1 How did you get your start?
Six or seven years ago I bought a 1959 painting of Railway Sidings, Bradford by Percy Monkman, a ‘picturesque’ location where I used to train-spot as a kid. That led me to research art from the period, and I found there was something of a gap in knowledge and understanding. In the learning process, the ‘fifties bug’ bit me.
2 Who do you admire in the trade?
Emma Mason British Prints was the first 1950s-related website I discovered, and I was entranced by the wonderful range of printmakers represented. Emma and Richard Mason’s commitment to promoting Post-war art, especially printmaking, through scholarship and exhibition, is a benchmark of professionalism.
3 What is one great discovery you’ve made?
It has to be a striking and significant New York cityscape by the German Abstract Expressionist Albert Schawinski, who attended the Bauhaus and was encouraged to migrate to the United States in the 1930s. I found it unrecognised in an auction catalogue and I’m pleased to say it’s been rehomed to New York – the best £40 I’ve ever spent.
4 How far will you travel to buy an object?
With internet auctions, it’s usually about six feet. However, with the UK market depressed at the time, a whole body of John Piper’s original work was sold to clients in the US in the 1940s-50s. Most of it is still there waiting to appear on the market and for the right work I’d be there like a shot!
5 What do you collect personally and why?
Living in the East End has brought an inevitable interest in its history, especially of the former docks and warehouses close to the Thames. Against all good sense, I’ve allowed myself to be tempted by artworks and maps of the area, and it’s now degenerated to historic artefacts – most recently a Georgian telescope made in Wapping.
There is no hope.
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