TEXAS: AN ARTFUL ALLIANCE

TEXAS: AN ARTFUL ALLIANCE

Above image: RED by Linda Pace

Image: Mark Rothko, Untitled, 1957, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington, gift of The Mark Rothko Foundation, Inc. © 1998 by Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko. At the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

PAINTING THE PICTURE

The art scene in Texas is complex with a myriad of collectors, arts and organizations who only want the best for the state’s cultural future. Here, San Antonio and New York’s Ruiz-Healy Art Gallery owner Patricia Ruiz-Healy, PhD. and Lance Avery Morgan gather to share ideas about the state of the union of the art scene In Texas these days.

Ruiz-Healy Art Gallery’s Patricia Ruiz-Healy, PhD. is a wealth of knowledge and is privy to so much art. When asked what she’s seeing these days that she loves, because she sees a lot, she’s quick to share, “There are so many strong exhibits, from the current Blanton Museum Words Matters show about the importance of language in Latin America and Latinx artists, to the Museum of Fine Art Houston’s Kindred Spirits presenting the work of two women artists Louise Nevelson and Texan Dorothy Hood. Organizations are including more and more Latinx artists’ works (a person of Latin American origin or descent that offers a gender-neutral alternative to Latino or Latina) to their surveys and more exhibits are now comprised of women artists. I am all for inclusivity in art. Plus, the programming at the Dallas Museum of Art, their Jonas Wood survey comes to mind, as well as El Paso Museum of Art who just had their 5th Transborder Biennial with good critical and public success are examples of the breadth of art here.

Miguel Covarrubias mural with Henry Moore sculpture at Dallas Museum of Art

There are so many art-focused organizations have raised funds for the arts and arts-related organizations like Two X Two in Dallas, Glasstire in Houston, The Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, The Contemporary Austin, and more. She shares, “It’s pretty comparable to fundraising in major art centers. The largest one in Texas, which I know of, is the Two x Two gala where almost 10 million dollars was raised recently. Texans are very generous human beings,” confides Ruiz-Healy.

So much so, that according to the Texas Cultural Trust’s 2019 State of the Art’s Report, the economic research, compiled from state and federal data sets, shows that taxable revenue from the arts and culture industry has grown by 15.5% over the past decade and in 2017 alone, the arts and culture industry generated $5.59 billion in taxable sales for the Texas economy, totaling nearly $350 million dollars in state sales tax revenue. The report also details the impact of the arts on Texas’ travel and tourism industry, which surpassed $75 billion in 2017, an approximate 9% increase from 2015. What a significant presence the state has in the world of culture.

We know that contemporary art and artists are abundant in Texas. The trends she is exposed to, and recommends investing in with Texas artists are plentiful. “If I were to place a bet, I will do it in African-American and Latinx artists. I think that the general public is just beginning to notice the amazing art contributions that Latinx artists are making,” says Ruiz-Healy. Texas has always had strong artists, Robert Rauschenberg and Julian Schnabel, just to mention two, whose 20th century works revolutionize what It was to create American Art. Now we have solid MFA programs and serious art programs in world class museums like The Menil Collection in Houston, the Nasher Sculpture Garden in Dallas and the McNay Art Museum and internationally recognize artists in residence programs like Artpace, San Antonio and the Core program at the MFA Houston. From these places artists are creating more significant work that has to do with today’s, and future, concerns.”

The McNay Art Museum is an interesting example of a cultural institution’s longtime presence in the state and according to them it engages a diverse community in the discovery and enjoyment of the visual arts. Built in the 1920s by artist and educator Marion Koogler McNay, the Spanish Colonial Revival residence became the site of Texas’s first museum of modern art when it opened in 1954. Today, more than 140,000 visitors a year enjoy works by modern masters from around the world. The 23 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds include engaging sculptures and space for meditative contemplation. The 45,000 square-foot Jane & Arthur Stieren Center for Exhibitions features three significant exhibitions annually. For 65 years, the McNay has enchanted visitors with its art, architecture, and ambiance. The museum offers rich and varied exhibitions as well as rotating displays in the Main Collection Galleries from the 20,000 works in the collection; more than 45,000 adults, teachers, students, and families take advantage of a variety of education programs and innovative educational resources.

In San Antonio the Linda Pace Foundation’s new Ruby City project is also of note in the art world.  Set to open in the fall of 2019, it will surely be recognized around the world as a major force. Ruby City, a new contemporary art center, will open to the public on October 13, 2019, 12 years after the vision for the building was first imagined by the late Pace. Home to the organization’s growing permanent collection, the building is designed by Adjaye Associates in collaboration with Alamo Architects, and is dedicated to providing a space for the city’s thriving creative community to experience works by both local and internationally-acclaimed artists. The design for the 14,000 square-foot building is inspired, in part, by the Spanish Missions found throughout the Southwest, constructed by the Spanish Empire during the 16th to 19th centuries. The exterior skin consists of a precast concrete fabricated in Mexico City, which has been imbued with a rich red giving the building its ruby glow. For the first ten feet up, the concrete is a polished finish, ground smoothly to be touched by passersby; above, the concrete wall is rough, sharp, and encrusted with varying shades of red glass. Two crowning lanterns adorn the top of the structure, creating an animated roofline that in turn draws natural light into the gallery spaces.  The interior entrance and lobby have also been constructed in the same crimson hue, preserve Pace’s original vision of a “ruby city.”

