Hunting For Treasure

I often feel that when we acquire new works of art for the gallery, the thrilling sensation must be similar to that of our clients buying works for their collections.

We spend hours, sometimes days, following leads, scouring private collections all over the world and, inevitably, hunting through auction houses both sides of the Atlantic. There is nothing quite as exciting as finding a little gem hidden away, miscatalogued or in an obscure place, which we can acquire to present to our clients.

The first time I went on a buying expedition was with Anthony and we were in Paris in the chaotic, buzzing, cajoling body of the Drouot, France’s centralised auction house, before its recent face-lift. Men in crumpled suits with dubious haircuts and gravelly voices were pushing their way around each of the rooms, not shy of an elbow on their way (there are noticeably more women a decade on, impeccably dressed of course).

Here we picked our way through each of the rooms, viewing paintings and asking ourselves: “Are these any “good”? We thoroughly checked each one that piqued our interest and then, after a delicious prix-fixe menu, squeezed our way back into the room to bid.

With a budget in mind, my hands were shaking, palms sweaty and my heart was nearly beating right out of me as I raised my hand and nodded my way through the various lots (we won – I’m competitive). It was exhilarating! I was hooked.

I have learned an incredible amount from Anthony about buying paintings, yet I still feel I am only just scratching the surface of his knowledge. The thrill I get when I’m at an auction house, especially in France where it is wonderfully chaotic, seeking out a treasure or two for our collection is incomparable and I look forward to every buying trip with fascination and excitement.

The final high comes after the pieces return to the gallery and are ready for one of our valued clients to come and share in my excitement and hopefully find a new home for my “treasure.”


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