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1 How did you get your start?

I have been surrounded by art for much of my life. While my grandmother thought paintings vulgar, my mother, in a subliminal act of revenge, built a good collection of mainly French and English 20th century. My enthusiasm was fired by Charles and Doris Saatchi’s collection which I catalogued on the very latest IBM ‘golf ball’ back in the late 1970s.

Much was minimal – Carl Andre, Eva Hesse, Donald Judd, Sol Lewitt – and others extraordinary – Lucas Samaras, Frank Stella, Cy Twombly, Duane Hanson. It certainly confused the auditors.

Crean & Company has a strong ambition to introduce the Contemporary artists we love to a new, wider audience.

2 What is your area of focus?

Our gallery brings together a group of emerging and mid-career international artists who are all creative explorers and find a very personal language through which to tell their stories. Whether Kate Braine’s clay-challenging pottery, Thomas Merrett’s elegant sculptures, Carolina Mazzolari’s emotive embroidery or Alexander Nolan’s fantastical canvases, their observational works are all marked by a compelling use of colour, originality, texture and draughtsmanship.


'The Listener' by Thomas Merrett, one of the artists represented by the Crean & Company gallery.

3 What collecting trends have you noticed in the past year?

The importance of draughtsmanship and the appreciation of craft taking its rightful place alongside fine art. Craft with its absolute focus on eye to mind to hand, with its appreciation of so many natural materials, woods, wools, earth, clay, stone, metals and with its obvious sustainability and cultural inspirations.

4 What is one great discovery you’ve made?

I researched and discovered that the boring old spaniel that hung in my parents’ dining room was in fact an oil sketch for a larger painting held by the Duke of Beaufort, by Sir Edwin Landseer.

5 Who do you admire in the art/antiques world (in or outside the trade)?

The spirit of Charles Saatchi in the late 70s, when he was my boss. He collected with the immediacy that only a great adman could. A work had to have an instant reaction, like a 30-second advert, or it was simply passed over. He lived, breathed and adored the collection.


If you would like to be featured in 5 Questions, please contact gabrielberner@antiquestradegazette.com