVE IN BUSINESS AS IN DESIGN. HE WAS THE FIRST DESIGNER, TO MY KNOWLEDGE, WHO CREATED AND PRODUCED THE FURNISHINGS, THE FABRICS AND WALLCOVERINGS THAT HE INCORPORATED INTO HIS RESIDENTIAL AND COMMERCIAL DESIGNS.  HE OPENED DONGHIA SHOWROOMS THAT CONTINUE TODAY TO BE THRIVING ENTERPRISES IN DESIGN CENTERS IN A NUMBER OF AMERICAN CITIES.

https://www.donghia.com/angelo-donghia/

WHEN TIM ARRIVED IN NEW YORK, HIS FIRST (AND LAST) JOB WORKING FOR ANOTHER DESIGNER WAS WITH THE EXTRAORDINARY ANGELO DONGHIA.

TIM, PLEASE TELL US ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE! ONCE YOU MADE THE DECISION TO RELOCATE, WHAT IS THE ARCH OF YOUR PROFESSIONAL HISTORY?

Within a few weeks of arriving in New York, I interviewed with the legendary designer Angelo Donghia. I had followed and admired his work for years as it appeared in all the design magazines. Angelo’s design philosophy encompassed a broad range of styles. A Fifth Avenue townhouse would of course have a very different aesthetic than a Key West, cypress wood octagonal house. He loved 18th century English wood furniture as well as classic art deco rattan and wicker pieces. But most of all, he was a master of upholstery. He demanded that all upholstered furniture be beautiful and, above all, comfortable.

Within a couple of years, Angelo had put me in charge of his residential design firm, where I managed a staff of ten and worked with all the top clients. We had a who’s who of clients at the time: Diana Ross, Mary Tyler Moore, Ralph Lauren, Barbara Walters, Neil Simon, Donald Trump and in 1980, I had my first big client on my own, Liza Minnelli. The results were presented as the first fold out cover of Architectural Digest and the biggest selling issue to that time.

Ralph Lauren apartment, New York

EVERYONE LOVES AN INSIDER’S VIEW INTO THE WORLD OF CELEBRITIES. WHO WERE SOME OF YOUR CELEBRITY CLIENTS AND IN WHAT WAYS IS IT THE SAME AND IN WHAT WAYS IS IT DIFFERENT THAN WORKING ON A REGULAR PROJECT?

For a number of years Architectural Digest sponsored guest programs at The Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. Together with a few other designers, I was invited to present a slide talk on what it is like working for celebrities. Bottom line, they are no different than other clients. Every client is unique and each brings their own point of view. Ralph Lauren wanted an environment which was devoid of color and pattern, other than natural wood, velvet carpeting the color of natural wood and lush green plants. We wanted to give him a place of visual serenity after hours of looking at color and pattern.

Liza Minnelli, growing up in Hollywood, the daughter of a film director, thought of home as a movie set and wanted her apartment to include references from her father’s films, such as the distinctive “Minnelli” red in Gigi. We had a ball working together.

Liza Minelli
New York apartment
by Timothy Macdonald Incorporated

WHEN DID YOU LAUNCH TIMOTHY MACDONALD INCORPORATED AND WHAT PROMPTED THAT DECISION?

In 1986, Angelo Donghia passed away and I left Donghia to start my own firm. I remember the day I met with his lawyers and realized I needed to leave. I went home and told my wife, “I have some news.” She said, “So do I.” I said, “You first.” She said, “I‘m pregnant.” I said, “I’m unemployed.” So Timothy Macdonald Incorporated was launched. Within a month I started with a secretary, a typewriter, a draftsman/designer and a phone number.

For the past several years, TMI consists of myself, my business partner, Robin Berg, my design partner, Greg Kundsen, an assistant designer, an administrative assistant and a draftsman.

OFF TO AN AMAZING START, WITH THE IN-DEPTH EXPERIENCE OF REALIZING FIRST-TIER PROJECTS AND DISCERNING CLIENTS, TIMOTHY MACDONALD INCORPORATED LAUNCHED.

TUNE IN NEXT WEEK AS TIM SHARES HIS LIFE AS CEO AND PRESIDENT OF ONE OF THE MOST ESTABLISHED AND ON-GOING NEW YORK BASED INTERIOR DESIGN FIRMS.

A warm welcome to Timothy Macdonald Incorporated, a New York based design firm

Tim Macdonald
Founder & President
Timothy Macdonald Incorporated

TIMOTHY MACDONALD INCORPORATED IN A LONG-ESTABLISHED INTERIOR DESIGN FIRM BASED IN NEW YORK WITH PROJECTS THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES, LATIN AMERICA, AND EUROPE. THE STYLE IS ECLECTIC, RESPONDING TO EACH INDIVIDUAL CLIENTS’ AESTHETIC AND LIFESTYLE. HIS DIALOGUE WITH THE ARCHITECT AND THE CLIENT IS ALWAYS COLLABORATIVE AND ONE OF HIS PRIORITIES IS TO HONOR THE CLIENTS’ TIME FRAME AND BUDGET.

TIM MACDONALD HAS BEEN A COLLEAGUE AND A FRIEND FOR MANY YEARS AS HE HAS GENEROUSLY REFERRED CLIENTS TO ME WHO ARE INTERESTED IN ACQUIRING ART OR ALREADY HAVE ESTABLISHED COLLECTIONS THAT NEED FINE TUNING. HE STUDIED FINE ARTS IN COLLEGE EXTENSIVELY AND HAS A GENUINE RESPECT FOR ART AND ITS VALUED PLACE IN THE CONTEXT OF A RESIDENTIAL OR COMMERCIAL DESIGN.

IT IS A PLEASURE AND A PRIVILEGE TO HAVE TIM CONTRIBUTE TO THE LRFA BLOG.

Taliesin
(Spring Green, Wisconsin)

Leslie, thank you so much for inviting me.

THANK YOU, TIM. I KNOW YOU GREW UP IN THE MIDWEST.

WHAT ELEMENTS OF YOUR CHILDHOOD AND EARLY ADULTHOOD LED YOU INTO ESTABLISHING A DESIGN FIRM IN NY?

I grew up in Madison, Wisconsin and my early interest in architecture was encouraged by my mother. Frank Lloyd Wright had a strong presence in the area and his buildings certainly affected the way I experienced design and space. In fact, I nearly went to his school in Spring Green, Wisconsin, interviewing with his widow, Olgivanna.

Frank Lloyd Wright
Fallingwater

I attended high school in Winnetka, Illinois where I was able to study art under Jon Almquist, who had studied with Joseph Albers at Yale. I flourished. Visits to the Art Institute were frequent and my interest in art was encouraged both at home and in school.

Ultimately, I attended the University of Pennsylvania, with the intention of studying architecture. But, greatly missing the art studio and drawing, painting, sculpture and photography; I transferred to The Boston Museum School to study art.

AND AFTER SCHOOL, WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB IN THE DESIGN WORLD?

After college, I moved to San Francisco in the summer of 1972. I realized with my education in art, I could either be a fine artist, or teach art. Neither appealed to me, so I considered how I might apply my knowledge to a practical career. A friend worked for a large space planning firm in San Francisco and encouraged me to explore the field of interior design. It seemed a good way to marry my love of architecture with my education in art.

I got my hair cut and put on a sport coat (I was a hippie at the time) and started the job interview process. I visited decorating showrooms and got an offer the first day. But what I really wanted to do was work for a designer and learn the business from the bottom up. I was lucky to land an interview with one of the top interior designers in San Francisco, Val Arnold.

Val Arnold
Architectural Digest, 2007

TELL US ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE AT VAL ARNOLD. YOU MUST HAVE LEARNED SO MUCH!

Val had a small office; two designers, one assistant designer and an office manager/bookkeeper. I was hired to be Val’s assistant and my job consisted of doing anything to help around the office. This might be organizing the sample room, shopping for materials, or getting the car washed before a client site meeting. The office manager left for a trip to China shortly after my arrival and after she was gone two weeks, she wired Val she would not be returning. So I became office manager. That was the beginning of my education in the business side of design. In short order I was also helping to create furniture plans and elevations, pull together schemes and even present to clients. I helped out on special photo shoots for Architectural Digest. It was total immersion. I loved it and I was good at it. Our clients were movie stars and the crème de la crème of San Francisco society.

Val was very good to me and begged me to stay with him, but in 1975 he decided to relocate to Los Angeles and I decided to move to New York.

Angelo Donghia
Architectural Digest, 2007

AND SO TIM’S PRESENCE IN THE INTERIOR DESIGN WORLD IN THE COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE OF NEW YORK WAS LAUNCHED WITH THE LEGENDARY FIRM OF ANGELO DONGHIA.  STAY TUNED NEXT WEEK FOR THE DETAILS!

THANKS SO MUCH FOR FOLLOWING THE LRFA BLOG, AND THANK YOU SO MUCH, CONTRIBUTORS, FOR YOUR LABOR-INTENSIVE SUPPORT.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The future at Sotheby’s

AS  A SURPRISING CODA TO THE EXCEPTIONALLY INFORMATIVE INTERVIEW WITH COURTNEY KREMERS, SENIOR VP AND CONTEMPORARY ART SPECIALIST AT SOTHEBY’S, THIS NEWS HAS SET THE ART WORLD ABUZZ IN THE LAST FEW DAYS.  SOTHEBY’S HAS DECIDED TO ACCEPT AN OFFER BY FRENCH TELECOM AND MEDIA BILLIONAIRE PATRICK DRAHI AND WILL FORMALLY BE A PRIVATELY HELD COMPANY, AS ARE CHRISTIE’S AND PHILLIPS, IN THE NEAR FUTURE. THAT WILL CERTAINLY DISRUPT THE LANDSCAPE OF THE HIGHLY COMPETITIVE AUCTION WORLD!

IN THEIR OWN WORDS…

SOTHEBY’S PRESS RELEASE JUNE 17, 2019

Sotheby’s (NYSE: BID) today announced that it has signed a definitive merger agreement to be acquired by BidFair USA, an entity wholly owned by media and telecom entrepreneur as well as art collector, Patrick Drahi. Under the terms of the agreement, which was approved by Sotheby’s Board of Directors, shareholders, including employee shareholders, will receive $57.00 in cash per share of Sotheby’s common stock in a transaction with an enterprise value of $3.7 billion. The offer price represents a premium of 61% to Sotheby’s closing price on June 14, 2019, and a 56.3% premium to the company’s 30 trading-day volume weighted average share price. The transaction would result in Sotheby’s returning to private ownership after 31 years as a public company traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

Tad Smith, Sotheby’s CEO, said, “Patrick Drahi is one of the most well-regarded entrepreneurs in the world, and on behalf of everyone at Sotheby’s, I want to welcome him to the family. Known for his commitment to innovation and ingenuity, Patrick founded and leads some of the most successful telecommunications, media and digital companies in the world. He has a long-term view and shares our brand vision for great client service and employing innovation to enhance the value of the company for clients and employees. This acquisition will provide Sotheby’s with the opportunity to accelerate the successful program of growth initiatives of the past several years in a more flexible private environment. It positions us very well for our future and I strongly believe that the company will be in excellent hands for decades to come with Patrick as our owner.”

Domenico De Sole, Chairman of Sotheby’s Board of Directors, said, “Following a comprehensive review, the Board enthusiastically supports Mr. Drahi’s offer, which delivers a significant premium to market for our shareholders. After more than 30 years as a public company, the time is right for Sotheby’s to return to private ownership to continue on a path of growth and success.” 2 “I am honored that the Board of Sotheby’s has decided to recommend my offer,” commented Patrick Drahi. “Sotheby’s is one of the most elegant and aspirational brands in the world. As a longtime client and lifetime admirer of the company, I am acquiring Sotheby’s together with my family. We thank Domenico and the rest of the Sotheby’s Board for its support and look forward to getting started with Tad and the wonderful members of his team to define our future.”

The closing of the deal is subject to customary conditions, including regulatory clearance and shareholder approvals, but is not subject to the availability of financing. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2019 following shareholder approval.

FROM THE OFFICE OF PATRICK DRAHI

PRESS RELEASE ACQUISITION OF SOTHEBY’S JUNE 17, 2019

I am very honored that the Board of Sotheby’s has decided to recommend my offer.

With my family, we are very enthusiastic to build together with its current management
and their teams the future of Sotheby’s, a fascinating and multi-secular company with such a celebrated history of uniting people all over the world through culture and arts.