Artpace is another part of San Antonio’s art scene and is unique in many ways. In 24 years, they’ve showcased 239 artists, been awarded three Golden Lions, seven Turner Prizes, eight MacArthur Foundation grants, 17 Joan Mitchell Foundation grants and 46 Whitney Biennial Artists have been selected.

THE COLLECTOR’S EYE

When buying a piece of art, or collaborate with an artist or gallery, there are the several qualities of the artist, and their art. According to Ruiz-Healy, “I look for a new voice that talks about meaningful life aspects and formal elements have to be solid. In other words, the work message has to be resilient and has to look like it was done properly and professionally. The intersection of art and architecture is something that talks to me in a deeper level. I appreciate visiting wonderful sites where I can have a moving experience. Great architecture in museums, for example, is today’s cathedrals. This is one of the reasons that art people love visiting Marfa with their incredible work left by Donald Judd and his friends. That’s why I also believe that art galleries are never going to disappear because we want to experience art in a dedicated space.”

 Then there are the art fairs the Dallas Art Fair, Pop Austin, Houston Art Fair and events in San Antonio at that level. They are good for both collectors and artists, she says.Dallas does a very good job with their fair and so does the McNay Art Museum with their print and works on paper art fair. The McNay one has been going on for 23 years and it’s the only event of this type in the whole Southwest. To have a good art scene you have to have three things: artists, museums that showcase their work and art collectors. These three items go hand in hand.”

 Collectors like Kenny Goss of the Goss-Michael Foundation and Howard and Cindy Rachofsky, both in Dallas, are stewarding private collections with a non-profit point of view is a path for the future. “I think that private collections, in dedicated spaces like Goss-Michael, the Rachofskys in Dallas, and the Dallas Cowboys AT&T Stadium, do a good service to the community because they can inspire more art collecting and preservation. But at the end of the day you have to make active those spaces with meaningful programming otherwise you run the risk of deactivation,” states Ruiz-Healy.

 If you are buying contemporary is important to buy with both the eye and the brains. Try to take your time in finding out why is a specific work talking to you. Here are three tips, according to Patricia Ruiz-Healy:

  1. Read the artist’s CV and biography.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to the gallery director.
  3. Don’t make rush decisions, most galleries can put a work in hold for a brief period of time; and please don’t ever buy art in cruise ships or along the seine river.

 The relationship between the artist/gallerist and the artwork buyer is important, shares Healy. “I have art collectors who only buy artists that they know personally, but most of my buyers don’t know the artist personally. As a gallerist the personal connection is very important, but I sell quite a bit electronically and in fairs where nobody knows me. At the end of the day is all about the work and that’s the way it should be. Collectors have so much information so now it’s easier to make decisions based on research.”

 When asked what the perfect age for a collector to begin collecting is, Healy confides her point of view.You can start as a ten-year-old with an original print that speaks to you. Print-making techniques like woodcut, lithography, etching, etc. have been around for centuries. There is this misconception that prints are not original, yet they definitely are because they were created with a specific technique in mind. The difference between print and paintings is that they are not unique. Printmaking usually forms part of a limited edition.”

 We believe that art influences culture and fashion in Texas and Ruiz-Healy agrees.  “Nowadays with digital information so engrained in our lives the intersections of art, culture, fashion, and food are more and more married. I think that culture influences art and very frequently art inspires fashion. We all live feeding each other in more ways that we can think of.”

 In fact, art affects and influences every Texan, shares Ruiz-Healy.Art can be many things for different people. In general good art has a distinctive presence and is many times a conversation piece. Texans enjoy beautiful clothes, homes, gardens and you have to have the art for to make your surroundings more special. The level of sophistication that art brings to a home cannot be match by anything else. You can have a beautiful hand painted wall paper but it’s just a nice wall paper it’s not a timeless work of art.”

“Good art is a special paragon of a club where most informed and sophisticated people want to belong to,” she says and we couldn’t agree more as the landscape of the Texas art scene will continue to revolve.

AMARILLO MUSEUM OF ART

The Amarillo Museum of Art plays a significant role in the cultural offerings of the Texas Panhandle.  With a robust schedule of temporary exhibitions, there is always something new to experience at AMoA.  Museum visitors can expect to see outstanding works of art from a variety of sources including contemporary artists, historically significant works, and the Dr. and Mrs. William T. Price Collection that includes Indian and Southeast Asian sculpture, middle-eastern textiles, and Japanese woodblock prints.

