Tag Archives: collecting art

An Unrecognized Patron: Linda Harteker

Linda HartekerAfter my friend Linda Harteker bought one of my pictures from the March exhibition at Washington Printmakers Gallery, she observed that she now owns a number of works by WPG artists. Her remark aroused my curiosity, and I learned that she has nine works by six WPG artists: one each by Jenny Freestone, Pauline Jakobsberg, Norma Pfaff, and Max-Karl Winkler; two by Lee Newman; and three by Ellen Verdon Winkler.

Nor is her art collection limited to works purchased from WPG; she also owns several prints from the annual calendar produced by Washington Area Printmakers, and a number of postcard-sized holiday prints from WPG artists.

The Purchase

Not all of these are recent acquisitions: Ms. Harteker has been a visitor and purchaser at WPG for more than a decade. She began visiting the gallery around 1997, when she attended a reception for Ellen Verdon Winkler’s work at the gallery’s small basement space on R Street NW in DC. Soon thereafter, the gallery moved to its Connecticut Avenue location, and Harteker continued to visit. In the course of those visits, she became familiar with the work of other artists. Because she lived nearby, she even worked briefly, on a substitute basis, at the director’s desk. At heart, however, Harteker is a gardener; after she left WPG, she went on to volunteer at the U.S. Botanical Garden. Recently retired, she’s also a tutor for Reading Partners at an elementary school in her neighborhood.

I asked if the works in her collection have anything in common. “They are all quiet, often near-brooding works,” she replied. “Most have human figures. The sole work to have color is the one by Pauline [Jakobsberg]. They make me happy when I look at them, even in some cases after many years.”

ADAGW: Collecting works on paper

The Art Dealers Association of Greater Washington is hosting a series of seminars in conjunction with the exhibition “Washington Art Matters” at the Katzen Art Center, which opens today.  Throughout the exhibition, ADAGW is offering free seminars on collecting all types of art, from sculpture to photographs to (our favorite) works on paper.  Though the events are free, they are on a first-come, first-serve basis, and reservations are suggested.  The Works on Paper seminar kicks off the series on Thursday, June 27 at 6:30 pm, in the Abramson Family Recital Hall (at American University’s Katzen Art Center).  As an interesting side note-WPG member Clare Winslow’s father and grandmother both have paintings in the exhibit.  You can find more details at the links above.

Collecting Art

"Tynemouth Priory" by Hilary Paynter, this could be a great starting print for an art collection!

I wanted to write a little bit about collecting art, since we have a limited offering of some very well known and talented printmakers in our current show, Bewick’s Legacy.  These are personal thoughts from a gallery director to be taken as such, I do not profess to be an investment specialist or predictor of future trends in the art market!

Starting an art collection is a beneficial experience for so many reasons–it is a wonderful way to support the fine arts, many people collect as part of their investment strategy, and of course, you increase the aesthetics of your home or office!  Also, starting an art collection can be done by anyone on any budget and at any age!  Prints, of course, are a great way to start an art collection because you can buy beautiful, original artwork for much less than many similarly sized paintings or sculpture.

When starting an art collection, the number one most important thing to do is buy art you like!  DON’T buy work because it is by a big-shot artist, DON’T buy work to impress other people, and DON’T buy work because you think you’ll be able to sell it in a year or two for more.  You want to buy pieces that you can live with and enjoy.  If visitors to your home or office compliment the work or the work happens to appreciate in value, then that should just be an added bonus.

That being said, there are some things to look for when you are starting or adding to your collection.  The work should be of high technical quality (unless of course shotty construction is part of the concept of the piece, but that’s a whole different conversation!)  Make sure that canvasses have squared corners and don’t raise unevenly off the wall.  Works on paper should be clean of finger prints, errant ink blots, etc.  If you are buying framed pieces, the frame corners should be square and the mats clean, as well.

Also, see if the artist and artwork matches your collection ideology.  If you are collecting artwork simply because it is pretty, then go right ahead and buy it, no extra thought needed!  However, if you are trying to create a more specific collection (say, contemporary female artists, regional printmakers, or artworks with roots in Cubism), then you need to do a little more research.  This can be as easy as asking the gallery assistant or looking on the artist’s website for an artist statement and resume. When you do buy a work, ask for the CV (resume) 0f that artist and keep it in a file with your receipt, so you have documentation to back up your art collection.

In closing, I invite you to take a moment and think about what kind of art YOU like, what kind of space you have on your walls, and what you might want to do with that upcoming tax refund check.  Who knows, in 10 years you could become the premier private collector of artist depictions of Florence (a beautiful subject artists of many media seem to be drawn to), or maybe the National Gallery of Art will want your collection of contemporary botanical prints.  The opportunities only multiply with your first purchase of artwork!