Monday, February 02, 2015
But really Blogger is better. It's more poetic. You have more time to think. Most logical people can't relate to that. The paramater's within which they are working are more limited and predictable.
I was out last evening and had an interesting conversation with a mathematician. She wanted to know how she could be more creative. She could do everything well, seamlessly. But her life was a mess. She wanted to know how to be more creative.
I explained my understanding of how this works. I did a demonstration. She seemed to be impressed. She got angry. More angry. She left in a cloud of steam and words. It was amazing.
1/ If you want a job done well, do it yourself. Don't rely upon the reviews generated through marketing channels. They are usually harvested from people with less capability than you.
2/ Plein air painting is fascinating, important and viable.
3/ Life is good :)
It's chilly outside ..... onward...
Saturday, November 08, 2014
Thursday, November 06, 2014
Pencil drawing from a session in Wilson Gueveras studio. Florence, Italy. November 014.
This is a 6 hour drawing, in two sessions.
Thursday, June 12, 2014
Interview between Marcus McAlister and Susan Johnson Mumford of Be Smart about Art.
Oils on treated board. 40cm x 30cm
Wednesday, June 04, 2014
If you are in the city you would be very welcome to come and view mine and the paintings of the artists who have finished their term and in some cases, graduated from the academy.
The painting below is the one which I'll be showing there, this year.
Friday June 6th, 2014.
Time: 18.30 - 20.30
Location: Via Nardo di Cione 10. Florence, Italy.
Runs from Friday 6th-Sunday 8th.
Tuesday, April 03, 2012
The American Library. 10, rue du Général Camou, 75007 Paris
There is a wine reception, followed by a talk on how to open an art gallery in Paris.
The exhibition runs till the 13th of May 2012.
Sunday, March 04, 2012
I visited Robert Peirce in his gallery in Paris this January, 2012, at 4, rue Quentin Bauchart, 75008,
beside the Arc de Triomphe.
Robert arrived in Paris, from South Africa in 1972 and worked in the french construction industry as a structural engineer, subsequently in project & general management, for 40 years. His first project was the build of the George Pompidou centre with Ove Arup, working with Rogers & Piano.
During his first professional career, he specialised in multi billion euro construction projects but at about the age of 50, began the change towards a career in the arts.
He had always been an art collector but had never consciously thought, he might one day, run his own art gallery but looking back, he recognises that it was something that was always at the back of his mind. After a period away from france, he took a year out to study art as a business. He studied the historical aspects together with technical and legal & fiscal side.
On completion of his studies a friend invited him to share the running of a gallery in Paris. He took the opportunity. He now works independently with his own gallery. The location is perfect as it is in the golden circle, beside the Arc de Triomphe.
Q. Hello Robert. Thanks for taking the time to give this interview.
Can you tell me what kind of art you deal in?
A. Initially I dealt both in contemporary and historical paintings at the same time, because I love both. However after the first five years I realised it had to be one, or the other. Not both. The audience and the means of communication are very different. So I decided to focus on historical art, simply because I had a passion for the fine details of research, philosophy, reading and the history.
Q. What do you love about being a gallerist in Paris?
A. I enjoy building my knowledge of the artists lives and works. This is a characteristic shared with many of my visitors. The exchange of knowledge with clients and other collectors is very stimulating and I enjoy educating and being educated. I've refined my ability to judge art based on experience and a knowledge of the market as a result.
I also love learning about the lives of different artists. It expands your knowledge of the the world and this profession gives me a window into that world. It feels as though I've become a part of their history. Of having become a part of their life story, which in terms of art, continues long after their death because of the people who collect their works.
I also like dealing with contextual works. That's highly stimulating. Items which have a trail of historical material connected to them. Such as the work of the 20th century artist Olivier Debré (Paris, 1920 1999). I purchased a gaouche painting with a note attached. A card in Debrés handwriting, which he had written to Bazaine, an artist and one of his friends. The painting was inspired by a design for a stage set, a ballet which was produced in 1997 by Carolyn Carlson. The card was dated 1996. The work was a particularly nice gouache on paper and the ballet starred Carolyn Carlson. I even saw it myself in a recent reproduction. So there is a huge amount of historical context, in that one image.