Other significant landmarks in Amarillo include Ant Farm’s Cadillac Ranch, the original structure that inspired Ed Ruscha’s iconic painting and print series Standard Station, Amarillo, and Robert Smithson’s Amarillo Ramp (appointment only).  Centrally located in the Texas Panhandle and geographically isolated from metropolitan areas, the AMoA provides important and diverse visual arts programming. AMoA is located on the Washington Street campus of Amarillo College and is close to I-40, I-27 and historic Route 66.

For more information, visit AmarilloArt.org

ART MUSEUM OF SOUTH TEXAS

The Art Museum of South Texas, an architectural gem on the Corpus Christi Bayfront, enlivens the Texas Coast with its sophisticated permanent collection as well as traveling exhibits and enrichment opportunities for adults and families.

The gleaming white walls of the AMST have been a landmark. Designed by architectural icon Philip Johnson, the three-level facility is constructed of poured white concrete and shell aggregate radiate the South Texas heat and light. Internationally renowned architect Ricardo Legorreta of Mexico designed the major 2006 expansion that features 13 rooftop pyramids as well as stunning use of color and light. The addition doubled the gallery and exhibition space and added an expanded museum store and café that overlooks the bay and ship channel.

AMST’s permanent collection includes nearly 2,000 works reflecting the museum’s focus on the Americas with interest in Texas and the region, including Mexico.

For more information, visit ArtMuseumOfSouthTexas.org

 

Image: Art Museun of South Texas

BLANTON MUSEUM OF ART, THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN

In Austin, Artists with Plenty to Say

Political.  Poetic.  Personal. 

These are just a few adjectives that describe the work in Words/Matter: Latin American Art and Language at the Blanton, on view through May 26 at Austin’s Blanton Museum of Art.

And here’s another must-see.

You really don’t want to miss this show, featuring 50 artists from across Latin America using language, letters, and words to make statements that range from the thought-provoking to the playful. It’s a colorful and diverse exhibition of more than 150 works that include sculpture, screen prints, and even Mail Art. What’s more, this timely exhibition highlights one of the Blanton’s undeniable strengths, its renowned Latin American Art collection. Notable artists such as Carlos Amorales, Ana Bella Geiger, Lilian Porter, and Joaquin Torres-Garcia are included.

Whether you’re in Austin for a business deal or a graduation celebration, make time to see Words/Matter. Chances are, you’ll leave with yet another word in mind: inspired.

For more information visit BlantonMuseum.org

Image: Make Tacos Not War by Alejandro Diaz. On loan by Carolyn Farb, Houston

David LarnEd

David Larned is a nationally renowned portrait painter based in Houston. He paints commissioned portraits for both private families and public institutions alike. Recently he completed a double portrait of former President George H.W. and former First Lady Barbara Bush for Methodist Hospital in Houston.

His paintings hang in museums, state capitals, court houses, universities, hospitals, clubs, corporations, and many private homes from Texas to Singapore. To see more of his work, or commission a painting, you can connect directly.

For more information, visit DavidLarned.com

 

Image: Former President George H.W. Bush and Former First Lady Barbara Bush

INSIGHT GALLERY

InSight Gallery represents a select group of the finest painters and sculptors living and working today in landscape, figurative, impressionistic, still life, wildlife and Western art. We are located in charming Fredericksburg, Texas, a thriving tourist destination in the Hill Country.

Housed in a beautifully restored building that originally dates to 1907, InSight Gallery boasts 8,000 square feet of show space in an environment designed to feel like a museum. Home to numerous award winning Prix de West, Autry/Masters of the American West, Quest for the West, Briscoe Night of Artists, Cowboy Artists of America (CAA), American Impressionist Society Masters and Oil Painters of America (OPA) signature members and Master Artist, InSight Gallery has a diverse body of work at any given time.

Sixty of the most well-recognized representational artists from throughout the United States, and six from overseas, are all housed under one roof making InSight Gallery a must see destination for art lovers.

For more information, visit InsightGallery.com

Image: Awaiting the Great Spirits by Jeremy Winborg, Oil, 30x34.5

 

KERRVILLE FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS

Spend Memorial Day weekend in the beautiful Hill Country at the 6th Annual Kerrville Festival of the Arts.  Held May 25th and 26th in historic downtown Kerrville, this outdoor juried show features the work of more than 120 artists working in mediums including painting, sculpture, glass, metal work, fiber, jewelry, leather and photography. Artisans and crafters from across the state and beyond offer high-quality creations to suit everyone’s taste and budget. 