For my entire life, I have been passionate about this industry and I believe the opportunities and growth potential are significant for Sotheby’s.

I am making this investment for my family, through my personal holding, with a very long-term perspective. There is no capital link with Altice Europe or Altice USA.

As the future owner, I have full confidence in Sotheby’s management, and hence do not anticipate any change to the Company’s strategy. Management and their exceptional teams and talent around the world will continue to operate with my full support.

This investment will further demonstrate the anchoring of my family in the United States, a country where we have been very welcomed since the successful acquisitions of Suddenlink in 2015, Cablevision in 2016 and just recently Cheddar.

The telecom and media industries will keep being my main focus where I remain 100% committed to our businesses and to our continued growth. I will of course keep leading the management team in the development and growth of Altice Europe, as well as remain Chairman of the Board of Altice USA to support Dexter and his team who are doing a great job.

The acquisition of Sotheby’s will be funded by financings arranged and underwritten by BNP Paribas as well as by equity provided from my own funds. To help fund this transaction, I do not intend to sell any shares in Altice Europe NV; my intention is to monetize a small position in Altice USA up to $400 million by the end of the year. Due to Altice USA’s share repurchase program, the total economic stake of my holdings in Altice USA has increased over the last 12 months from approximately 34% to 38 %.

Sotheby’s now and ahead with Senior VP and Contemporary Specialist, Courtney Kremers

Sotheby’s New York

In 2015, Tad Smith was appointed to head Sotheby’s. Prior to that, Mr. Smith had spent a year as chief executive of the Madison Square Garden Company, which, among other businesses, owns the New York Knicks basketball team, the New York Rangers hockey team and Radio City Music Hall. Before that, he spent five years at Cablevision Systems, which like MSG is controlled by the family of Charles Dolan.

In an interview, Mr. Smith said he could not add to the expertise of Sotheby’s art experts, but he could act as a business catalyst. “The market for art is very large, it is global and there is an immense amount of new wealth being created every year,” he said. Sotheby’s said it was also splitting the jobs of chief executive and chairman of the board, both of which had been held by Mr. Ruprecht. Domenico De Sole, former chief executive of the Gucci Group and chairman of the luxury retailer Tom Ford International, who is currently Sotheby’s lead independent director, became its new chairman.

Tad Smith
President and CEO
Sotheby’s

In January 2016, Schwartzman and Cappellazzo joined Sotheby’s as Chairmen and Co-Heads of its newly formed Fine Art Division and the traditional structure of the auction house radically changed in an effort to adapt to an industry in flux.

https://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/2019/by-women-for-tomorrows-women-n10041.html

A recent auction was just one way in which Sotheby’s reflects and responds to the social and political issues of our times: an art exhibit and auction hosted by Sotheby’s and Miss Porter’s School called “By Women, for Tomorrow’s Women.” The event was the first all-women-artist benefit held at a major auction house.

Carmen Herrera
Sotheby’s By Women, For Tomorrow’s Women auction

Sotheby’s has taken a major leap into the 21st Century with its acquisition of Thread Genius, an AI-based recommendation platform, and Viyet, a high-end furniture design consignment platform focused on an emerging generation of antique and high-end interior design enthusiasts, just two of its recent corporate acquisitions since Mr. Smith took charge.

Viyet at Sotheby’s

TODAY, THE LRFA BLOG IS DELIGHTED TO CONTINUE ITS CONVERSATION WITH COURTNEY KREMERS, SENIOR VP AND CONTEMPORY ART SPECIALIST AT SOTHEBY’S.

COURTNEY, WELCOME BACK.

IN 2015, TAD SMITH WAS APPOINTED PRESIDENT AND CEO OF SOTHEBY’S. SOTHEBY’S HAS BEEN RESTRUCTURED AND TRANSFORMED, ACQUIRING SEVERAL BUSINESSES THAT EXPAND OUR IDEA OF THE ROLE OF AN AUCTION HOUSE.  HOW HAS SOTHEBY’S GROWN AND CHANGED SINCE HIS APPOINTMENT?

We have changed a lot in the last few years, and that change has been exciting. We are adapting to a more global market and one that increasingly operates on digital platforms and outside the traditional auction seasons. Our business has become a 360 degree endeavor – and we are investing as much in new collectors, across all categories, as we are in those bidding in the blockbuster evening sales.  

