Carole Pinto has an impeccable eye for fine art. But before becoming an art dealer, she was working in the finance industry at Salomon Brothers. After being hired by Sotheby’s and later the Metropolitan Museum in New York, she traded the corporate world to pursue her passion for fine art, specializing in 19th and 20th-century paintings. Carole spoke with us about her beginnings in the art world, and her secret to collecting.
What inspires you?
I travel a lot and love to buy artwork all over the world —sculpture, textiles, art, anything that is an expression of beauty. I love putting things together from different places. I go for the wow moment. I love tremendous variety. I try not to stay in one style.
What is something you can’t live without?
Classical music – I love the Romantic composers – Chopin, Mozart, Bach. It’s helped me get through difficult moments in my life.
Do you have a secret to collecting?
I just really buy what other people don’t buy. If everyone is going in one direction, I go in the other. I try to buck the trends and hope I’m not the only one that believes in building a collection without breaking the bank. I guess I dare to be different.
What’s your dream acquisition?
I would love to buy a painting by Pierre Bonnard. Hopefully, one that hasn’t been identified, but who knows?
Why an art dealer?
I had actually been in the art world for a while – I worked at the Met, Sotheby’s, Art + Auction. I’d been living in Paris and when the oldest of my three children applied to college, I wanted to get back into working. My husband always thought I had a wonderful eye, he gave me a bit of money and encouraged me to start buying some art. I bought works on paper, started out with buying inexpensive things, and eventually buying for my American expat friends, and then it grew from there.
Your first purchase?
I was a freshman at college. There was a show of works on paper at one of areas on campus. Bought a small etching of trees. I still have it. I paid $10. It just resonated with me. I had a thrill buying it and still have a thrill looking at because it was a seed that planted and grew.
What can we learn from France?
To open your mind to this whole world of culture out there. Art and music and culture reflect what is going on in a society. You really understand a place – politically, culturally, if you pay attention to its music, its paintings.
Any parting words?
A painting isn’t something you buy and put in a closet. Art is something that you’ll get pleasure from for the rest of your life, an endless amount of pleasure. My goal is to train people to look at art. That’s the greatest compliment you can give me –that a client loves looking at something they bought from me. That’s my philosophy.
Discover Carole Pinto’s collection on The HighBoy: