On the penultimate day of our holidays, my wife and I decided to visit LA’s spectacular J. Paul Getty museum. Whilst wandering around the exceptionally impressive building, we individually happened across the Dutch masters’ room. One work in particular quite literally bought tears to our eyes; Jan van Huysum’s ‘A Fruit Piece‘. The detail was astonishing. That we have the privilege to view such an exceptional 18th Century masterpiece up close, though, was a gift in itself. Moreover, it was the emotion the piece infused in us both that will stay with me.
Not coming from an artistic background, I’ve always considered the art we have at The Harbour Gallery to be ‘Heart Art’: art that has a similar emotional effect on both you and me to van Huysum’s. And it’s an absolute delight for us to sell each piece that is painted with love, to someone who will cherish it. A real win-win scenario for everyone.
And that’s truly why I started Contribution Buying and Staged Payments; so that someone who has a connection to a particular piece of art – who maybe couldn’t otherwise – can afford to have that thing of beauty in their lives. After all, we spend hundreds of pounds a year heating the outside of our bodies, so why not spend a fraction of that for something that will warm us from inside for life?
Conceptual art (or ‘head art’, as I like to call it) rarely has that same connection for me, which is why, in the main, I tend to steer clear of this in the gallery. Funnily enough, on the plane home there was an interesting documentary on this: ‘How To Look at a Painting‘ by Justin Paton, senior curator of Christchurch art Gallery. In it he explained the concepts behind conceptual art and although he ‘joined the dots’ for me, I was left intellectually satisfied, but emotionally a million miles from the emotional attachment I had with van Huysum’s masterpieces.
For me, art has to do that. It must take the wind out of you. It must enthuse you with excitement and desire to be amongst the place the painting takes us to. To feel the heat or power of that day; inspire memories; and, like a great song, capture a moment. Maybe one day I’ll find the ‘key’ and have that kind of interaction with ‘head’ art. But until then, THG’s focus will remain firmly on finding emotional connections between our astonishing works of art and their perfect homes. Did I say I love my job?