Another Trip Down Memory Lane (Rodeo Drive)

Another Trip Down Memory Lane Rodeo Drive

Michael Schwartz January 4, 2019

I recently began a short walk down Memory Lane, or in my case, down our home street for the past 40 years, Rodeo Drive. I recounted some of the things I learned along the way from various key people in my life, and then began a conversation about market trends. Now I would like to expand that discussion in an effort to transfer the lessons I learned to those I exist to serve—the loyal clients of Galerie Michael. While it has taken me five decades to accumulate this knowledge, I will attempt to be briefer here! By their very definition, cycles are trends that move up and down over some period of time. Sometimes the trendlines are upward, and sometimes they are downward. As a successful dealer and gallerist, I feel it is imperative to share my insights and observations of the current market. I have dozens, perhaps hundreds, of people who helped shape me—in both knowledge and experience. They were scholars, museum curators, art runners, auction houses, other dealers, as well as great collectors and conservators. Many were a positive influence, though certainly not all. Some of the strongest lessons I learned were things I promised I would never replicate. The art world has its share of scoundrels and outliers working in the periphery and shadows. So what separates a true fine art dealer from the others? There is a consensus that guides us in understanding this important area. It all starts with the quality of the inventory. This is critical in defining the dealer’s reputation and merit, because one can perceive the dealer through the work s/he carries. Great dealers acquire and then sell works in the upper 20% of an artist’s output, and always make the commitment to buy great works of unequivocal quality and authenticity to serve their clients’ pursuit of building museum-quality collections. Great dealers are collection builders; their interest is to place their top works into the foundation of exceptional client collections. Top dealers exist to serve the needs of their clients, not the other

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