#artcollector #boldfigurative @a.d.magazu
Arthur D. Magazu spent 35 years as a self-employed remodeling contractor specializing in difficult projects no-one else wanted to tackle. Arthur’s sense of design and creativity along with the fact that from an early age he was also a musician lead him quite naturally into other areas of the arts. He credits the 1992 reading of “Creating a Beautiful Home” by Alexandra Stoddard for his venture into the fine arts as a collector.
How has social media come into play with your collection?
It is both a blessing and a curse. It has opened my eyes to many new artists and many new ideas. The downside is largely economic, so many great and talented figurative artists compared to 25 years ago and not enough money.
How did you start collecting?
Quite by accident, at first to quench a desire to create a beautiful environment in our home in which to live.
We never took vacations so being home on weekends, drinking, talking by the fireplace, listening to music and wandering around looking was our vacation. We always wanted our home to feel warm and enchanting. A magical refuge from the outside world, and it certainly has been. Therefore the art.
How long have you been collecting?
We bought our first real painting in 1993, so I guess about 25 years as money permitted.
What is your ultimate goal for your collection?
We never bought art with any goal in mind other than if it made us smile? It’s just not something we ever think about.
Which artists are in your collection?
It is unusual for us to own just one work by an artist. For us, seeing a collection of paintings all done by the same artist hanging in our home is immensely gratifying and more reflective of the artist generally. We have between two to four works by each artist. Works include those of: An He, Kamille Corry, Juan Rossell Gonzalez, Iva Troj, Roman Frances, Frederick Hart, Daniel Maidman, David Molesky, Peregrine Heathcote, Eddy Stevens, Camie Isabella Salaz, Danielle Werneck, Samuel Shelton, Mary Vickers and others.
Who is an artist you let get away and now are unable to collect?
I don’t want to name names but there are a couple that stand out to me. One is recently deceased and whose work is just not available. The other artist is living and became too pricey for us and honestly the current work just doesn’t cut it when compared to the earlier work.
What inspires you to collect?
I love working with, helping, and supporting emerging artists as well as some more established artists and I greatly value my personal relationships with them.
What would you like to have in your collection someday?
Something I haven’t seen yet.
How do you buy?
Mainly via internet these days either directly from the artist or through a gallery in which they are represented. But I don’t recommend it unless you have somewhat of a trained eye or are familiar first hand with the artist’s work. Figurative art is just not available in the Northeast where we live. And because we never traveled, the internet became our window to other parts of the country where it did. But It’s easy to make an expensive mistake buying art on the internet and admittedly I have done so on occasion.
We don’t hesitate to buy from galleries and enjoy working with them. I use the internet out of necessity for access to the work, not to cut galleries out of the process. If an artist is represented by a gallery I always honor and respect that process.
Which artwork in history has inspired you the most?
I am not going to mislead anyone here, I have no art history background nor areas of formal art study unless watching Sister Wendy on TV counts, I think she does. I love detail, symmetry and bold color so I am most naturally drawn to Art Deco … if I were not married everything would be some form of Deco.
How do you cultivate your collection?
We have proudly given beautiful paintings away as gifts. If you visited us once or twice in the last 30 years and commented that you loved something it probably didn’t go unnoticed. We have downsized substantially in the last ten years, making someone else happy and bringing joy into their lives while expecting nothing in return is a wonderful feeling.
How do you navigate the art world?
Boldly, I’m not bashful about reaching out to people whether it’s an artist or a gallery. I may love an artist’s work but not what is available at the time. I always let the artist, or the gallery know of my interests in hopes they will let me know when something that seems like it might fit for me comes along.
Do you have a price range you stay within when collecting?
Yes absolutely, we are of modest means. The most we have ever paid for a work was 15k and there are only two in this price range. Most are well under that with many between 4-7k. Also, I want to add that a proper frame is critical. A poorly framed work (or lack thereof) can make or break a piece, so we put a large effort and expense into framing the work. We consider the frame to be an integral part of any painting we buy and required to make a truly proper presentation of the artists intent.
What current trends are you following and why?
I’m not interested in trends other than being aware of them and knowing they won’t last. Our only interest is in timelessness, passion and ageless beauty... does the work touch our hearts or not.
Have you lost interest in any of the art you have collected?
Certainly, some things we bought 25 years ago are most definitely out of favor and frowned upon in the current sexual and politically charged climate.
I would not say we have “lost interest” it’s more about how our taste and style has changed as we aged. We were under 30 years old with 2 young boys when we bought our first figurative painting. Now in our 60’s it seems melancholy. Each piece when it was purchased represented a special time and place in our lives, a unique moment, a story, a memory. Feelings of happiness, personal pride and accomplishment. Each painting reflects the way we looked and felt about each other, or a memory shared of a special moment in time. We are unabashed romantics and have always bought art that we love, and thought would hold up with classic sensibility. So no, not lost interest. More perhaps it’s a longing to go back and do it and re-live it all again.
Have you sold any of your works at auction? If so, what happened?
We have never bought art other than as an investment in our own happiness and personal well being, we do not ever expect to get a return on the capitol. It would be nice, but It’s not realistic.
Have you ever been disappointed by an artist?
Yes, for sure. This is hard to quantify but I would say it generally falls along three lines.
1.) The artists work becomes redundant and what you thought you had as somewhat unique at the time becomes a template for all the artist’s work for the next ten years.
2.) The artist may become lazy and cut corners thinking you won’t be smart enough to notice as they gain success and pressure to put out new work increases.
3.) The artist fails to keep lines of communications open with you. Big mistake.
Who is your art crush?
William-Adolphe Bouguereau and Maxfield Parrish.