COLLECTOR’S FORUM: The Passionate Pursuit

Our first COLLECTOR’S FORUM workshop was this Friday, and the gallery was packed! We covered every angle of art collecting, from buying and selling to consignment agreements, insurance and art conservation. Event participants received a special packet at the end of the event with a comprehensive write-up on art collecting by Lawrence. Check out his beautiful introduction on the ‘passionate pursuit’ below, and come to our second workshop on Friday, October 24 to see our presentation and get the rest of the packet. Seats are limited, so make sure to contact us if you’d like to reserve a spot.

Collector's Forum- Art Collectors Workshop- Matthews Gallery blogLawrence Matthews and Matt Horowitz discuss a 17th century painting attributed to Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer

Close your eyes for a moment and think of a great piece of art you’ve seen and remember the way it made you feel. Was it was a sculpture, a painting or a drawing? Maybe it was a portrait or a landscape or an abstract. Maybe you saw it in a hometown gallery, in an artist’s studio, or in Paris walking through the Louvre. Wherever it was, remember that moment where you were overcome by that artwork, when you were flooded with a feeling that that swept you outside of yourself and put you in touch with something powerful and moving.

That is the true essence of art. The feeling you remember connects you to something deep within the human spirit and reminds you of what it means to be truly alive. It has nothing to do with money or the fame of the artist or how the art decorates a room. It has to do with the pure joy of imagination and creativity and our desire for beauty and intellectual enrichment.

Art Conservator Matt Horowitz at Collectors Forum- Matthews Gallery

Fine art conservator Matt Horowitz talks about caring for art with our oil painting by A.J. Barry

Now, imagine another scenario. You and your spouse live in a small apartment. You both have low paying jobs but are passionate about art. You develop a plan and over the course of several years of collecting you amass 4,782 artworks many of which are considered masterpieces. You even give 2500 works from your collection to 50 museums around the country. You do all this when the highest yearly salary you ever earned was $23,000. This is the story of Herb and Dorothy Vogel – two of the greatest art collectors in recent memory.

How did they do it with so little money? First, they developed a plan, then they learned as much as they could about art – they read; they took classes; they talked to artists, gallery owners, museum curators and other collectors. They became knowledgeable, focused on the type of collection they wanted, and excited about building it. Eventually they built it into one of the greatest art collections of the 20th century.

Collecting art can enrich your life and potentially create a valuable asset for you and your heirs. Following are strategies you will need to create, maintain and grow your art collection whether you decide to focus on just a few pieces or enough to fill a museum. These insights and practical advice will help you achieve your collecting goals.

Building an art collection involves four main areas:
1. Learning About Art
2. Buying Art
3. Caring For Art
4. Selling Art

Get the details on all  of these pursuits next Friday at COLLECTOR’S FORUM Workshop 2, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for daily gallery news.

FOUR CENTURIES: Monnoyer’s Mark

Still life attributed to Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer- Matthews Gallery blog

We discovered this still life at the preview of a Santa Fe estate sale. It was tucked in a dark upstairs corner of the house, far from the Picasso print and treasure trove of art books on prominent display in the living room. Lawrence lingered for a while to take in the flamboyant bouquet with its rich rosy tones. There was an excited glint in his eye.

A few months later, the painting has found a home under the glowing lights of our European art room. We know a lot more about it now than when it first caught Lawrence’s fancy. It’s attributed to Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer (1636-1699), a 17th century Franco-Flemish painter who wielded his brush for Louis XIV. Its siblings hang in some of France and England’s most famous estates.

Our adobe art abode is a very different venue, but this 300-year-old artwork gives us the opportunity to transport gallery visitors across the sea and through the ages. Look below to chase Monnoyer through the palaces where he left his mark, and don’t miss the painting’s debut at our opening for FOUR CENTURIES: European Art from 1600 to 1950 on Friday, June 13 from 5-7 pm.

Hôtel Lambert- Site of artwork by Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer- Matthews Gallery Blog

Our first stop is the Hotel Lambert on the Ile Saint-Louis, site of Monnoyer’s first Parisian commission in 1650. The artist grew up in Lille, France and trained in Antwerp, but it was the lavish estates in and around Paris that claimed his considerable interior decorating talents. Monnoyer’s floral designs in the grand mansion would delight its many owners and guests for centuries to come, from a famous Polish political salon to Voltaire, Chopin, Balzac, Delacroix and Dali. Unfortunately, the Hotel Lambert was badly damaged in a 2013 fire and is under renovation.

Chateau de Marly- Site of artwork by Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer-  Matthews Gallery Blog

 

Artist Charles Le Brun, who painted a series of renowned ceiling frescoes at the Hotel Lambert, brought Monnoyer along for a commission at Louis XIV’s Chateau de Marly. The (relatively) small country estate was the king’s escape from the more rigid world of Versailles, and aristocrats fiercely battled for a chance to stay there. Alas, the twelve pavilions that flanked the water and their intricately adorned interiors are long gone, but the commission launched Monnoyer into a new stratosphere.

Palace of Versailles- Site of artwork by Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer- Matthews Gallery Blog

Monnoyer worked with Le Brun once again on the ornamentation of the Palace of Versailles. For this and other high profile royal projects, he developed a style that was far removed from his training in the subdued still life painting techniques of the Low Countries. The bold, ornamental approach is in full force in our still life, recalling the spectacular garlands of flowers he painted on the ceiling of the Queen’s pavilion at the Chateau de Vincennes. Monnoyer also made reference sketches and etchings for French tapestry workshops, greatly influencing European decorative styles for years to come.

Boughton House- Site of artwork by Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer- Matthews Gallery Blog

A commission from the Montagu House in London drew Monnoyer away from Paris in 1690. He adorned dozens of panels with fruits and vegetables and painted several portraits, some of which now reside in the state rooms of Northamptonshire’s Boughton House. The artist remained in England until his death in 1699, but his distinctly French style lived on in the artwork of two of his sons.

Make sure to attend the opening of our FOUR CENTURIES exhibition on Friday, June 13 from 5-7 pm, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr for daily gallery news.