1. How did you get your start?
An interest in art and antiques runs in the family. My grandfather was the first director of the Rubenshuis in Antwerp and my parents were eclectic dealers, trading in everything from ancient Roman sculpture to works by Fontana and Brueghel. I kind of just rolled into it from there.
2. What is the gallery’s focus?
Everything Flemish and Dutch from the 16th to the 18th century, be it sculpture, painting or works on paper, although other bits, such as haute epoque objects and modern art, do sneak in from time to time.
3. How was the market changed?
I’ve only been in the business for about seven years, but even in that time I’ve noticed that today you either sell small(ish) items or really big-ticket things. The middle market has noticeably suffered. The internet has been a mixed blessing for dealers – we can now buy anywhere and everywhere, but so can our clients. I believe part of the solution lies in maximum transparency.
4. How do you get clients engaged?
Organising a themed exhibition helps focus the eye and the mind, especially when coupled with a nice catalogue and a well-catered opening reception. That sounds maybe a bit old-fashioned for a 31-year old dealer, but perhaps sometimes the old ways are best.
Of course, I do the whole digital thing too: I send out newsletters and put works in Instagram. Last year I even made my first-ever wholly online sale to a US institution (a still-life by Dutch painter Anna Ruysch). They never saw the work in person until it was uncrated.
5. Real ale or espresso martini?
I’ll go for a real ale any day. Although I must confess being quite partial to the Belgian stuff, beer-wise.