ARTperspective

The Art Perspective blog is a collection of thoughts, musings, and reflections on art, artists, and current happenings in the art world. 

On Being An Art Dealer...

The Son of Man, artist: Rene Magritte, 1964, oil on canvas 45" X 35"

I have been asked many times why I decided to become an art dealer. The honest answer,  it was always there, right in front of me. Hanging on the walls of my office, in my home; it was who I associated with, who my friends are: artists themselves, collectors, photographers, painters, mixed media artists. At 23 years old, a lot of my friends thought I was being a 'snob' by engaging an art broker to help introduce me to new works, by the time I was in my late twenties it was well established that art was just something I collected, and now in my thirties it is something I live and breathe every day. In 1999 I discovered the work of surrealist painter Rene Magritte, and it had a profound influence on my appreciation of art. His subversive way of communicating his thoughts and ideas, intrigued me and I knew I had to learn more. In the fall of 2013, I was able to attend the Museum of Modern Art's Magritte exhibit: The Mystery of the Ordinary 1929-1936 and it reconfirmed everything I first experienced when I saw my very first Magritte piece. 

Art is important. Exploring, learning, challenging the status quo, allowing us to interpret for ourselves the message the artist is attempting to convey. The conversations I have with artists, the works I review, developing new talent, re-igniting existing talent or simply the privilege of working with established artists who are in the collections of A-list celebrities, and galleries and museums across Canada and the United States inspire me every day.

I knew I was on right path when artists began reaching out, excited about the opportunity to collaborate, to work together. As much as I act as an agent, it is truly the relationships with each individual that mean the most. Understanding where they are coming from as an artist and allowing them to focus on their art, while removing boundaries and engaging in an entirely different set of conversations with collectors, gallery owners, museums on why they should be interested in the artists I am representing. 

Being an art dealer in 2015 is not unlike being an art dealer in 1870; then a gentleman in Paris named Paul Durand-Ruel, recognized the potential of the impressionist painting movement and began to represent many of the painters of that time, providing them with a stipend so that they could continue their work. He went on to become the most important art dealer in the world bringing impressionism to the United States and to Europe. Many of the most prominent names we associate with the impressionist movement today were made possible by Durand-Ruel's foresight, in fact Degas, Monet, Pissarro, and Renoir all benefitted from his representation. This trip down art history lane serves to illustrate my point, that what makes an art dealer isn't technology, or online auctions or Instagram, it is the ability to identify, nurture and believe in talent. And to share the story of that talent, of that artist, despite what others may think, despite that it may not have been done before. It is often unchartered territory and it is incumbent upon you as the art dealer to tell those stories, to share those works and to not be scared to fail.

So to those friends, and people who thought I was being an art snob, I am changing that conversation. Art isn't unreachable or snobby, art isn't for some privileged few, art is about your own individual relationship with a piece, how it makes you feel. When you're ready to have THAT conversation, give me a call, I'm your guy, no, not guy, Art Dealer.