Sotheby’s BIDnow
Live Online Bidding

SOTHEBY’S IS, UNLIKE CHRISTIE’S OR PHILLIPS, A PUBLICLY HELD COMPANY. HOW DOES THAT AFFECT ITS BUSINESS DECISIONS AND POLICIES?

As a public company, Sotheby’s has to maintain the highest standards of transparency and accountability. In a business that has a reputation for not always being those things, this distinction sets us apart. Trust is an advantage. 

Sotheby’s London

WITH A SOFTENING ART MARKET, POLITICAL UNCERTAINTY, A HIGHLY VOLATILE STOCK MARKET AND A SLOWDOWN OF GLOBAL GROWTH IN GENERAL, HOW IS THE ART MARKET AFFECTED BOTH SHORT TERM AND LONG TERM?

The art market isn’t immune to the global financial markets and political turmoil. But it is remarkably more resilient and less volatile than it was 12 years ago; it is a much more global market. I was in London in June 2017, when we held our Contemporary Sales only a few days after the Brexit vote. We had no idea what would happen, but we didn’t think it would be good. Contrary to expectations, any slack in UK bidding was far outweighed by the enthusiastic paddle raising from US and Asian collectors saw an opportunity because of currency fluctuations. The auctions were likely stronger than they would have been with no-Brexit. 

Sotheby’s Hong Kong

WHAT ARE YOUR IMMEDIATE PLANS AND FUTURE PROFESSIONAL AMBITIONS?

If I am doing exactly what I am doing now, in 20 years, I would consider myself lucky. I love my job, the artworks, the collectors I work with, and the team of people I work with. If it sounds unambitious to hope for more of the same, then so be it. 

IT DOESN’T SOUND UNAMBITIOUS AT ALL- BUT THE LRFA BLOG IS CERTAIN THAT IN MUCH LESS THAN 20 YEARS, YOU WILL HAVE RISEN HIGH IN THE RANKS AT SOTHEBY’S OR ANY OTHER ENDEAVOR YOU PURSUE. COURTNEY, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR INSIGHTFUL CONTRIBUTION.

Sotheby’s Paris

IN OUR NEXT LRFA BLOG POST, WE WELCOME TIMOTHY MACDONALD, FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF TIMOTHY MACDONALD INCORPORATED, A NEW YORK BASED INTERIOR DESIGN FIRM. TIM HAS BEEN A LONG TIME COLLEAGUE, FRIEND AND SOURCE OF CLIENT REFERRAL AND WE WILL LEARN ABOUT THE MANY PROJECTS HE HAS OVERSEEN, BOTH HERE AND ABROAD AND HIS LOVE OF ART AND DESIGN.

PLEASE JOIN US!

Life in a jewel box with Courtney Kremers, Sotheby’s VP and Contemporary Art Specialist

The History of Now: The Collection of Daniel Teiger
Sotheby’s London

THE COLLECTION OF DAVID TEIGER, A MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT AND FORMER TRUSTEE OF THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, WAS SOLD AT SOTHEBY’S STARTING IN LONDON LAST OCTOBER DURING FRIEZE WEEK. THE COMPETITION BETWEEN THE AUCTION HOUSES VYING FOR SUCH A SUPERB, VARIED AND LEGENDARY COLLECTION MUST HAVE BEEN FIERCE BUT SOTHEBY’S MARKETING STRATEGY WON THE DAY. TITLED “THE HISTORY OF NOW”, THE COLLECTION FEATURED EXCEPTIONAL EXAMPLES OF MODERN, FOLK AND CONTEMPORARY ART, FEATURING EXCEPTIONAL EXAMPLES BY SUCH ARTISTS AS JASPER JOHNS, DAVID HOCKNEY, JOHN CURRIN, PETER DOIG AND MARK GROTJAHN IN A SERIES OF TEN TARGETED SALES WORLDWIDE.

