On Tuesday, October 23rd at 6:30 pm we held our second "Collectors Circle" program. This one was held at Oxford Gallery. It was just as successful at the first one, held earlier in the year at Makers Gallery.
The Collectors Circle program is open only to members and seating is limited to just 30 people. We like to gather in an exhibition space during a current show. Typically a special guest speaker is invited to present on a topic of interest to member-participants.
The first 30 minutes of the program are are social . Members take some time to look at the work on exhibit; grab a bite and a sip while chatting with one another. Before too long we gather in a large circle. Each collector presents an original work of art from their collection to the group. Usually we hear a little background about the work and how the collector came to own it. Sometimes we hear why it's important to the owner's collection or why it's important to the collector or both.
This time around we heard stories about works of art saved by relatives who were refugees fleeing Nazi's during the World War II era and later given to the collector. At one point the lights were dimmed so that we could all experience the luminescence of an Op-Art piece from the 80s. An early 20th century landscape was presented along with details about the painter and it's importance to the collector. We even saw a bronze casting of a disposable cup lid from a show in 2016; As you can tell there was a wide range of work!
After the collectors presented their works of art we turned the floor over to Oxford Gallery owner, Jim Hall. He talked about the long history of Oxford Gallery. Established in the 1960s Oxford is the longest continuously running commercial gallery in Rochester. Jim and his wife, Ginny, have owned the gallery for 25 years. Oxford represents over 40 artist and exhibits their works on consignment - usually organized around exhibition themes - throughout the year. In addition, Jim is an active art dealer specializing in 19th century works. He closed his talk with a traditional definition of art collecting that prompted a lively discussion. The group broke up around 8:30 pm.
The next Collectors Circle will be held early in 2019. Details will be announced sometime after January 1, 2019.
We are very pleased to announce Mark Harrington has become the 300th member of Rochester Art Collectors!
It seems Mark was destined to appreciate and collect art. At the age of eight, without his parents knowledge, he rode his bike ten blocks to a local grocery store and bought a small oil painting of ducks in flight with his allowance. He gave that painting to his Mom. She kept it on her desk until she passed. It now hangs in his study in Pittsford. That was just the beginning..
During his early school years Mark's interest in art intensified and his activities expanded to include collecting. In high school Mark became friends with the daughter of the curator at the McNay Art Institute. While attending a exhibition at the McNay Mark was introduced to Lita Albuquerque, whose work is in the Museum of Modern Art's permanent collection. Lita and her work made a lasting impression on Mark. Their friendship blossomed. While attending college in Austin Mark began collecting art with some regularity. He made a practice of visiting student art exhibitions, purchasing work that spoke to him along the way.
After business school while living in New York City in 1979 Mark became acquainted with Dorothy and Herb Vogel through Tom Armstrong, then curator of the Whitney Museum. The Vogels were two of the most remarkable people Mark had the pleasure of knowing. They were a fixture on the NYC art scene. The Vogels introduced Mark to important art dealers and taught him the ropes. Thanks to the Vogels he met Gracie Mansion at the opening of the first gallery exhibit of “graffiti art” created by Keith Haring and Jean Michel Basquiat.
During their lifetimes the Dorothy and Herb Vogel amassed over 4,000 minimalist and conceptual works along with a fair number of abstract expressionist works. They built their massive collection on modest civil servants’ salaries. Herb worked in the Post Office and Dorothy worked as a librarian. They lived in a small two-bedroom walkup on 86th Street in Manhattan. Ultimately their collection was bequeathed to 50 different museums: 50 works to each of 50 museums in 50 states.
Harrington says, "The Vogels taught me the importance of getting to know the artist and seeing their work progress over time. Most importantly, they stressed that if a work moved me, and it was the first thing I saw in my mind when I woke up, go buy it on the spot." As with the Vogels, I never have and never will sell any piece I buy. Investment value is unimportant to me. What matters is how my heart and soul respond. Herb said he never wanted to build a collection, it just happened. He taught me to think of each piece as a friend that lived with me.
"I joined Rochester Art Collectors to participate in a vibrant community of art lovers, to support artists and to purchase beautiful works of art."
Header image © Roy Sowers 1999
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