Exhibitors include Houston artist Inga Godejord whose one-of-a-kind hand-painted designs on French Jacquard silk dyes are exquisite, and award-winning Austin goldsmith Steve Kriechbaum, whose timeless jewelry creations encompass both traditional and contemporary elements. Hill Country wood sculptor Ted Armulowicz creates heirloom-quality pieces sourced with wood from natural habitats, influenced with organic simplicity and natural edges and  hand finished with natural oils.

For more information, visit  KVArtFest.org

RIVERS EDGE GALLERY, KERRVILLE

Looking for that perfect Hill Country vista to hang above the mantle? Or, perhaps a more contemporary piece to tie your living space together? Whatever your taste may be, River’s Edge Gallery is sure to have that perfect piece to breathe life into your home. 

Aside from beautiful, traditional and contemporary works of art we also specialize in custom framing and fine art printing. We use museum materials so your treasures will last and we also specialize in shadowboxing heirlooms and in the restoration and cleaning of oil paintings. We have established an artists’ guild, The Big Bag Art Gang, which will be here painting new pieces before your eyes as we showcase the talent of these contemporary artists. Stop in and strike up a conversation with our local artist and be sure to bring your friends. 

For more information, visit RiversEdgeGallery.net

KGS STUDIOS

In today’s world we are inundated with immediacy, with more demands on our attention than we can accommodate. A century ago, we had more time to reflect on the importance of our legacies and how we wished to be remembered.

Throughout history, the portrait has defined how an individual has been remembered. Great care has always gone into its preparation and creation.

KGS Studios offers you a place to commission your own portrait as past generations did theirs. Here, you choose how you wish to be remembered and we have the ability to execute your vision masterfully.

It's no mistake that people from all over the world are choosing us to craft their legacy. Learn what they know by scheduling a visit.

For more information, visit www.KGSStudios.com

TRACY WILLIAMS

Contemporary artist Tracy Williams addresses the place of and beyond an earthly plane, inspired by the wonders of flora and fauna, land and sky. 

Abstract expressionism is rooted by a family legacy of artists. Williams often returns to memories of producing art at an early age: clay-making and discovering color. This influence energized Williams to produce a more committed body of work, and still guides her study today. 

Her paintings demonstrate continuity and meditation in movement through the energy, emotion, and gestural exploration of her brush stroke, line and color mixtures. 

Williams lives in San Antonio and creates in her personal studio. Her work has been exhibited locally at Blue Star Contemporary, The McNay Museum of Art, Southwest School of Art, AnArte Gallery, and the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center. 

For more information, visit TracyWilliamsContemporary.com

VOGT GALLERIES

World Record Results: Over $1,000,000 sold in Texas and Western art in 2018.

Since 2013, Vogt Galleries has been a leader in the growing Texas Art auction market. Based in Dallas and San Antonio, fine art specialist Katy Alexander curates quarterly Texas art auctions and takes pride in making this category stand out as one of our most popular and successful. Save the date for auctions in August and October 2019.

We are always seeking quality consignments in Texas Art from the following artists and others like: Julian Onderdonk, Robert Onderdonk, Jose Arpa, G. Harvey, Porfirio Salinas, Jose Vives-Atsara, Dawson Dawson-Watson, Mary Bonner, Frank Reaugh, Helen Hunter, Rolla Taylor, Robert Wood, Paul Rodda Cook, W.A. Slaughter, Exa Wall, Santa Duran, Harry Anthony De Young, DeForrest Judd, Everett Spruce, and Otis Dozier. 

Contact Katy Alexander for a complimentary evaluation of your collection or estate.

For more information, visit VogtAuction.com

Image: Etching by Mary Bonner

 

ANARTE GALLERY

AnArte Gallery exhibits contemporary art in all media by established and emerging artists. They assist collectors of all levels in the primary and secondary art markets and provide a detailed background to all works of art it represents.

The gallery’s mission is to be an innovative and compelling gallery where the public can directly experience the work and ideas of living artists and understand the historical, social, and cultural context of the art of our time. The gallery maintains a monthly solo or group exhibit for gallery artists, which also features live music supporting local musicians.

In addition, AnArte Gallery has offered art-consulting services to the residents, corporate businesses, and visitors of San Antonio since 2001. Ana Montoya, the founder and owner, represents emerging and established local and international artists, and works closely to support local non-profits within the vibrant artist community.

For more information, visit AnarteGallery09.com

Image: Steve DaLuz. Voyager, 48x60. Oil, metal leaf on panel. Private collection.

ARTpace

Artpace San Antonio is a nonprofit residency program which supports regional, national, and international artists in the creation of new art. As a catalyst for artistic expression, we engage local communities with global art practices and experiences.

Since 1995, Artpace has brought over 300 artists and curators to San Antonio and commissioned and produced thousands of works of new art. Dozens of alumni from Artpace’s International Artist-in-Residence Program have shown in Biennials in Venice and New York. 