Mark Grotjahn
The History of Now- The Collection of David Teiger

DAVID TEIGER CREATED A LIST OF PRINCIPLES TO GUIDE HIM IN HIS COLLECTING. SOTHEBY’S ADVOCATED THE SAME FOCUS AND CONCENTRATION IN ITS MARKETING AND SELLING OF IT: TRAVELING WORKS TO MANY CITIES, THREE IN ASIA ALONE; RESEARCHING, DOCUMENTING AND CATALOGUING EACH LOT; SELECTING THE VENUE THAT WOULD BEST SERVE EACH WORK OF ART, RESULTING IN AN OVERALL TOTAL OF MORE THAN $100 MILLION.

http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/2018/history-of-now-collection-david-teiger-l18623.html

Peter Doig
Buffalo Station 1
The History of Now- The Collection of David Teiger sale

THE HARD WORK, DEDICATION AND KNOWLEDGE OF WORKS  OF ART AND OF THE ART MARKET REQUIRED FOR THE SALE OF THE TEIGER COLLECTION IS JUST ONE EXAMPLE OF THE VIRTUALLY DAILY DEMANDS ON SPECIALISTS IN A TOP AUCTION HOUSE. CONSISTENTLY PLEASANT, CHEERFUL AND POLITE TO EACH AND EVERY DEMANDING COLLECTOR AND ADVISOR IS ANOTHER REQUISITE.

TODAY, THE LRFA BLOG IS DELIGHTED TO WELCOME BACK COURTNEY KREMERS, SENIOR VP AND CONTEMPORARY ART SPECIALIST, TO SPEAK FIRST HAND OF HER SOTHEBY EXPERIENCE.

WHEN DID YOU START AT SOTHEBY’S AND WHAT PROMPTED YOUR DECISION TO JOIN AN AUCTION HOUSE?  CUSTOMARILY, MANY PEOPLE START AT AN AUCTION HOUSE AND THEN GO ON TO WORK AS A DEALER OR ADVISOR?

Yes I did it backwards. But I am so thankful I did. I was able to understand the ecosystem that the auction house serves by first being a part of that ecosystem. Sotheby’s approached me about an opportunity to revamp their mid season sales in early 2013; that fall, we introduced the Contemporary Curated sales. It was an exciting new challenge, and when I left Kim to pursue it, she couldn’t have been more supportive.

Vija Celmins
Burning Plane
Good to Go: Property from the Collection of Joni Gordon

WHAT DO YOU LIKE THE MOST ABOUT WORKING IN AN AUCTION HOUSE?

I am surrounded every day by people that love what they do. My colleagues, both in and outside the Contemporary department, are some of the most passionate, inspiring, and hard-working people that I have ever encountered. The energy is contagious. Not to mention the thousands of objects I get to see, handle, basically live with, every year. And not just Contemporary works… Our office is a rotating museum of Old Master paintings, jewels, photographs, Japanese scrolls, the most beautiful mid-century design objects. I spend most of my waking life in a jewel box essentially. It is a privilege to work at Sotheby’s, so I try to earn it every day. 

Ed Ruscha Broken Pencil In Its Own Light: Collection of Ed Cohen and Victoria Shaw

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MAJOR AUCTIONS OR SINGLE OWNER SALES OR SPECIFIC LOTS THAT STAND OUT AS HIGHLIGHTS DURING YOUR TIME AT SOTHEBY’S?

The Joni Gordon Sale in 2014 – we sold a rare Vija Celmin’s plane painting (now on view in the SFMoMA show) and achieved a record price for the artist. In 2017, the sale of works from the Collection of Ed Cohen and Victoria Shaw which included the most breathtaking works on paper by Anselm Kiefer, Michael Andrews, and Brice Marden… These weren’t the most high value consignments, or the biggest single owner sales in recent years, but the works were rare connoisseurs’ gems.   

Cecily Brown
Bonus
In Its Own Light: The Collection of Ed Cohen and Victoria Shaw

HOW DOES S/2, SOTHEBY’S GALLERY, WORK IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE SALES DEPARTMENT?  HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHAT THE BEST VENUE WHEN ADVISING A CLIENT INTERESTED IN SELLING A WORK THEY OWN?

Simply stated, when advising collectors regarding auction versus private sale, we need to understand what it is that they value most. For some, privacy and control of the sale process is paramount, and so private sale would be our recommendation. For others, the auction platform, which can present a unique opportunity for upside at a particular moment, is more appealing. With that said, every conversation is highly circumstantial and takes into account any number of factors. One that comes up frequently is depth of an artist’s market in relation to works currently consigned for an auction season (e.g. if we have four Calder mobiles already consigned for auction, we are likely not going to recommend adding a fifth).

