Announcing the release of Questroyal’s Fall 2009 Catalogue

Published on October 19th, 2009 | Posted in Essays, Questroyal Updates

Important American Paintings: Volume X is now available!  Highlights of this year’s publication include works by Thomas Moran, Georgia O’Keeffe, John F. Kensett, Edward W. Redfield, William Trost Richards, and Andrew Wyeth.  The catalogue also features an essay by Louis Salerno that discusses his experiences from the art world and illustrates some of Questroyal’s most celebrated creative advertisements.  Additionally, Important American Paintings: Volume X presents ten historical documents—a new addition never before seen in our catalogues. Please call or email the gallery to receive your complimentary copy!

Excerpts from The Well-dressed Hunter: A Dealer’s Story in Important American Paintings, Volume X

 

Wisdom Gained (Page 1)

He was an obnoxious client with a nearly toxic attitude. There was not a race, color, creed, or ideology that escaped his condemnation. His wrath was evenhanded, perhaps one might say fair. He never met a man, a place, a country he liked. He loved his dog. He took pleasure in ridiculing the paintings I showed him and the value I placed on them. He had no regard for my ideas or opinions and would only listen to harvest the fodder to criticize me with later. I loved this man! “You visit me because I buy your paintings, the ones I hate the least” was his favorite comment.

How this character came to love art will always remain a mystery—a collector whose principal criterion was to acquire what he hated least—but, take my word, his was a collection I will never forget. It included stunning examples by Cole, Church, Inness, and Cropsey—and that was just what hung in his bedroom.

Occasionally, some genuine insight would mix with his venom: “Buy the best junk when all you can own is junk. If you want to exceed the speed limit, drive a Ferrari, dummy! Never take advice from anyone unless that person stands to lose as much money as you. You’re never as smart as the day you were born.” But he saved the best for last.

Months before he died, I told him that I was hesitating to buy a painting I loved because it was expensive. He looked at me from his bed and said, “I hope your miserable face is not the last thing I see before I die. If I gasp, get out and turn on the Playboy channel.” “That’s your sage advice?” I replied. “Young man, some people put their money in banks that have locks on the wrong side of their doors; others enjoy the status attained by having a professional lose their money. But I have mine on the wall where I can see it.” I regret that he did not live long enough to see the scope of his wisdom.

Economics vs. Passion (Page 3)

Those who believe art has no tangible or practical value may change their opinion if they consider how agonizing the sale of a family treasure could be. The dedicated collector cherishes his paintings and will fiercely resist selling any of them, no matter how significant the financial necessity. This rare characteristic, seldom seen with other assets, impacts the determination of worth. The laws of economics conflict with the passionate human being. It is this counterpoint that will forever sustain the value of art.

Hunting: Dealer Misquotes Price (Page 5)

His response was that he always honors the price quoted and that if I delivered a check to his gallery by six o’clock that very evening, we would have a deal. It was four fifteen in the afternoon—if the traffic was absolutely perfect, I might just make it. So I suggested, I thought reasonably, that I would deliver the check first thing in the morning, as the banks would be closed by the time I arrived anyway. But this was not acceptable to him. He said that it was now a sporting event.  Not one to back down from a challenge, I fired up the BMW, fastened my seat belt, and looked at the clock. I had one hundred minutes, which was about five less than what I would need if I had a perfect trip. How much risk could I take? A ticket and I lose. This was becoming a defining moment, a revelation of character. I thought it better to be defeated by the law than by my own ineptitude as a driver.  So, on that day, I was one with the road and the car and the little boy who always longed for a good reason to drive too fast. I arrived with about a minute to spare, perhaps a better driver than an art dealer. My friend honored his promise, and I left with another treasure.

Market Signs (Page 11)

The clear decrease in both supply and quality is a positive indicator no less significant than record prices during robust times. Art’s status as a cherished asset continues to prevail. This very determination not to sell has served to effectively rebalance the ratio of demand to supply, resulting in a remarkably resilient market for American nineteenth- and early twentieth-century paintings.

Have Faith in What You Know

All of their lives they’ve been conditioned to believe in the stock market—that’s what they read about in the newspapers and what’s discussed at dinner parties. As they accumulate funds, they participate in the stock market, but few, if any, take the time to fully research their investments. Most either don’t know how or are unwilling to read a balance sheet, and those who can and do are often misled or deceived.

Some of these very same people are collectors with a tremendous passion for art, and they spend a great amount of time in pursuit of that passion. They go to art museums, visit galleries, read books, attend auctions, and process and consider a great deal of information. Yet only the smallest portion of their portfolios is allocated to what they know best: art.

 

American Art Rising

Long before there was a tradition to restrict and an academic mandate to inhibit, the fiercely individual spirit of the American artist was born. The European elites shunned their work, refusing to recognize its merit and preferring to vent an animosity instigated by history. Today, more than 150 years have come and gone, and our art has risen above bias and prejudice. It is an art that is still within the reach of its people.

Letter from the Director featured in Important American Paintings, Volume X

 

Letter from the Director

It is with great pride that I write this letter commemorating the tenth anniversary of Important American Paintings. In perusing this volume’s pages, memories come flooding back to me. During my six-year tenure, I have had the experience of calling clients to tell them that “the one that got away” was for sale again. I have had the satisfaction of suggesting our newest acquisition to a client, which would in turn become their latest. And quite memorably, I have had the pleasure of soaking up the exquisite, arresting, sublime, and poignant brushstrokes, color palettes, compositions, and visions of the artists whose works fill our walls.

In kindergarten, I began a thirteen-year ritual of Saturday art classes in the subterranean workrooms of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Although it was thrilling to concoct giant papier-mâché dragons, it was in the galleries where I felt most in awe. I remember standing in front of John Singer Sargent’s The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit and being dwarfed by the porcelain vases (props Sargent used to paint the work) displayed alongside it. While, at that age, I think I preferred to be spooked in the dark room of Egyptian mummies, the MFA’s American collection created vivid memories for me, a foundation in my visceral attraction to art, and perhaps an early career compass.

I would like to thank our entire staff for their constant efforts and outstanding work in creating this catalogue, and to Lou and Brent in particular for cultivating a gallery that brings much honor, life, and humor to the art business. I am grateful to you, our valued clients, for your enthusiasm, knowledge, and ongoing passion. It is an honor to work with and among those who have an instinctual appreciation for art, as it is with them that I most easily identify.  I hope that you enjoy this catalogue and the carefully chosen words and images that comprise it.

Sincerely,

Chloe A. Richfield

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