In terms of contemporary art, among others, I love the work of Peter Bond. A very interesting Australian artist whom I've collected over the years and whom I exceptionally exhibit in the gallery among the historical artists here.
Q. How do you choose an artist?
A. In contemporary art that's a valid question but not in historical art dealing.
So I don't. You need to have huge financial and time resources, to specialise in one or two historical artists. Plus, there are a lot of good artists out there who are worthy of attention so I don't focus on a specific circle.
However, I have specialized to a certain certain extent through two collections I have had the privilege to handle. I represent the family of Emmanuel de la Villéon (1858-1944). There are about 100 of his works in the gallery. I've sold another 100 and his family know and trust me so I see them regularly. They bring me works and I've become an expert on his art and life. I also consult for the musée de la Villéon in Fougère, Brittany.
The other collection has been lovely drawings by Maximilien Luce (1858-1941), which has made of me something of an expert in his field. Although I may really know a lot about an artist, I can't afford to obsess. A gallery is a passion but it's also a business and if you obsess you make the wrong kind of decisions.
Q. How do you price art?
A. Historical art and contemporary art are very different and it's a tricky question because you can't underprice the contemporary artists works but you also have to sell them. I base prices on per cm2 values and each artist will have a different cm2 value. Ironically, whether it is contemporary or historical art, the value of a work goes up per cm2, depending on a decrease in the size. So smaller works are worth more per cm2 than larger works. This is more true for historical artists.
There is also a pecking order between galleries. I verify prices against the value that other galleries put on the same artist. If there is a higher demand for an artists works then you can sell the works for more. Collectors set the real value when they compete for the artist, but it is a known fact that they are prepared to pay much higher prices in big galleries than in small, which is where we come in, with low cost structure and lower prices.
Setting a price is a function of 3 things. A combination of acquisition price, the market price of the artist and the quality of the work. So when someone buys a work from me, it's gone through the filtration process and I charge my markup for that service. Initially, I didn't have the courage to markup the price on works that I believed to be exceptional. Then over the years, as I developed more experience and knowledge I got better at facing the fact that certain pieces really needed to be championed.
For historical artworks there is a price based on historical performance.
This is muddied somewhat by the internet.
There are some artists whom I sell and whom I know are sold in galleries with vitrines for 50% more. That's an immediate loss to the buyer. But I accept that. It's commerce. Supply and demand. The buyer who see's a piece in a window doesn't benefit in the same way that someone who comes looking to me, does.
BISSIERE, Roger (1886-1964)
Q. Do you ever buy from auction houses?
A. Yes, but it takes a lot of work and there is a lot of confusion among buyers about the official prices set by auction houses. The auction houses publish the prices which art sells for 'under the hammer'.
But the buyer actually pays 30% more, for the works.
That equals the sales commission which the auction house adds to the sale price. They take that from the buyer and they also take a 15% commission, from the seller. That's almost a 50% markup.
So auction results create a false value because the works are worth at least 25% more than the values being quoted.
If someone comes to me and tries to negotiate based on auction prices I tell them that they should simply buy at auction, if they have the time and the competence, and want to take the risk. In that manner, they gain experience and understand the value of the work I do.
Buying at auction takes an enormous amount of time, knowledge and stamina. I might pick out 100 works worth buying but narrow that down to just 10 and out of that 10, get just one. I would have spent days to get that. People who come to me, benefit from that work.
Q. Do you have other sources?
A. Yes, people who know my reputation bring artworks and often ask me to represent them. To find a buyer for their collections. I prefers to work with art that hasn't been exposed on the auction market. These are virgin works. Pieces that have been in the same family or with the same collector since the artist first sold the piece.
Q. How do you market the gallery:
A. I thought initially that I would use this gallery as a base for marketing to the UK and I started doing fairs in London. I regularly did the Watercolours fair in February and Art London in October. An art fair costs about 25K. You have to sell a lot to cover that cost. It's really a marketing action for a gallery and you try to make it pay of course but if it doesn't, you have to see it as marketing. You do, directly meet a lot of people who are real collectors and future clients.
