Art World Q & A: Edition 16

1/9/2019

For the first Art World Q&A of 2019, I ask Lauren Dobrin Klumak, Associate Director of Robin Rosenberg Fine Art, to share her insight on collecting art and what artists are on her radar this year.

1. What was the first piece of art you bought and do you still own it?

A large Sam Francis print that I still have. I love it and I think I always will!

2. What medium are you interested in and why?

I find woodblock fascinating. Prints and multiples are sometimes deemed a lesser medium, but when you learn about the production process you understand the labour and the skill that is involved. I remember seeing images of Polly Apfelbaum’s woodblock prints in the making and witnessing the dynamic process of individually carved and inked woodblocks being arranged into a complex puzzle to form the final image. Everything was meticulously hand-made and the artist’s hand was so close to the finished product.

3. Have you bought works from artists you discovered on Instagram?

While I have not yet purchased any art discovered on Instagram, I have definitely come across new artists that are of interest to both me and my clients. I anticipate I will one day!

4. How did your enthusiasm for art come about?

My love for art developed at a young age. I grew up in a family of collectors, including my grandparents and my parents. Being exposed to quality art at as a young girl fostered in me a great appreciation for visual culture. This early connection with the arts was further bolstered when studying Art History in high school and throughout my graduate and post-graduate studies.

5. What is your most treasured artwork?

My most treasured artwork is a large black and white Tom Wesselmann print I bought with my husband. We started a tradition to purchase one artwork every year for our anniversary. The Wesselmann was our first purchase together.

6. Who inspires you in the art world?

My grandparents are definitely a big inspiration for me. As esteemed collectors, they bought what they loved but they also bought wisely. They had an uncanny ability to collect artwork of an artist before his or her market strengthened tremendously. They had an enviable artistic sixth sense.

7. How important is it for you to meet the artists you collect in person?

It is not necessarily important to me to meet the artists I am collecting. If an opportunity arose to meet the artist of a prospective artwork for purchase at a gallery or at a fair, it would certainly be an added bonus!

8. What is your advice to young collectors working with a budget?

Simply buy what you love and what you can afford. And when looking for what you love, try not to get overly influenced by what is hot and trendy. Investing in artwork with any budget is a commitment and it is important to consider longevity. A good question to ask yourself when pondering a piece is, “would I want this hanging on my wall ten years from now?”

9. Who are the contemporary artists that will stand the test of time and why?

In a vast sea of contemporary artists, I believe the few who will endure are the ones who are able to develop a unique, instantly-recognizable and appealing aesthetic that is cohesive throughout their body of work. With most big successes, you are able to discern the artist by merely looking at the artwork. I also believe it is necessary to receive promotion by a reputable gallery or museum. At the end of day, however, there is undoubtedly a considerable amount of luck involved!

10. What are the advantages/disadvantages of buying at auction versus buying through a commercial gallery?

Auction often offers good buying opportunities, however, purchasing through a gallery or a private dealer eliminates many of the risks associated with auction. There is a lot of uncertainty when it comes to auction, as price estimates are not necessarily indicative of what selling prices will ultimately be. And in a fast-paced, high pressure environment, buyers can unwittingly enter into bidding wars and end up paying significantly more than anticipated. Purchasing through a gallery or dealer alleviates pressure and allows buyers to sit in the driver’s seat. Additionally, there are no exorbitant premiums that auction houses collect.

11. What would artwork would you buy with $10k, $100k and $1 million?

Tough question!

$10k – A series of small Jacob Hashimoto prints

$100k –Al Held black and white canvas

$1 million – Richard Prince text painting

12. Do you have any favorite online venues for buying art?

Artsy is a great website where I browse through artists, galleries and fairs. It has been a very helpful tool when researching artwork for my clients. It has also enabled me to establish connections with many galleries and dealers across the globe.

About Lauren Dobrin Klumak

Growing up in family of art collectors, I developed an appreciation for the arts very early on. I would often find myself buried in art books and visiting museums at home and abroad whenever I travelled. My love for the field led me to pursue my studies in Art History at McGill University. During my time as an undergraduate, I had the privilege of interning at Christie’s auction house in New York City, as well as working part-time for Robin Rosenberg Fine Art. These opportunities provided me glimpses of what it is like to work in the arts and truly enhanced my academic experience.

After graduation, I went on to complete a Master’s degree in Art History at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. My thesis specialized in the intersectionality of fashion and art with a particular focus on documentary photography.

Upon my return from England, I began working for Robin Rosenberg Fine Art full-time as an Associate Director. I feel passionate about my clients and enjoy helping them take the steps to build a quality collection they love and appreciate.