Oct 15, 2013
08:46 AMStyle & Shopping
A Connecticut Art Advisor; Not a Decorator, She Doesn't Match Paintings With Pillows
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The first meeting is crucial for that is when client and consultant set the rules and goals for the project.
“I like to meet in a neutral place, such as a museum where we can leisurely walk around and I can see what they like and what they know about art. I then visit their personal space to see how the paintings will relate to what they may already have. A project typically involves a couple, so it’s helpful for me to meet both of them. How involved do they want to be in the process? Do they want to visit galleries or have me do a preliminary walkthrough and set up some options for them? How interested are they in learning about the artist? We need to establish a budget. If there are constraints I need to know about them up front.”
The business is nine years old and growing all the time, thanks to the explosion in the art market. “I liken my job, in a sense, to that of a personal shopper. I do all the research after discussing the client’s needs and interests. And then I present those items that I think will fill their requirements.”
She needs to be aware of any new developments in the market. With contemporary art, which is what people are most interested in, Ms. Della Monica has to know what the next new thing is going to be. “I’m always on the lookout for new talent. It’s tricky, because the buyer will want to know if the investment is worth it. If someone is 25 and a comer, how can one know about the rest of his career?”
To help evaluate that, there are certain indicators she looks for: Is the person represented by a good gallery? Has his or her work been looked at by museum curators, been included in group shows, won any prizes? Have the prices for the work increased?
“Even with all of that, people have to trust my instincts and their own.”
To aid her in developing her business, Ms. Della Monica has recently compiled a book, Painted Landscapes: Contemporary Views.
“I’ve worked on so many collections, including my own, and, across the board, most people are comfortable with landscapes, images of pretty places they know and understand. But the definition of a landscape is quite broad and the 60 artists in this book cover the range. Landscapes are really about places, and ideas about places, but not everything is pristine and pastoral. I took a concept everyone is familiar with and turned it on its head. There are traditional scenes, of course, but there are also grittier aspects of landscapes, dealing with place, environment and situation.”
The book is a tool for Ms. Della Monica. “I can give one to a client and say, ‘Go through it and tell me what you like, what you would choose to live with,’ and I can work with them to achieve that end,” she explained.
Next up for Ms. Della Monica? “Maybe another book, but not for a while. Right now I’m planning a special trip for my upcoming special birthday.”
This story is from the autumn issue of Passport magazine, a publication of The Litchfield County Times.