Then you have to utilize all that new information. Create databases, spend money, create newsletters, fliers. That's a huge amount of time writing and communicating. You get the idea.
After the fairs, when the English come to Paris they come to see me. I get on very well with them and they are very loyal. I also have a few American clients who regularly visit when they are in Paris.
I also attend fairs here in Paris and it's the same situation. There's a lot of work involved. I have started exhibiting in fairs in other European countries such as Brussels. but I don't network. I sell art to people who have a mutual feeling for an artists work and I find those people through art fairs and they find me.
Q. What about posters?
A. I did spend a lot of money on posting les affiches all around Paris and I still do posters but it's out of loyalty to the artists because I didn't find that they work. I also placed articles into art magazines but I had to recognise that the results were minimal. Press releases are used promote certain artists but it's not that which brings in collectors.
Now it's art fairs, the telephone and writing to collectors. It's very direct communication,, which wouldn't be possible without going out there and finding them. Things like Christmas cards help and I don't skimp on quality. The paper and printing costs are high.
Being a galerist is a bit of a vocation. It's like being an artist and this gallery is like my home so it has a somewhat relaxed ambiance. People often join me for lunch in the gallery and we discuss art and the fiscal aspect of collecting. I have a lot of credibility when discussing finance because I've managed the fiscal end of construction projects and can explain the benefits of investing in art, in terms of tax. So if we aren't discussing art, we are able to discuss business or Paris.
You can contact Robert Peirce, of Galerie Peirce
By visiting or writing to
Galerie Peirce, Sur cour au 4, rue Quentin Bauchart, 75008 Paris
Metro/ parking: George V
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Saturday, January 14, 2012
- A. No, I didn’t plan on anything. I just came here to live. I started as a language teacher. Paris was very different then. I set up a huge organisation for language teachers, almost by accident. Then In 1986 I set up a language school which I sold in 2006. We had very big contracts with International and French companies. During all this time I was involved in music and theatre had many friends in that world. Naturally, through my language school I made a lot of contacts in the world of business. In 2006 a Japanese company offered to buy the language school and I said yes. In the same year, I set up the art gallery and invited all the people I knew from International companies and contacts in the french administrative system to attend the art vernissages and other events. It took 6 months from the original decision to the opening of the first exhibition but it was a huge success right from the beginning. I’ve been running this gallery for 5 years now but I can’t compare it to the art scene when I first arrived here in Paris because I was totally involved in establishing the language school which had 80 teachers. All my outside interests were in music and theatre.
- A. This was originally my family home so I already had the space and now it’s the gallery.
- A. I don’t know why I did it. I was just following my inspiration. It’s best to follow your desire because you waste a lot of time and energy by trying to understand everything before you take action. The people I worked with during the first exhibitions were of great help. They were art students and they helped with the hanging. I also worked with another gallery to find the artists and we shared the space. So the first exhibitions were a great success and when I opened the doors for the first time it was full. We had a great first response. It was very encouraging.
- A. No but I think that they exist. You see, this is a company but recently I have begun to investigate the advantages of setting up an association and benefiting from the help which associations receive.
- A. The advantage is that if companies buy work over a period of years they get the money back. That’s a big advantage for the companies. There’s no advantage for this gallery but it’s great for the collectors.
- A. I don't know the answer to that. We discuss it often. Everyone discusses it and no one understands why. When I began, it was often passers by who bought art, just because they liked it. However over the last couple of years people seem to be a lot less willing to simply buy art without a direct reason. I do a lot of communication, probably a lot more than other galleries of my size. I’ve sold over a thousand pieces of art over the last 5 years. It’s certain that one of the things which make a big difference to an exhibitions success is the theme. Some shows bring in thousands of visitors.