They have been nominated for and won seven Turner Prizes and accumulated eight MacArthur Foundation Genius Grants and 17 Joan Mitchell Foundation Grants. In our 25th year, Artpace strives to be a creative laboratory that uses art to produce a lasting impact on the lives of the arts community in San Antonio and around the world. Make art happen.

For more information, visit Artpace.org

CINNABAR ART GALLERY

Cinnabar Art Gallery, located in the Blue Star Arts complex, specializes in contemporary art, outdoor sculpture, minerals, jewelry design, and custom framing. 

On May 17, the main gallery will be presenting an exhibition featuring eight paintings from the series of twenty paintings entitled Bruce Lee Shoes by internationally renowned artist Emanuel De Sousa.

De Sousa transforms the traditional figurative portrait style by delivering it with a pop “edge” connecting the viewer to a point in space where nostalgia and excitement intersect. The narratives in the paintings are complex and translate like a dream: they are tiny closed universes where absurd, nonsensical realities make sense. Whether it is the nod to the iconic omnipresent Bruce Lee yellow suit or the texture of the porcelain dogs and mylar balloons, the viewer feels comfort that the elements belong in spite of defying rational behavior.


De Sousa’s series offers a glimpse into the crossover connection of the childhoods of hippies, hipsters, martial arts enthusiasts, rockabillies, and 80s babies. He creates a place where these potentially conflicting worlds co-exist.

For more information, visit CinnabarArt.com

Image: Bruce Lee Shoes lV by Emanuel De Sousa

FELDER GALLERY

Felder Gallery was founded on the Texas Coast in 2004. Felder Gallery, LLC was formed in 2017 and reopened in Alamo Heights in San Antonio. Their revolving exhibits include a mix of contemporary representational art and pure abstracts. There are over 100 works of art rotating through the gallery’s salon-style wall while other walls are reserved for themed solo or group shows, including their highly anticipated Contemporary Western Group Show held each December.

Felder Gallery has also partnered with San Antonio’s The St. Anthony Hotel, where their stable of artists’ works intertwine with culinary craftsmanship in the hotel’s stunning atrium. Our artists include: Billy Schenck (shown), Miles Glynn (shown), Shelia Rogers, Clay McGaughy and Cliff Cavin. A complete list of artists and artworks are available at our website.

For more information, visit FelderGallery.com

Image: Miles Glynn- Horse No. 21, Archival print on Belgian linen

KERRVILLE CVB

Only a scenic hour drive west of San Antonio is a true Hill Country paradise. In Kerrville, the accommodations are first-rate, the scenery is majestic and the people are friendly. Stroll a charming and historic downtown nestled along the banks of the Guadalupe River while you browse one-of-a-kind treasures made by area artists and crafts experts at the Kerrville Festival of the Arts.

Be sure to explore our western heritage at the Museum of Western Art and experience our natural beauty with a visit to the Riverside Nature Center.

Thanks to a mild climate and event-filled calendar every season offers an array of activities to enjoy, you’ll find there’s never a wrong time to plan a trip to Kerrville, the capital of the Texas Hill Country.

For more information, visit KerrvilleTexasCVB.com

THE MUSEUM OF WESTERN ART, KERRVILLE

The timeless mystique of the old west is what draws most people to The Museum of Western Art in Kerrville.  Situated high on a hill overlooking the city, the bold structure was designed by famed Texas architect O’Neil Ford and features a rugged hacienda-type exterior and manicured grounds graced by larger-than-life size bronzes.  

The 14,000 square feet of interior space houses an impressive permanent collection of 250 paintings and 150 sculptures, all done by past and present renowned western artists. Distinctive handcrafted Boveda ceilings, end-cut mesquite wood and Saltillo tile flooring combine with a multitude of western artifacts and priceless art to leave a lasting impression on all who visit this Hill Country treasure.

Upcoming special exhibits include: 

May 4–June 29: The American Plains Artists Signature Show

September 6–October 31:  36th Annual Western Art Exhibition & Sale 

For more information, visit MuseumofWesternArt.com

Image: Navajo Way by Jammey Huggins, American Plains Artists exhibit

SARAH PALMER

Contemporary artist Sarah Palmer, a native of San Antonio, Texas, earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Texas in Austin in 2015, and afterwards studied at the Florence Academy of Art. Currently, Palmer is expected to graduate with her Masters of Fine Arts degree from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta in the spring of 2019.

She has a studio in San Antonio at the Hausmann Millworks and loves working with the community of artists there. Sarah Palmer has shown her work locally at the Witte Museum, the McNay Art Museum, the W Hotel in Austin, Cornerstone Christian School, and the Ecumenical Center of San Antonio, and nationally at the MOCA Gallery and Trois Gallery in Atlanta, Georgia.

