One of the greatest joys in my life is living with art! Living with it, around it, sometimes even on it. Art on the walls, on the floor, and the furniture we sit on. There is art and architecture in everything we do and everywhere we go, from the home we live in, to the buildings we frequent, the landscaping that may line a particular street, and even the car we drive (well, most cars!).
In our stores, we are fortunate to represent fine art to our clients and customers. Fine art over decorative art, one of the keys to our happiness!
We consider a project only partially complete after the furniture, lighting, rugs and accessories have been installed. Ironically, often the last thing to be considered is the art- the very thing that will outlive most of the furnishings!
Clients that are serious collectors will think this article is preaching to the choir, but it’s for those that don’t consider themselves collectors that I address here. The word “collector”, used after the word “art”, is a heady phrase. Who says you are an art collector, or that I am? Is there a litmus test that determines this? Or do the Editors of Architectural Digest or Town & Country crown us with this label?
You are a collector when you have an interest in a field, and have begun to collect objects within that interest. Perhaps there is a particular genre or direction of your collection, perhaps not. There is no wrong way to be a collector…taste is not a factor, though we certainly hope one exercises a modicum of taste when choosing what to display and where.
Recently we worked on a project where color, pattern, texture and layering is evident from the front door to the back, both inside and out. We worked diligently with the homeowner to help them reach their goal, and it shows.
When it came time for art selection, we presented a work to which the homeowner responded, “My kids could do that”!
Really? Your kids can do this? I thought to myself.
Well, they didn’t! Still thinking to myself.
No, your kids cannot do this. Definitely thinking to myself -among other things!
Do yourself a favor, and those of us who deal in fine art, never be guilty of letting those words cross your lips.
The same client said they thought it was weird that someone would select art for them.
Hmmmm ….I thought to myself, as I looked around the room at the things that had been put up temporarily.
“We like to buy things while we’re on vacation”, the lady declared.
“Oh, I see”, looking around the house. I saw a tropical poster from the Caribbean, a Didgeridoo from Australia, and a framed piece of lace from Italy.
Here is my advice on buying vacation art: Didgeridon’t!
The Beatles try their skills at the Didgeridoo
As I thought about the art that I see on vacation, I often see expensively located “high-end” galleries that are in the business to sell stuff, often referred to as art (See poster below)
A Hawaiian Poster, “Catch the Wave”
The ones that sell high-end, limited edition, autographed paraphernalia like baseballs and newly printed and signed Miro lithographs (the man’s been dead for 31 years – born in 1893, died in 1983! Read the small print…it might say,”Plate signed by Miro”. Don’t know what plate signed means? Better ask your art dealer.
Joan Miro “Sculptures II”, Facsimile signed Limited Edition Lithograph ($49.99 on Ebay).
The paintings or drawings may even be beautifully framed, and the work often signed by an old master. How is it that these chain store art dealers can continue to find works signed by artists who’ve been dead for decades when the most reputable galleries in Europe and America cannot?
The Miro above says “Facsimile signed”. Do you know what that means? Do you buy it based on the word of the vacation gallery salesperson, or from your local art dealer?
Buyer beware! How can you know if you;re dealing with a reputable art dealer when you’re 10,000 miles from home and not likely to be back, ever, which is most likely what they’re counting on. By the time you figure out that you bought a pig in a poke, you’re long gone, and out of site is out of mind.
When traveling, stick to local products like olive oil, cheese or wine for your fond travel memories, and leave the art for a professional art dealer, or for you to deal with at home.
An art professional can guide you along as you traverse the endless opportunities in the art world, They can help you focus on your area of interest, or perhaps broaden your palette, they can expose you to artists who aren’t readily available in your area, and they can research the history of an art work helping to lessen the possibility of buying a worthless canvas or overpaying for a work of art.
The benefits of working with a reputable professional are endless, as are the pitfalls venturing out on your own.
Below: Han van Meegeren sold $60 million worth of fake Vermeer’s to everyone from Hermann Goring to the government of the Netherlands.
Above: John Myatt’s 200 forgeries were sold at the worlds greatest auction houses.
AND THE WINNER IS…
The highest price ever paid for a painting at auction (as of today).
Francis Bacon’s “Three Studies of Lucian Freud”, 1969.
Francis Bacon’s “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” is considered by many to be his defining work. It’s a triptych that was completed in 1969, and depicts Bacon’s friend and fellow artist Lucian Freud.
The painting sold at Christie’s for $142.4 million- the highest price ever paid for an artwork at auction.
So, now do you want to buy art while on vacation? I hope not.
Good Night Moon