- A. The sense of meaning in a work & the discourse surrounding it inspires me to show it. Because, having been an english teacher I like words and the meaning in the work gives it a great deal of value to me. The poetry in the work is very important. I like to mix media in the shows too. There are sculptors, paintings, photos, all at the same time. Media can be abstract or figurative.
- A. Yes, I like to work with a lot of galleries. I share artists with galleries and share information as much as possible. That’s very important.
- A. I think a lot of things have changed. There are more ateliers open. People can walk around artists studios and see art in an unstructured manner and many come to see art fairs such as FIAC. Collectors have begun to come to Paris in waves rather than as a steady stream. There are a number of art fairs each year. All of which effect the galleries. I’ve taken part in some but a gallery is better for artists. A lot of people who don’t know a lot about art but who are eager to collect feel compelled to go to big brand galleries which show established names. That’s not the way to start collecting. There is a lot to learn about the process and there is no quick fix. It’s an intellectual as well as emotional/visual process.
- A. Well that depends on a lot of things. It depends on the work, on the artist. The artist and I will discuss that. If I think the price is right I’ll agree with the artist or advise them. Artists don’t realise that they have to have a range of prices. So that people can begin to collect them if they can’t afford a larger piece. People collect not just because of an individual piece but also because they like how the artist thinks.
- A. Unwrapping the art. Discovering a new artist and seeing the work in real life because often you have just seen the pieces on the internet and the real thing is a completely different experience.
- A. Being in the gallery every single day. You want to treat people as you would like to be treated yourself so you give each visitor your best and it can be exhausting. You can’t leave that to someone else.
- A. I have a long list of guests built up over the years.
- A. Not really. I do have art but I don’t consider myself to be a collector.
- A. I don’t think that’s the right question. I think that you have to be in the right circles to open a gallery. It can be very expensive either way. Paying assistants. Putting up posters. Organising receptions. Contacting journalists. Creating communications in different magazines. So it’s very expensive but if you are in the right circles, with people who collect, it’s possible to make it work. Then there is the keeping everything clean and you have to create a book for each artist and each show.
- A. No I like to promote a core group but I also like to add to them all the time. I am very loyal to the artists that I like but the stimulation of the new is very important. The artists like it too.
Painting by Matthew Grabelsky
Title: A weight on his mind
27, rue KellerParis, 11e
ouverture du mercredi au samedi de 13h à 19h
mardi et dimanche de 16h à 19h
Métro : Bastille
Tel: 01 43 57 08 51
The exhibition is a collaborative effort between Dorothy's Gallery, Liba Waring Stambollion and Santiago Rebeiro, who is the curator and the founder of the show (which has already taken place in Portugal). It is a show which is showcased and partially funded by Bissaya Barreto.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Paris Gallery interviews:
Mariska Hammoudi is the owner of a gallery in the 16eme arrondissement of Paris. It's a very unusual gallery but like most is run by a person passionate about the arts. Ms Hammoudi is a graduate of the Beaux Arts. Her facination is with the history of arts and her passion is to promote and develop her gallery and diffuse an awareness of her artists among the world of collectors. She only exhibits figurative art and has a facination for the renaissance though she appreciates many other forms of representational style.
In france, art collectors are referred to as Les Amateurs d'art. The term comes from a french magazine of the same name and although the magazine ceased after the death of Michel Boutin, the director in the early 1990's, the term is still used today for those who search for and collect the work of artists in France. So don't be confused if you hear the expression being used to describe you.
So what makes this gallery different to others? It's quiet simply the very personal nature of it. You won't find this gallery behind a shop window or see signs directing you to it. You have to know of it. To have been introduced or invited to attend. Her gallery is in her apartment and effectively all of the space within, has been dedicated to the exhibition of works of art. This is a sacrifice in a city where space is at a premium but as Ms Hamoudi says, the art on the walls is the art which she chooses to live with.
The process of choosing an artist is also very personal. To exhibit in her space a fusion between the gallerist and the artist must take place. Together they dicuss each others lives and interests and slowly come to a conclusion resulting in a theme for the exhibiton. It is a mutual conclusion and in the case of the current exhibition which is by Yoomi Ha, a Korean artist and the first non french and autodidact artist to have exhibited here, the theme is secrets.
