Do you love contemporary art as much as we do? If you do, you’re sure to fall in love with White Court Art’s owner, Richard Veal – an art enthusiast with a zest for original works by up and coming British artists, and a love for unconventional pieces. Richard spoke with us about his surprising entry into the art world, his passion for online galleries, and industry tips for new collectors.
What first sparked your passion for art?
As a small child my Mother would take me to the great museums and galleries in London. I was spellbound. When I grew older my interest continued and as I travelled around the world I visited other amazing art collections, marveling at the diversity of styles and wonderful collections.
How did you get in to the art business?
My path through life has been somewhat unconventional; starting in farming, moved on to documentary filming, then worked in the leisure and finance industries until finally deciding to follow my passion and become involved in the glorious world of art collectors and artists. I firmly believe that art on a wall is far better than money in the bank, particularly in the current market.
What is the first work of art you collected?
Over the years I’ve owned a fair few paintings, but the first “serious” piece of art, and by that I mean an artwork with a back story or history, were a pair of paintings by the Soviet artist Nina Lugovskaya. She was the wife of the Vladimir School artist Viktor Templin and had survived the notorious Gulag Kolyma after the NKVD found her teenage diary, which they used to persecute her and her family. After the demise of Soviet Russia the diary was found intact in the file on her family and was published in 2003 as “The Diary of a Soviet Schoolgirl,” leading her to be dubbed the “Anne Frank of Soviet Russia.”
Is there a style or artist that you’re particularly fond of?
My taste is pretty eclectic; but if pinned down to a particular style I would have to say contemporary even though that is such a broad brush term. George Bellows, the great American artist, is a particular favorite for his sheer talent and ability to paint in a range of styles to suit his subject matter. In my opinion no-one can come close to Vermeer in his skill with light and shade. As a performance and installation artist, the Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama is someone that never fails to amaze.
How has the industry evolved, and where do you see the industry heading in the next few years?
When I formed White Court Art there was a great deal of skepticism about a purely online gallery. Art buyers have now embraced this global ability to purchase works of art, and the art world is now a more egalitarian place. Collectors can purchase according to their own taste using their own judgement. In the next few years I believe that there will be more presence of galleries online, and that making purchases in this way will become more prevalent. It’s the perfect way to reach a global audience. As for White Court Art, what our clients like in our online gallery is even better when seen in person.
What do you look for when looking to add a piece to White Court Art’s collection?
Art is so subjective; when we look to add pieces to the White Court Art gallery or work with a new artist the paintings must speak out. There has to be a strength of form, color, and character. Of course we hope that these qualities are also seen by our clients and potential buyers.
How do you help clients find the right work of art for their home or project?
It’s incredibly important to forge a bond or relationship with clients. They have to invest not only their money which is hard, but also their trust which is harder still. Only by asking questions that can appear completely unrelated to a prospective purchase can we begin to understand a clients style or determine their taste.
What defines great style?
Great style, that’s hard! I think that timelessness is a great indicator of great style. This holds true not just for art but for design, fashion and architecture. Frank Lloyd-Wright, Bauhaus, Chanel, Ferrari are all iconic in their fields.
Is there a work of art you dream of owning?
There are many art works I would love to own, however my dream would be to discover a lost or unknown piece by a great artist. Perhaps an unknown Vermeer? The search and research would fascinate me and it would be so exciting to reveal the work to a new audience.
What is your advice for those who are new to collecting art?
Again not an easy answer to this; it really depends on why that person wants to collect art. Sadly some great artworks seem only valued by their price tag and are kept hidden away in vaults. For me art is a joy, something to treasure and something that gives far more pleasure than a bank statement! I would advise the new collector to seek a style that speaks to his or her heart and be prepared to wait until that work comes along. Collectors should also be aware of monetary value but it should be a secondary consideration.