THE NEW YORK OPTIMIST
The Disappearing Art - Of Selling Art
my friend I am happy to have this opportunity to ask you what I believe are very important questions
about the business of selling art as it seems to be such a tricky elusive and downright confusing thing for so many artists and art dealers.
Speaking with you about art has been enlightening and educational.
Your integrity to the artists you represent is rare and refreshing, in a shiny over glossed wld
filled with rubber tire sales people latching on to the next big fad.
True, there are still a few of you out there.
The art dealers who maintain a small roster of artists and stick by them through the up and down markets and continue to run landmark galleries that have held key positions in major metropolitan markets like NY, CA, etc..
Based on the ever-changing landscape of the real estate business in these key locations, what was once a hot spot is now a dead spot. The time that it may have taken to build what is usually an industrial area filled with large warehouse factory buildings into a chic destination for those in the know is the same amount of time it takes for the landlords of these buildings to figure out that they can charge 3 times the amount of rent they were previously charging, driving out well-known galleries as the profit margin has just disappeared.
Then it’s time to figure out where to go next - maybe Bushwick an area of Brooklyn which at one time was known as a war zone, and even the toughest characters thought twice about getting out of their cars, much less opening their windows.
But this did not stop the great metamorphosis which we know as the NY real estate landscape and it stands true for many other parts of the country which have always been known as destinations for the arts, from turning these
neighbourhoods from Neolithic nightmares into theme parks for the rich and fabulous.
TNYO: Are you originally from France, Max?
Max L: Yes. I was born in Paris.
TNYO: What was your childhood like? Do you come from a large family, brothers, sisters? The child within us is alive hopefully, and can keep you young. This can also tell you a lot about where a person is in the present.
Max L: My parents were a phenomenal loving couple. I have one sister. All I can say is that I had a very happy childhood.
I was brought up with love, humanist values, respect for others, and in a very cosmopolitan environment.
You are right; it is great to keep a child’s spirit. Imagination, dreams, passion, the ability to laugh, the burst of enthusiasm…
TNYO: You mentioned at dinner one night that you were a scientist before you became an art dealer. Can you tell us a little more about this?
Max L: Since my earliest childhood, I have always been attracted to arts, music, theatre, paintings and sculptures. As soon as I was allowed to go in the city by myself, I spent most of my free time to visit museums. But my parents did not want to hear about art as a profession and wanted me to go to university, to get the highest graduations, to have a “proper” profession.
As I was also gifted in mathematics and sciences, I graduated as a scientist and became involved in high-level research in biology, and an expert in applied technologies. I was invited by GEC to go to London and appointed as a senior executive consultant for one of their groups.
In London, I met a writer who was a wealthy collector, patron of arts. He introduced me to all his friends who were the most prominent English artists.
As I was socializing in this artistic circle, I felt that this was my world. I could enjoy and develop effectively my lifelong passion for arts. I noticed that, in these circles, there were many young artists, friends or students of the masters, who were struggling to be represented and have their art shown. A few years later, the GEC group I was working with was bought by a Japanese group and my contract ended. For me, this was a relief.
I had time, money, and I had proven to my parents what I could achieve, their way. I decided to do what I really was born for: Art. I started to represent emerging artists. That was over twenty-three years ago. Since then, I have dedicated my life to my passion for arts.