VIGINI PAINT & DESIGN

Vigini Paint and Design is an interior finish design studio that was established in 1998. Co-Founders Leslie Morrison and Nicola Vigini are passionate about bringing beauty to their clients with unrivaled talent and attentive and individual customer service. 

Specializing in an array of traditional and contemporary finishes from plaster, tadelakt, gilding, cabinetry and furniture refinishing, Vigini Paint and Design is currently designing hand-painted wall paper. 

With a strong sense of color and pattern, the Vigini stencil collection offers unique methods to update your walls and furniture.

For more information, visit ViginiPaintAndDesign.com

THE COLLECTOR’S EYE

THE COLLECTOR’S EYE

The big stakes, high-dollar international art world is booming beyond belief. The money is flowing as freely with the volume of the masterpieces that are being sold at the most prestigious gathering of valuable art and discerning buyers. Join our globe-trotting Lance Avery Morgan as we jet to The European Fine Art Fair in The Netherlands.

Photography by  LORAINE BODEWES, NATASCHA LIBBERT & MARK NEIDERMANN   

IT’S FAIR GAME

We all know how the very rich own and appreciate art. A tremendous amount of art, in fact. According to Wealth X, a wealth intelligence firm, the average billionaire holds $31 million dollars, or .5% of their net worth, in art. Very familiar to the collector is to value an object of beauty, and to competitively pay for what they love. Those people and those who aspire to be like them are at the grandest art fair on the planet, The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF).

 

If it is Thursday on a crisp and cool day in Maastricht, Holland, about two hours from Amsterdam, then it must be opening day at the wildly prestigious 32nd annual The European Fine Arts Fair (TEFAF) where both aristocracy and well-heeled art lovers gather under one large roof to scout one-of-a-kind pieces…to either complement, or begin, a world-class art collection.

 

TEFAF is often referred to as a museum in which everything is for sale. Really, it could be called hoarding for billionaires. Susan Lynch, Chair of the Board of Directors and Patrons of the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Connecticut mused, “TEFAF is inspiring, educational and a delight.” So much so that last year the Fair was loaned a significant collection display of Old Masters from the Amsterdam Museum.

 

Consider this a primer on your visit to the Fair, whether you are attending for the first time, or you are a veteran of the exquisite Fair that has 280 exhibitors from 20 different countries. Between them they exhibited more than 30,000 works of art, antiques and design objects from pre-history to the present day with an aggregate value of more than 3 billion Euros. “At TEFAF you get spoiled forever,” shared American collector Jean Doyen de Montaillou, about the 7000 years of art history on display and for sale. In fact, the Fair is so important that is has borne an offspring that now occurs in May and November in New York.

 

 

ARTISTIC AMBITIONS

How does this prestigious fair offer something not easily found at other fairs? Houstonian art collector Sir Mark Haukohl, with whom we dined at a castle near the Fair, is an avid Old Masters collector and always attends the gathering to see how he can add to his collection in some way. He confided, “In comparison, the Venice Biennale, Art Basel Switzerland and TEFAF are all horses of a different color. The Venice Bienalle offers no art work for sale, so you are looking at a curated and solely contemporary exhibition, reflecting the taste or lack thereof of selected curators. If you want to buy edgy contemporary modern and contemporary work, Art Basel Switzerland is for you. With important dealers from all over the world, it is the largest fair for today’s contemporary collector. I visit opening day every year and always find something for my contemporary photography collection, The European Woman of the 21st Century.

Robert Labadie, a Dutch private equity kingpin and collector agrees, and told me over another dinner with he and his wife, Ingrid Labadie who is in charge of corporate events for the Fair, “This fair has everything under one big roof. The fair sets trends and therefore collectors, as well as dealers, have to be present to take advantage.”

 

And, take advantage is what visitors do in this highly fueled world of art procuring. After having traveled luxuriously on KLM – Royal Dutch Airlines, when the doors open on the first day of the Fair, VIP day, it feels like the race gun firing the start of the Kentucky Derby, with anticipation at a similar fever pitch. The thrill of the hunt fills the air. The metaphoric scent of money and ambition, both wildly sexy, permeates the large hall of the Fair in very hushed tones.

 

With dozens of corridors and hundreds of stands (exhibits), the other 70,000 attendees likely felt a surge of energy about the art they were encountering once the action starts. In fact, during the preview and the run of the Fair, visitors consumed 15,000 glasses of champagne; 31, 000 glasses of wine; 75,000 cups of coffee; 10,000 pastries; 50,000 sandwiches and 11,000 oysters, which were served by 2300 waiters having been prepared by 515 cooks. Plus, the array of literally hundreds of thousands of tulips, a nod to the Dutch presence, captured the Fair’s essence at every turn.

