(L-R) Mica, Robert and Michele Bowman at the opening of their show on Massimiliano Pelletti in October 2023.

Photo: Richard Young

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

This was the case for sculpture dealer Robert Bowman and his wife Michele, whose daughter Mica came on board in 2018.

“My parents didn’t pressure me at all,” says Mica. “I grew up surrounded by it and it was automatically something I loved.

“It was only when I was doing my A-Levels that we discussed it. I asked my parents if, after the appropriate degrees and experience, they would be happy for me to join.”

The three of them are equal owners of the business. In terms of the gallery, which deals in sculpture from the 19th century to the present day, Mica looks after the day-to-day management of the gallery and the growth of the more recent Contemporary side while Robert continues his focus on Rodin and his contemporaries, the area in which he is best known.

For him, having Mica on board is the “best possible” way forward for the gallery.

“It’s not just the trust element, it’s the way of doing business. When people come into the gallery, we always try to be friendly and welcoming and Mica really embodies that ethos,” he says.

It is, she adds, an “inherited attitude” learned even before joining the business.


Auguste Rodin, Le Penseur (The Thinker), petit modèle with rounded base, conceived c.1880-81, the reduction created in 1903, bronze with brown patina, 15in (37cm) tall. One of only eight lifetime casts, it is offered by Bowman Sculpture at the Taipei Dangdai fair (May 10-12) and at its gallery show (June 19-July 20) for $7.8m.

Robert says that while he has no retirement plans, having a family member who can handle the day-to-day running of the gallery gives him more latitude to travel - both for business and pleasure - and research.

In the long run, the family believes, it is unlikely that anyone will be more invested in the reputation and integrity of the firm than one of their own, and maintaining its name and character is crucial.

“We value our good reputation and the relationships fostered with our clients over the years. Some of the best purchases we’ve made in recent years have been works that we sold to clients many years ago. We hope that this relationship and trust will continue to the next generation.”