Colourful Red, Blue and Yellow Abstract Painting by Vahan Yervadyan : An Armenian artist with incredible talent, but lacking the much-needed sales skills in today's art market.
In today's art world, a trend has emerged that may seem controversial at first glance. It's the tendency to focus more on the monetary value of artwork than on the emotional connection one feels when encountering it. Maurice de Vlaminck, for example, distanced himself from his contemporaries in his time by stating that they had lost the sense of the work to find that of money. While I understand the necessity for appraisers and curators, like myself, to assess the value of art, I believe there's something crucial being overlooked in the process - that initial spark, that visceral reaction when art speaks to your soul.
At Galerie Sommerlath, this visceral connection is at the heart of my curation process. It's a sentiment I fear is becoming rarer in the industry. When I embark on shopping excursions, I don't come with a predetermined checklist of size, color, style or known painter’s name. Instead, I seek out that elusive X factor - the element that might be overlooked by others but resonates profoundly with my penchant for compelling pieces. I had this experience when I discovered the work of Albert Radoczy, an artist obsessed with capturing the essence of his wife in a truly unique and genius way through his repeated paintings of her.
"Green" by Albert Radoczy Oil Painting
In this fast-paced world of auctions and valuations, it's easy to get caught up in the numbers game. Yet, we must not forget that art is not solely an investment; it's an emotional journey. Sometimes, a seemingly insignificant artwork can be deceiving and reveals itself to be of the utmost importance for some people. It's about the rush of excitement when you discover a piece that simply captivates you. It's about falling in love at first sight.
This intimate connection with art is what fuels my passion at Galerie Sommerlath. It's the essence of what we believe in - the belief that art should be cherished, not just for its potential return on investment, but for the sheer joy it brings into our lives. It's a sentiment that we hope resonates with art enthusiasts everywhere, reminding them to seek out pieces that truly speak to their souls, and not just their wallets. When I discovered the powerful and elegant work of Joan Strauss Carl, I literally fell head over heels not only for her drawings that are extraordinarily precise, but also for her powerful sculptures. She worked in a multitude of mediums, including bronze, terracotta, stone, and wood. Later, when I learned more about her work ethic, it resonated with me in a unique way. She once said at her One-Man Sculpture Show, “My work is my way of life. It is a constant search and examination and questioning of ideas as well as form and substance, and yet each new creation is a re-affirmation of respect and love for humanity and life."
Abstract Expressionist Wood and Marble Sculpture by Joan Strauss Carl
At Galerie Sommerlath, we take great pride in showcasing artists who may not be not known by our clientele, despite their impressive careers. The effort we put into each of our descriptions aims to translate my profound emotions when I discover a piece. I am convinced that describing each piece with precision and passion conveys to our future customers a sense of what matters when you are driven by the desire to surround yourself with beauty and taste. Take, for instance, Johnny Friedlander, whose name may not be as widely known, but who had a very successful career at the time and had the honor of exhibiting alongside giants like Braque, Buffet, Chagall, Dali, Matisse, Miro, and Picasso in a 1972 Dusseldorf exhibition. If you take a closer look at his biography, you'll discover what a remarkable artistic journey he had.
"Echo" Large Abstract Artist Proof by Johnny Friedlaender
Yet, there are countless others who, for various reasons, remained in the shadows of the art world. Some harbored a reluctance towards fame, while others simply didn't have the opportunity to be discovered by their contemporaries, due to the cultural and market trends of their time. For example, Christopher Mark Brennan created covers for magazines and artworks for Universal Studios, including three cover arts for Frank Zappa CDs and for other musicians. However, he never tried to sell any of his artwork, even after he retired in Santa Barbara to paint more. Brennan has a wide range of unbelievable subjects, from enigmatic abstracts to dreamy portraits.
Christopher Mark Brennan Mixed-Media of a Spider
These unsung artists are a personal passion of mine in curating. I see it as my duty as an art and design dealer to introduce art lovers to these remarkable creators who have been overlooked. It's a privilege to bring to light these figures who have contributed and continue to contribute to a rich and dynamic art scene.
At times, I can't help but view this endeavor as both a passion and a mission. Especially when I consider that these artists may not receive the recognition they truly deserve in the market. It feels unjust, and I am committed to rectifying that oversight. They have left an indelible mark on the art world, and it is our honor to ensure their legacies are properly celebrated and cherished. I am lucky enough to have likeminded customers who appreciate art and beauty for its inner value, and who are always on the lookout to find the piece that will resonate with them.
(For more insightful tips and inspiration, be sure to check out our other posts on Galerie Sommerlath's Art Whisperer blog.)