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1 How did you get your start?

With a six-year stint at the picture department at Sotheby’s New York. I then opened my gallery in 1992, where I specialise in an eclectic mix of British, Continental and American paintings (Turner, Corot and Sargent, for example).

Within the general span of the 19th and early 20th centuries, some areas of particular interest are marine, sporting and orientalist art.

2 What are the challenges of your profession?

Being an art dealer is not as easy as it looks. A Czech adage warns wild mushroom hunters that ‘every mushroom is edible, but some only once’.

Art dealing is similarly riddled with hazardous pitfalls en route to an occasional serendipitous discovery.

3 What is one great discovery you have made?

I recently acquired a small oil painting of a striking Greek warrior (above) in a Massachusetts estate auction which I have since proved – by way of a wax seal and an old Knoedler Gallery label on the back of the panel – to be the original 1857 work by Jean-Léon Gérôme recorded as lost in the late Gerald Ackerman’s catalogue raisonné. A most satisfying find – but on to the next.

4 What is the best exhibition you have visited recently?

Posing Modernity: The Black Model from Manet and Matisse to Today – a superb show now at Columbia University’s little-known Wallach Gallery but travelling this spring to the Musée d’Orsay.

5 Something you couldn’t do without?

The JPEG – what a welcome replacement for transparencies.

markmurray.com