LAURA KUGEL, GALERIE J. KUGEL.
HEAD OF INTERNATIONAL PROJECTS, GALERIE J. KUGEL.
What advice would you give to women starting in the art world?
Stay curious, do not be afraid of speaking up, and do not systematically assume that those with more formal experience will have better insights than you.
David Hockney once said, “It’s good advice to only believe what an artist does rather than what he says about his work.” Would you agree?
We deal in antiques, most of which are anonymous pieces. Even when the artist is known through a signature or hallmark, word from the artist on works is scarce. This not only means that to a degree quality has to speak for itself but it also means that it becomes our job to fill in the gaps, mapping the provenances, for instance, in an attempt to understand these works in other ways: who made it, when, who commissioned it, and so on. In the end, the act of relating to a piece is a deeply personal and embodied experience, all these meta-details are just here to provide a background, an introduction perhaps but never a conclusion.
Who was the last artist to catch your eye?
Earlier this year we presented a series of oil on canvas panels by the great early 20th century Spanish artist José Maria Sert. He was an incredibly prolific, sought after and controversial painter who was trained in Modernism but embraced Baroque influences and produced works reminiscent of Tiepolo and Goya. He remained on the peripheries of the trends of the time, led by the likes of Picasso and Matisse. Following the end of the Second World War, his work fell into near oblivion. It has been a true process of rediscovery for me to research and exhibit his work.