When you look around the room you wonder how these images could refer to secrets in the life of this young gallerist but she assures me that there are elements in each piece which profoundly remind her of events in her life and the world around her. When discussing the subject she mentioned that to French people and Europeans in general, secrets are something worth learning and even hunting for but most especially they are worth keeping.
What is the future for this gallery? Her intention is to enlarge it but to never have a gallery which has a shop window or which doesn't look like a persons home. Her reasons are simple and I agree with them. Typcially a gallery is an artificial impersonal, sterile space, often with high ceilings and very strong lighting. They can alienate visitors who often cannot imagine the works on display, ever fitting into their home. Here though you can see how, even a large painting (and there are sev eral among her private collection) can easily become a part of the living experience of a typical home, even on the scale of an average Paris apartment.
So how does an Amateur des Arts visit this space if it does not have a typical shop window? To visit a vernissage requires an invitation or to go with someone who has one. Alternately you may visit at any other time by making an appointment. She is happy to show interested people around the space and discuss the works on show. The current exhibition ends 16 décembre 2011.
To visit the gallery website: http://www.galeriemariskahammoudi.com/ and to arrange an appointment simply email email@example.com
The bar is full of custom designed posters. Each one painted by an artist who visited the bar at some stage. They have great taste in artists as all the images are really inspiring.
The posters can be collected by guests of the restaurant and seem to be very popular.
Saturday, November 05, 2011
Here is a short summery of his history:
Born in 1395. From the age of 17 he was already recognised as an illuminator/illustrator of books, so he could read as well as paint. He became a friar in a Dominican order based in Tuscany. In 1436 he moved to the nearby town of Florence which was the centre of artistic activity at the time. It was here that he came under the influience of the Medici family. He had an enormous effect on the world of art in Italy at the time and died in Rome in 1455. In 1982 he was beatified by Pope John Paul II and is now recognised as the patron saint of artists.
Fra Angelico was a bookmark in history. Things changed at this time for artists and culture in general. We came out of the middle ages and science began to emerge as a wave of questioning and intellectual freedom swept Europe and a wealthy merchant class encouraged the patronage of the arts.
They did this to encourage commerce within the trading centres where they lived. Huge amounts of money were offered to artists and artisans at the time to permanently enrich cities such as Florence in order to attract other traders and their clients. Much like Paris, to this day, Florence continues to be enriched by the heritage which those merchants left behind. Today, Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates is in the process of creating a similar heritage which will enrich future generations.
What changed in art at the time of Fra Angelico was the manner and medium of representing religious images. Oil paint was migrating from Northern Europe to Italy and replacing the more labour intensive and restrictive media of egg tempera. Not only could artists work with more freedom but they could represent light, through colour, in a richer manner.
Something else happened at this time . Artists began to draw in a more realistic manner. It was, as some suggest, the use of mirrors and lens which brought this about. However, not directly because these were the closely guarded secrets of the Dutch artists and would not become known in Italy for some time.
The fact that some Dutch artists had been using these methods and Italian patrons had begun collecting their art, raised the bar, on expectations for the quality of the art, which they commissioned. Eventully the secrets of the use of lens and mirrors would arrive in Italy too.
Before that, a greater emphasis on the ability to draw and represent concepts in a beautiful and realistic manner grew out of the aspirations created by Dutch art. Scientific methods began to be used. Understanding of perspective were further developed by artists and utilized in their works. New chemistry arrived and techniques which allowed paintings to last a very long time were employed.
Fra Angelico was a master of this. His pure mind, ability to create beautiful compositions as well as his understanding of the painting media, allowed him to make a mark which still communicates to us today. His works are dramatically different to those of his fellow artists and the way he has represented people, saints and angels as well as his marvelous compositions, symbology, use of colour and gold are even now, inspiring to all artists and collectors.
The exhibition is well worth visiting and is beautifully curated, as usual, in the musée Jacquemart-Andre.
