#artcollection #eclectic #cannotlivewithout # arthistory #personal @janandersnelson

Installation view of the NELSON COLLECTION - Washington

Installation view of the NELSON COLLECTION - Washington


Jan Anders Nelson is a classically trained artist working in a variety of mediums and subjects, based in the Northwestern United States. Earning a Master of Arts from the University of Wisconsin in 1977, Jan also spent time living in New York City attending New York University. Describing his artwork as contemporary realism, this multidisciplinary artist captures the narratives and realities of the people and places in his life. Using his camera as a sketchbook, Nelson often relies on multiple photographs to help answer queries that arise in the studio. While his paintings and drawings are created using more traditional methods, his digital photography is oftentimes manipulated in Photoshop and reworked by hand. As a collector, Jan is drawn to fellow artists who are a part of his personal art history, from formal studies, personal interactions, curation, as mentors and friends.

Rembrandt Etching

Rembrandt Etching


How has social media come into play with your collection?

It really opened up my view across the vast landscape of artists and their works, connecting me with new works, and the artists, some of whom have become friends. Those connections have fed into my collecting.

What role do you feel your collection has in society?

I am not sure that it has anything to do with a role in society, it is so personal and not published in any form or a part of any loans to museums. Perhaps purchases made that directly affect the artists financially have a small, positive effect in supporting their work.

How did you start collecting? 

My parents, both musicians, had visual artist friends whose works were in our home. I have some of that work, but they also gave me Lichtenstein’s serigraph for the Aspen Winter Jazz Festival, which was the first work in my collection, starting around 1970.

Chris Klein

Chris Klein

Lorena Kloosterboer

Lorena Kloosterboer

Randal Rosenthal (sculpture)

Randal Rosenthal (sculpture)

Don Eddy

Don Eddy

Joseph Rafael

Joseph Rafael

How long have you been collecting?

While I’ve had a very small collection starting in 1970, not much was added to it for almost 20 years due to economic constraints. I really started the collection we have today toward the end of the 90s.

What is your ultimate goal for your collection?

I have no constraints (other than economic ability) or goals, and collect pieces that have deep personal meaning for me. Having a modest sized home, it is not possible to hang the entire collection, so space is becoming a challenge I suppose. Our children are starting to benefit from this.

Do you ever venture out of your creative process in collecting? 

Absolutely. I do not see a lot of parallels between my creative efforts and the works I collect.

Which artists are in your collection?

Don Eddy, Ben Schonzeit, Jack Beal, John Baeder, August Renoir, Rembrandt, Dale Chihuly, George D. Green, Leigh Behnke, Janet Fish, John Clem Clarke, John Salt, Chris Klein, Toyo Kuni I, Haku Maki, James Rosenquist, Roy Lichtenstein, Janet Fish, Joseph Raffael, Randall Rosenthal, Lorena Kloosterboer, Eric Green, Richard McClean, Ray Ho, Robert A. Nelson, Stephen Magsig, Allan Gorman, Sylvie Rousseau, Lowell Blair Nesbitt, Raphael Soyer, Robert C. Therien, Don Ray, Warren Wolf, and Jeannie Motherwell.

Warren Wolf,  The Cellist

Warren Wolf, The Cellist

Who is an artist you let get away and now are unable to collect?

Mark Tobey

How many works are in your collection?

Not sure, there are multiples of some of those listed, others not listed.

What inspires you to collect?

In many cases a personal connection to the artist, in other cases it has been an unexpected encounter with art that stopped me in my tracks.

How do you buy?

Galleries, auctions, directly from artists

Which artwork do you dream of having in your collection someday?

There is a small, triptych color pencil drawing by Don Eddy that I really like and keep returning to whenever in New York and visiting his gallery (Nancy Hoffman Gallery).

Aspen Winter Jazz Serigraph by Roy Lichtenstein

Aspen Winter Jazz Serigraph by Roy Lichtenstein

Which was the artwork which started you collecting? Tell us more about it.

Roy Lichtenstein’s 1967 Aspen Winter Jazz Festival serigraph. This was the first work, given to me by my parents in 1970. Having this large, limited edition poster created a personal tie for me to Pop, and probably lead me toward painting as I explored my creative needs.

Which artwork in history has inspired you the most?

I am not sure I can pin down one work, there are so many. One work that I spent a lot of time in front of was Jerry Ott’s “Carol and the Paradise Wall” at the Walker Museum. This painting, large scale at 83 ¼” x 108” blew me away in the wonderful way Jerry worked with atmospherics and the imagery of Carol draped across an overstuffed chair.

How or where do you seek out opportunities to collect?

I do not actively seek out opportunities, the works tend to appear in front of me. I will investigate auctions from time-to-time and may place bids on works that I would like to spend time with, otherwise it is more about conversations with artists and galleries.

How do you cultivate your collection?

I cannot say that I am organized enough to state that I cultivate. It is more personal and rather random.

How do you navigate the art world?

Naïvely I suppose. I visit museums and galleries as much as possible, follow them on Instagram and other social media platforms and websites, go to openings of friends when I can.

Do you have a price range you stay within when collecting?

No, it tends to be a “pain” threshold of what I think I can find a way to pay for in the moment, though I have used “lay-away” with artists and galleries to enable collecting a few pieces. If the time to pay for a work becomes what I consider unreasonable to a gallery or artist, I pull myself away from works that I would otherwise jump at.

Jack Beal

Jack Beal

What current trends are you following and why?

I am too random (eclectic?) in my collecting to consider that I follow any trends, or even understand that there are trends happening in the art world.

Have you lost interest in any of the art you have collected?

No, each work has a connection that remains solid for me.

Have you sold any of your works at auction? If so, what happened?

No, I do not buy art as investment.

John Baeder

John Baeder

Have you ever curated a show or been involved in a public collection administration?

Yes, I was asked to curate a show in 2017 at the Nicole Longnecker Gallery in Houston, Texas, and recently an edition of the fabulous PoetsArtists.

Have you ever been disappointed by an artist?

No, though at times I have wondered if I have been appreciated more as an individual to sell to than as a friend. I tend to shrug those moments off.

Who is your art crush?

Don Eddy