Will Elliott of Elliott Fine Art.

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He is exhibiting at London Art Week’s winter edition, which runs from December 3-10, and is focusing on the forgotten artists of the Belle Époque period.

1 How did you get your start?

I knew I wanted to be an art dealer from the age of 18, after interning one summer with Derek Johns.

Like many dealers I was captivated by the idea of discovery, of rescuing a work from languishing in obscurity, and researching it, elevating it and eventually selling it!

After some time at Sotheby’s and Colnaghi, both of which were essential for my development, I decided to go it alone as of January last year. I don’t really think there is ever a right time to go independent, all you can do is jump in at the deep end and make it work.

2 What is your area of focus?

I love and buy everything from antiquities to contemporary – this range is possibly a double-edged sword! Perhaps one day I will deal in everything; after all, a rigorous focus on quality gives a coherence to ostensibly disparate objects, but for now I am concentrating on the 19th and early 20th centuries. These years, particularly the late 19th century, are so vibrant, dynamic and full of incredible artists who are not well known – I’m really enjoying exploring these decades and bringing these names to light.

3 Have you noticed any collecting trends in the last 6-12 months?

I feel that the market is becoming more image based. Outside of the great art historical names which transcend their time, collectors are not so concerned with who the artist is, only that the work is impactful and of quality. Of course I generalise, though I think this holds true overall.

4 What is one great discovery you’ve made?

One thing I have really enjoyed researching recently is Mon Atelier by Lucie Attinger, which will be in my London Art Week show. It’s a perfect example of a significant and fascinating work by an artist who has undeservedly been forgotten. Shown at the Salon of 1889, the painting depicts a female-only artist studio at the Académie Julian, with a self-portrait of Attinger at the far left.


'Mon Atelier' by Lucie Attinger, a work offered by Elliott Fine Art at London Art Week.

It is one of only two known depictions of a life class in a female Parisian studio from this time, so it is both very rare and captures the zeitgeist of current art historical concerns.

5 One lesson you would pass on to others in the trade?

Not one lesson but rather three interlinked maxims: have courage in your convictions, be comfortable putting your money where your mouth is, and fortune favours the brave!

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