Alexander Calder
Art Contemporain
Sotheby’s Paris, June 5, 2019

HOW FAR IN ADVANCE DO YOU WORK ON A FORTHCOMING AUCTION?  DO YOU HAVE A FEW LOTS THAT COME IN THAT ANCHOR A SALE AND THEN SEEK OUT WORKS COLLECTORS MIGHT HAVE THAT WOULD COMPLEMENT THE SALE AND BE ENHANCED BY EXISTING LOTS?

Yes – you nailed it. We generally work on sales six months in advance, but naturally the intensity ramps up about two months out. Roughly half of the sale comes in from collectors who reach out to us directly. The other half we seek out proactively. Based on what has come into the sale in the first few months, we seek out artists and periods that we don’t yet have. We start to create ‘wish lists’ that we work from. If we are a month away from deadline and see that we don’t have a great Joan Mitchell or Donald Judd, we will go out and try to find one. Our wish list changes a bit every season depending on what we know collectors are looking for, and also, opportunities we may see to tell a particular story in an auction season. We look at the ingredients on the table, and then figure out how to make a well balanced meal! 

Joan Mitchell
L’Arbre de Phyllis
Lumieres: The Levy Family Collection
Sotheby’s NY May 16, 2019

IN OUR NEXT LRFA BLOG POST, COURTNEY WILL SHARE HER PERSPECTIVE ON SOTHEBY’S PRESENT AND FUTURE.

PLEASE JOIN US!

AND HAVE A HAPPY AND LONG-AWAITED MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND!

Collecting advice from an expert: Sotheby’s contemporary auction specialist Courtney Kremers

Courtney Kremers
Sotheby’s

AUCTIONS ARE BIG BUSINESS WITH EVER INCREASING INTEREST AND PARTICIPATION FROM ALL CORNERS OF THE WORLD. THANKS TO THE GLOBALIZATION OF THE ART MARKET AND THE DEMOCRATIZATION OF ART BOOSTED BY INSTAGRAM IN PARTICULAR AND SOCIAL MEDIA IN GENERAL, AND BY THE HEADLINE MAKING SUMS THAT ARE BEING REALIZED, EVERYONE FINDS THIS AN INTRIGUING SUBJECT TO FOLLOW WHETHER THEY ARE COLLECTORS OR NOT. THE COMPETITION BETWEEN HOUSES IS FIERCE AND THIS WEEK, IN NEW YORK, PRESENTS MANY OPPORTUNITIES TO PROVE THESE POINTS.

Claude Monet
Meules
Sotheby’s May 2019

ON TUESDAY OF THIS WEEK, SOTHEBY’S TRIUMPHED, OPENING THE NEW YORK AUCTION WEEK, WITH THEIR IMPRESSIONIST AND MODERN SALE. ARTnews DESCRIBES IT AS SUCH:

Powered by a stunning Claude Monet landscape that doubled its estimate and elicited hearty applause in the grand salesroom, Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern evening sale in New York on Tuesday galloped to a market-affirming $349.9 million tally.

Only five of the 55 lots offered failed to sell, yielding a svelte buy-in rate by lot of 9.1 percent.

The buoyant result surged past pre-sale expectations of $252.6 million to $333.2 million. Those estimates do not include the buyer’s premium. (The hammer tally for the evening, before fees, was $300.5 million.)

The total also shot past last May’s $318.3 million result for the 32 lots that sold. The top lot at that sale was Amedeo Modigliani’s Nu couché (sur le côté gauche), 1917, which fetched $157.2 million, making it the most expensive work ever to sell at Sotheby’s.

Tuesday’s auction ranks as the highest-earning Impression-modern evening sale at Sotheby’s since one in May 2015 that took in $368 million.

http://www.artnews.com/2019/05/15/sothebys-imp-mod-monet-meules-record/

Hans Hofmann

BEFORE WORKS CAN REACH THE DAZZLING HEIGHTS OF THE AUCTION WORLD, THEY MUST FIRST BE ACQUIRED BY PRIVATE COLLECTORS AND THAT TAKES CAREFUL DELIBERATION, INFORMATION AND KNOWLEDGE AS WELL AS THE GOOD FORTUNE OF A GREAT EYE AND/OR A GREAT ADVISOR.