MUSEUM QUALITY

Representatives of well over 200 museums, also came to see, mingle and buy. Did they feel the impact of the sensory overload of a reasonable sampling of the most beautiful art to be found anywhere on this planet like I did? Likely. Wim Pijbes, director of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam shared, “Even the most indulged museum director will see things at TEFAF that are so unique that surprising purchases can be made.’’ Some of the museums that were well represented included those as prestigious as the Asian Civilizations Museum, Singapore, the Metropolitan Museum and Museum of Modern Art in New York, as well as the Louvre in Paris. Dr Ulrich Guntram, AXA Art’s Global CEO stated, “Once again TEFAF outperformed in engaging art lovers and connoisseurs with best-in-class offerings in fine art, antiques and historical objects.”

 

Just what did I discover at the Fair? What didn’t I see is more like it. I observed  that the standard of art was particularly high, quelling the oft-reported notion that the Old Master market is in its throes of death. It was apparent that dealers went out of their way to bring fresh, privately sourced stock to the Fair. Works bought at auction where exhibitors added value through research, restoration and sometimes reattribution also had no difficulty finding buyers. It was a sellers’ market and also, a buyer’s market. So much so that I saw masterpieces from the Van Gogh Museum that it felt somewhat usual to encounter such masterpieces.  

 

MODERN ERA

World famous streets known for their artistic inclinations like Place de la Concorde, Fifth Avenue, Trafalgar Square, Place Vendome and others mark the territory that is the Fair. The art patrons who stroll the rarified avenues know that they are buying with confidence.  According to sources at TEFAF, the Fair is unrivalled in its standard of quality and in the methods it uses to establish the authenticity of every painting and object on sale. Participating dealers are admitted only after a strict selection process. The Fair’s groundbreaking vetting system involves no fewer than 175 international experts in 29 different categories, who examine every work of art for quality, authenticity and condition. It means that a piece of work is bought with the greatest possible confidence.

Interestingly, even though it is not centuries old, modern and contemporary art is also vetted, a procedure that is uncommon at other art fairs. Before the Fair opened over 175 international experts on 29 separate specialist committees examined each object for quality, authenticity and condition.  TEFAF Antiques is the biggest section in the Fair with 102 exhibitors. This is followed by the TEFAF Paintings and TEFAF Modern sections that were packed with artful seekers.

How was the vetting done? The highly sophisticated technical equipment, such as the advanced Hirox digital microscope and the portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometer supports the vetting members’ personal expertise. The Fair was also the first to introduce The Art Loss Register (ALR) in 2000, which is the largest private database of stolen art, provides information about registered stolen art. It goes without saying that any stolen objects are removed from the Fair immediately and although I haven’t heard any stories about that at recent Fairs, no doubt it has occurred, but the high trust factor is something on which visitors can count. For the prices that the art and objects are selling, that peace of mind is warranted.

 

ART FOR ART’S SAKE

Who is the typical buyer and visitor to the Fair? There isn’t an archetype individual, as such. Von Bartha, a gallery in London, reported meeting a number of high net worth and ultra high net worth individuals at the Fair and reported healthy sales including one of the most well-known paintings. Jewelry also performed well at TEFAF, with works by René Lalique proving exceptionally popular again for collectors. TEFAF Antiques is not only the largest section of the Fair, but regarded by many as its treasure house. 

 

Dr. Clare McAndrew, author of TEFAF Art Market Report, presented the report at a prior TEFAF Art Symposium themed Rising Stars of the Art World.  The report, which examined the global art market with a focus on China, referred to a highly polarized market with the heaviest buying and best performance concentrated at the high end of the market for the best-known artists. Early sales at TEFAF confirmed this trend with a number of important objects being sold at the Private View and on the first public day.

 

Whatever the masterpiece, be it classical, an antiquity or a contemporary treasure, The European Fine Art Fair is the place to be to either start or add to a collection in grand style, ahead of the pack, and sometimes for a financial deal not expected. Really, it is a gathering spot for any collector these days. As Sir Mark Haukohl sums it up best, “By attending TEFAF, as well as the other fairs and biennales, I better my personal collecting eye. How does a collector improve their taste and the intellectual depth of their collection today?  Get on the plane and go. Look, listen…and then look again.”

HISTORY-MAKING INDEPENDENCE

HISTORY-MAKING INDEPENDENCE

Texas Independence Day Dinner Honors Prominent Texans At The Bullock Museum

By Rob Giardinelli   Photography by Chris Caselli

THE SETTING: The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin was the venue for the 15 th Annual Texas Independence Day Dinner. The event, hosted by the Texas State History Museum Foundation, featured over 400 of the state’s most notable sociables and politicos for an evening of fun and tributes to two Texans who have made an indelible mark on the states culture and independent spirit: Charles Butt and Flaco Jimenez who were each honored with the History-Making Texan Award.

