5th Anniversary Spiel: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF A TWO-BIT ART DEALER

Our fifth anniversary in the business of selling Picassos came and went without much fanfare. In fact, it occurs to me that I don’t know exactly when it is. Sometime around April, I suppose—let’s call it April 1. The uncertainty about the date is attributable to having started this business without an opening or any other inaugural event, which I suppose one would more likely encounter in a storefront gallery than a private dealership such as ours. Rather, somewhere around this time five years ago, we simply set about building on our twenty-year-old collection by acquiring the best Picassos we could find in our budget, established a presence on the web, and started developing our reputation, one click at a time.

To mark our anniversary, I thought I’d take a moment to share some current thoughts on the subject of how our collecting has evolved. Increasingly the focus of our acquisitions has been the very top-notch, crème de la crème, 10/10, premium, museum quality (but museums, pack rats that they are, will take anything, come to think of it!), dramatic, sensational masterpieces. As such, I must report that it is very difficult, and ever increasingly so, to find works for sale on the market today of this caliber and in our price range and at reasonable prices. It’s therefore taken quite a while to assemble our small assortment of paintings, drawings, and prints. At times, I’ve even had to resort to the sin of paying a premium just to get the best available work. That’s the way it goes….

Some of the prints we have bought reflected my earlier effort to get the very best for the price level, and include some of the lowest price levels because of the idealistic notion of updating President Hoover’s platform of “a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage” with the added goal of “a Picasso on every wall”. Most of those have sold, and I have no present plans to replace them. Today, I tend to buy fewer but pricier pieces, aiming for the biggest  blockbuster (read quality, not size) within our shooting range. With our extensive network of contacts, I have the ability, however, to source Picassos of all media and in all price ranges for our clients, so one needn’t be shy in expressing a desire for works that do not appear on our catalogue page.

Despite having set our sites on the crème de la crème, that is not to say that I’m unwilling to bend this standard in favor of a particular client’s taste, at the client’s insistence of course. But when I’m shopping for us, I don’t do much bending. Perhaps not every piece we buy would be considered a “masterpiece” in the conventional sense, but when I look at its particular place in its own genre, such as, for example, the Contrée etching (Bloch 362; http://ledorfineart.com/B362_contree.html ), each work is at the top. Further on this example, though I concede that the Contrée is not for everybody (at least it doesn’t seem to be since it’s not a commercially popular work), I wager that if one were to take the time to really look at it, there’s a good chance one would emerge with as superlative a view of it as ours.

Most of all, I’d like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to you. Thanks for working with us. Without you, in words Sandra Bernhardt has made famous, we’re nothing! We appreciate the business, and I love the site feedback and the exchange of scholarship and opinion. Here’s to the next five years! I’d say fifty, but that would presuppose the next generation going into the family biz. That would be OK, but only after they complete medical school. -Kobi