1. How did you get your start?
I knew very early on that art would rule my life. As a teen, I would skip school to hit the flea market, and I had my first small shop at the age of 21. Every day dedicated to art is a privilege; I am fortunate to follow my vocation 24/7. Now I search for lost paintings by Austrian, Hungarian, Czech and other Eastern European artists. It‘s amazing where they show up: from Australia to Argentina, we‘ve been there. I‘m a hunter so my goal is to "unearth" the good stuff. I‘ve just come back from Parma, Italy‘s biggest antiques fair. Now I‘m looking forward to the TEFAF in Maastricht. What a feast for the eyes – that‘s really where you want to be in this business.
2. One high point in your career so far?
One of my most exciting finds was a long-lost major work by the Austrian Secessionist Koloman Moser, a life-sized painting of a male nude discovered in an old Dutch house. It wasn‘t easy to find a van that would fit the painting to bring it back to Vienna! It was a satisfying moment presenting the artwork to a major local museum.
3. What is a recent buying trend?
During the past year, I’ve also noticed a trend towards very expensive art. These days it’s much easier to sell an artwork for €100,000 than €1000. What matters most is the purity of an item: once it’s hit an auction and remained unsold it is old news.
Otherwise, I’ve found the internet marketplace is increasingly becoming important for the middle-price segment and seems is about to replace the classical gallery as the centre for trade. The quest for an artwork can take place anywhere in the world, no need to sit and wait in your gallery. Be proactive.
4. What exhibition would you love to stage?
One that features Czech-French painter François Zdenek Eberl (1887- 1962). Well-known in 1920s and ‘30s Paris, he is just now starting to be rediscovered. I am working on the catalogue raisonné of his works, an on-going project. Eberl deserves his place in art history.
5. Real ale or espresso martini?
As a hobby bartender I’d like to come up with my own creation if I may: Gery Sunrise, anyone?