THE STYLE: The black-tie crowd kicked off the festivities in style before with a one-of-a-kind red carpet located at main entrance where attendees posed for photos with the iconic Texas star located outside of the museum as a backdrop while listening to ambient music courtesy of Austin Soundwaves Orchestra. Once inside, guests ascended the staircase in the main foyer of the Bullock to the second floor for cocktails where VIP’s had the opportunity mingle with the guests of honor.

The fun continued as partygoers gathered in the main foyer of the Bullock for the event program. The space, beautifully transformed in a sea of whites and metallics, with red floral décor that offered the space an extra pop of color, was where patrons dined on a delicious meal catered by The Four Seasons Hotel. Next came the tributes to the honorees, each of whom were the spotlight of a video showcasing the impact they have had on the state. After the program, the gracious honorees stayed well into the night to further mingle with VIP’s, capping off a magical evening that will be the talk of the Texas social scene for some time to come.

THE PURPOSE: The event, chaired by Carla Moran with Jan Bullock serving as honorary chair, raised over $1 million dollars for the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum educational programs and special projects.

A MEDICI COLLECTION, BEYOND

A MEDICI COLLECTION, BEYOND

Haukohl Family Medici Art Collection Kicks Off Tour Through Europe

By Rob Giardinelli Photography by John Frassanito

THE SETTING: The historic town of Augsburg, Germany was the recent setting for the debut of a one-of-a-kind collection that showcased the art from one of history’s most historic Italian families. The events to toast Beyond the Medici: The Haukohl Family Collection featured many prominent art patrons, collectors from around the world jetted-in from locales ranging from Texas to Paris to Singapore for an incredible weekend of events including walking tours, concerts and five-star cuisine. The gathering was hosted by Sir Mark Fehrs Haukohl of Houston, whose family has been collecting Medici art for six generations.

THE VIBE: The well-heeled art aficionados kicked off the weekend in style at the northern baroque Schaezlerpalais Palace, which featured southern Italian works of art owned by Haukohl. The weekend only became more dazzling from there. Meghan Gregonis, United States General Counsel in Munich, officiated the opening at the Grand Goldener Saal. Prominent museum directors from both sides of the pond, were treated to an awe-inspiring display of 17 th century paintings, sculptures, textiles and drawings also owned by Sir Haukohl.

The fun continued as art enthusiasts were treated to a five-star luncheon at Schloss Wellenberg Castle. Sir Haukohl brought the Texan largesse with him by offering Lone Star-blue aprons and Bucee’s barbecue sauce as gifts for attendees. The festivities were capped with a Vivaldi concert hosted by Haukohl and featured VIP’s including Mary Mochary, retired Chair of the National Museum of Women in the Arts and Dr. Eric Motley of the Aspen Institute. If the success of this weekend is any indication, the Beyond the Medici: The Haukohl Family Collection tour which will include stops in Brussels, Munich and Luxembourg among others, will be the upcoming talk of the European and American art scenes.

SECRET GARDEN

SECRET GARDEN

Stages Repertory Theatre Hosts The Night Garden Gala

By Jennifer Roosth     Photography by Priscilla Dickson and Daniel Ortiz

THE SETTING: Attended by a record breaking 464 guests, the 2019 Stages Repertory Theatre hosted its most successful gala to date. The Revaire’s ballroom décor, designed by Bergner and Johnson, was inspired by the theme, The Night Garden, with a hint of the theatre’s upcoming show, Little Shop of Horrors. Garden vines, blooming branches, trailing greenery and carnivorous plants filled the space, along with touches of rich red and hot pink, adding a sensuous layer to the evening. Following dinner with cuisine by A Fare Extraordinaire, attendees crowded the dance floor and danced the night away to the sounds of Georgia Bridgwater Orchestra.

THE STYLE: It was a night charmed with a big surprise. Glenda and Russell Gordy’s longtime friends, Sue Smith and the late Lester Smith, had informed them that they would not be able to attend this year’s gala. However, unbeknownst to the Gordys, the Smiths had reserved a table and planned to make a special announcement at the event. Following dinner, a messenger presented the Gordys with a giant red gift box containing a check revealing a $2.5M gift, enabling Stages Repertory Theatre to fully fund their new campus, The Gordy, nearly a year ahead of opening. The Smiths deliberately chose to bestow their first significant performing arts donation in honor of their close friends, the Gordys.

THE PURPOSE: The gala chairs were Judy and Jim Nicklos and Brenda and Bradley Jones served as the underwriting chairs, The evening raised over $630,000 including auction proceeds. The Gordys made a leadership $5M gift to the capital campaign, Staging Our Future in 2017, making their gift one of the largest individual gifts in the history of Houston’s performing arts community. The campaign supports the construction of its new 66,850-square-foot three-theatre campus, The Gordy, which will open in January of 2020. Stages surprised both the Gordys and the Smiths by announcing that the new campus’s 223-seat arena stage will be named the “Lester and Sue Smith Stage”.