TODAY, THE LRFA BLOG IS DELIGHTED TO HAVE SOTHEBY’S SPECIALIST, SENIOR VP, COURTNEY KREMERS, TO SHARE HER ASTUTE INSIGHTS ON THE ART OF COLLECTING.

COURTNEY, WELCOME BACK! THE LRFA BLOG IS VERY HAPPY TO HAVE YOU HERE.

SOME COLLECTORS, SUCH AS THE MUGRABIS,  FOCUS ON A HANDFUL OF ARTISTS, BUYING NUMEROUS EXAMPLES OF WORK FROM ALL PERIODS OF THE ARTIST’S CAREER, THUS CONTROLLING TO SOME EXTENT THE MARKET FOR THE WORK?

WHAT IN YOUR OPINION ARE THE ADVANTAGES AND THE DISADVANTAGES?

There is a big difference between trying to control an artist’s market, by acquiring a significant number of works, and collecting an artist in depth. The pros/cons of this strategy are no different than having undiversified risk in any other asset class. It is high risk, high reward.

Lucio Fontana

WHEN YOU ARE WORKING WITH A RELATIVELY NEW AND UNSEASONED COLLECTOR, WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE THAT YOU CAN GIVE THEM?

Collecting involves a careful balance of restraint and gut. At the beginning, the formula should be weighted toward restraint and research, but as you develop a real eye, gut becomes a crucial part of the equation.

HOW DO YOU EDUCATE THE POTENTIAL COLLECTOR IN THE ART OF COLLECTING? WHAT ARE THE PRIMARY CRITERIA AND GUIDELINES DO YOU GIVE THEM?

It isn’t only about buying what you love. For an unseasoned collector, that advice can be a recipe for disaster, or at the very least, for overpaying. The word, “love”, is also confusing to collectors, because what does that mean when it comes to art? Your relationship with an object can grow from something that first would be described as discomfort, because it gets under your skin, stays with you, challenges something you thought you knew. In other words, the reaction to a great object doesn’t always start out as positive experience in a traditional sense, but it can evolve into that. Aside from the gut reaction you feel, which is what makes collecting so emotionally rewarding, you should always ask questions and understand what you are buying, how the work fits into the artist’s overall body of work, what the condition is, which galleries support the artist, which museums have shown the artist, etc. The list of questions is long and you should consider the answers to each one.

Sam Francis

YOU WORKED FOR KIM HIERSTON, WHOM I LIKE AND ADMIRE, IN HER ART ADVISORY FIRM.  WHAT WERE YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES?

Tons of research, among other things. Kim is extremely thorough and disciplined about every artwork she puts forward for a collector’s consideration. It was an information gathering operation first, art advisory second; you can’t advise unless you have all the facts. We spent a lot of time reviewing the artworks on offer through galleries, at art fairs, and in the auctions, and then thinking about how those works might fit into a particular client’s collection, and if so, what the right price was. Once an acquisition was made, we handled all the back end logistics that come with building an art collection – insurance, shipping, framing, conservation. It was a soup to nuts job.

George Condo

WHAT WERE THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSONS YOU LEARNED WHEN WORKING AS AN ADVISOR?  YOU MUST INTERACT WITH A GREAT MANY ADVISORS NOW, AS A SPECIALIST AT SOTHEBY’S. WHAT CHARACTERIZES THE BEST AND THE WORST OF THEM?

There are advisors who do their own research and who spend a considerable amount of time looking at art and understanding the objects, and then there are advisors who just repeat what they hear elsewhere. The parrots are just that, parrots.

NB- THE WORKS ILLUSTRATED IN THIS BLOG (EXCEPT THE MONET) ARE FORTHCOMING LOTS IN THE SOTHEBY’S CONTEMPORARY DAY SALE, ON FRIDAY, MAY 17th.

IN OUR NEXT LRFA BLOG, COURTNEY WILL SPEAK ABOUT LIFE AT SOTHEBY’S IN THIS AGE OF COLLECTING. WE CAN’T WAIT!