Hi Patrick, please tell us what you do
By day, I teach World History (using a lot of art!) and Psychology in a high school; by night, I buy, sell, and collect art. What began over thirty years ago as a side hobby has evolved into a passion that is now a major part of my life. That evolution is represented in what I deal in now, too; although I do buy and sell some antique and traditional painting and sculpture, my focus has shifted to mostly post-war art, modernism, abstract expressionism, hard edge and geometric abstraction, and colorfield art.
Why did you start collecting art and how long have you been doing it?
I love the colors, the minimalism of some of them, the cacophony of forms / figures and colors in others; I love the pre- and post-war era abstractions and modernist works because of what these artists were doing at the time: allowing their creativity to transcend the bounds of what had been considered “artistic” before then. As a result, I personally collect abstract expressionism, geometric abstraction and modernist oil-on-canvas paintings and sculpture. I have been collecting these styles for twenty years.
How many artworks are currently in your collection?
I would estimate over two hundred works from around the world on canvas, paper, board, sketchbooks, and sculpture.
Your advice for aspiring art collectors?
Buy what you love! Although buying art for an investment and / or work for a listed or known artist has its merit, it’s important to ask yourself before purchasing, “Do I love this work enough to hang it in my living room and see it everyday? Can this work be a part of my daily life?” If it can and you can afford it and love / like it, buy it.
Who inspires you and why?
Herb and Dorothy Vogel. They were middle-class New York civil servants who collected and amassed an enormous and valuable collection of modern art in spite of their relatively meager salaries and a tiny New York City apartment to store it in. There’s a very compelling documentary about them called “Herb and Dorothy.”
Is art a good investment?
Yes, but buying art is not risk-free. The art market fluctuates; what’s in vogue today may be out tomorrow. Antique paintings have taken a bit of a back seat to modern and contemporary art. It’s important to follow market trends if one is buying for investment.
Do you have some favorite pieces in your art collection?
Since I buy what I love, what I would consider “favorites” is really centered more on what I’m currently buying. Recent obsessions include paintings by New York artist Martin Rosenthal and Swiss-American artist Fred Troller. The style of these paintings are progressive for the period in which they were created (1950’s – 1960’s), and I like the colors and geometric / graphic feel and design of these works.
Which artwork would you really like to own?
That’s a tough one….
Has your art collection already been on public display?
Several works have been loaned to various exhibitions.
Do you sometimes collaborate with galleries, collectors or artists?
Yes, especially those galleries that buy and sell the art and artists I collect and buy / sell. We sometimes even swap and / or trade works.
What would you do different today, if you had to start again?
I would have paid more / bought more than I passed on. I suppose this means I would have taken more risks in buying and collecting.
Do you have any specific goals as a collector and how do you intend to achieve them?
Once I retire from teaching, I plan to open a gallery, and creating a space for art and conversation and exhibitions; I also look forward to doing more research on some of the art I have already collected.
What else would you like to tell us?
I can’t really think of anything else I’d rather do than spend my day with my wife buying art. I love the search, I love the hunt, I enjoy the research and the discovery. I believe creating in some sense is what drives human joy; whether that is creating spaces, quality time, works of art, adventures, technological marvels, medical miracles, or love, we thrive when we can create. For me, art collecting is an act of creating; it’s an endless adventure in creative discovery.
Thank you very much for this first Q&A with an art collector, Patrick.