As a side note, for Irish visitors, there are three panels from the Irish, National Gallery of Art, in the Paris exhibition.
Thursday, November 03, 2011
If you are interested in french culture, quality craftsmanship, painting (in the craft sense), art restoration, restoration of buildings, or just want to get a real sense of how enormously motivated the french are to preserve their historical roots, then visit the Salon du Patrimoine. It's a blend of high tech and traditional crafts, usually blending seamlessly together in ways that are very surprising.
The salon takes place annually in the Carrousel du Louvre, just beside the upturned pyramid. The dates this year, are from the 3 - 6th of November.
99 rue de Rivoli
75039 Paris 75001
tel:+33 (0)1 43 16 47 47
You will meet extremely helpful and friendly french people with exacting knowledge of their specialisation. A picture tells a thousand words so here are a few to give you an idea of what it's like.
Quality oozes out of everything.
Very impresive reproduction carpentry everywhere although that's not the issue here. They are displaying handmade, individually designed, objet d'art and jewellery boxs.
Monday, October 10, 2011
H+F CURATORIAL GRANT 2012
The "H+F Curatorial Grant 2012" is an ambitious and original initiative which allows the FRAC Nord–Pas de Calais (Dunkirk/France) in close partnership with the private collector Han Nefkens (H+F Collection), to give young international curators the opportunity to participate in the development of exhibition projects based on the collection.
This grant which was launched in 2007 offers emerging art coordinators and curators a unique infrastructure and environment with free access to a research and documentation centre as well as to one of the best French collections of contemporary art. The FRAC acts as the first intermediary for these future professionals of contemporary art by helping them to develop and implement their projects.
She / he will receive in exchange a grant for 12 months (2012) that will help finance her/his living and travel expenses. An excellent knowledge of Dutch and English is required, knowledge of French would be helpful. The candidate will have to install her/himself in Dunkirk for the mentioned period.
This project has been made possible thanks to the generous support of Han Nefkens (journalist, writer and art collector), which enables the FRAC Nord-Pas de Calais to reinforce the development of a strong and active policy of patronage around its activity.
Please send your application containing a recent CV (including a photograph), a exhibition project based on the collection of the FRAC Nord-Pas de Calais (max 1 A4) and an motivation letter before October 17th, 2011 to:
FRAC Nord-Pas de Calais : Hilde Teerlinck, 930 avenue de Rosendaël, 59240 Dunkerque (France)
Tel. 03 28 65 84 20
Friday, October 07, 2011
by sandy mcneal October 6, 2011 at 9:49 pm :
Fuck off you bunch of miserable slackers! You give the appearnce that all artists are a host of mooching sucks who could never make it in the real world. Use all the quotes you want, the reality is that you have no concept of reality and I wouldn’t associate myself nor my art with an effort like yours. It’s time the play-date party got a reality check and quit living off your parent’s dime or the government dole!My reply:
This is a vital event in the life of the flailing American social and political body, which was virtually dead intil this point.
An electric shock treatment. An injection of adrenalin. A sudden waking up and switching off of the media lie. An eyes wide open, consciousness of the manipulation which tells us, it is patriotic to do nothing, to not question, to lie to ourselves.
Wakefullness. Learning to resist. Choosing. Refusing to comply with fulcrums of financial muscle who exercise no social consciousness.
If a corporation is a person, what kind of person are they? What kind of person rises to the top of such a being! With such people in such positions, no other environment, other than this, could or can exist. It will always repeat itself as long as thinly veiled psychopaths are rewarded with authority. Others will envy them, climb to the top, repeat the cycle.
Corporation must come to an end or be reborn, with a new structure, new desires, goals and obligations.
If it is a person, it should be a person you would welcome into your own home. Not someone you would tolerate as long as they are separated by walls and a fence.
Employees should not be obliged to have split personalities, to go to work. They should not feel repulsed by the structure within which they work and which they keep alive.
Success should not be doomed to create misery from the very start. But now, no other ultimate outcome is possible, when it is populated by an army of people trained from birth to make profit over people, over environment, over peace.