For Art's Sake: Inside the Homes of Art Dealers takes us into the private homes of 24 of the world's most prestigious art dealers.
Written by Tiqui Atencio Demirdjian, a leading collector of modern and contemporary art and twentieth-century design, the book gives us unprecedented access to the private homes of the world's most famous collectors.
From New York to London, Paris to Monaco, these residences boast some of the world's most outstanding collections. Antique masterpieces, modern chefs d'oeuvre, and contemporary creations are set against exquisite – and at times audacious – interiors exuding bold, unique style.
Needless to say, their spaces inspire...
1. Ivor Braka's home, Knightsbridge
Ivor Braka is an art dealer like no other. Unconventional in life and work, he operates without a gallery, preferring to buy and sell art by private appointment from his home in London’s Knightsbridge. Nicknamed “the rock ’n’ roll” dealer by the Evening Standard newspaper, he has spent a lifetime breaking or simply ignoring the established rules.
With his signature long hair, often outré outfits and makeup, and supermodel wife, he is familiar presence on the London social scene.
Ivor moved into his Knightsbridge home in 1988. It started off as a two bedroom apartment, but over the years he acquired adjoining properties as they became available, and extended the residence. His home is full of Arts and Crafts furnishings, avant-garde paintings, and contemporary art, popping against a Gothic-inspired backdrop.
We love the zesty yellow of the artwork and floor lamp which stand out against the moodier colour palette.
2. Dominique Lévy, Upper East Side
Dominique Lévy's airy Upper East Side duplex is light, spacious, and mostly monochrome – with pops of surprising colour.
Dominique worked with Peter Marino to design the space when she moved into the apartment in 2007. Since then she has made a few changes, including the sculpture, ceramic and painting collections on display.
Unlike many dealers in the book, Dominique does not necessarily collect artists that she represents. “I find that difficult to do since in most cases I am showing an artist because I have already fallen in love with their work. That means there’s always a conflict of interest. It’s very hard to sell the best work to someone else if you collect that artist, at least for me. I always feel obliged to sell the best pieces to a collector, so never get the first choice,” she explains to the author.
3. Christophe Van de Weghe, Upper East Side
Christophe Van de Weghe's custom-built Upper East Side townhouse houses a collection of antiques and twentieth-century icons of art and design.
The house is full of fine works by Christophe and Anne-Gaëlle’s favorite artists—Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Cy Twombly (Christophe’s first acquisition)—as well as several surprises, such as a Tintoretto portrait from the sixteenth century and marble heads from Roman antiquity or an ancient Corinthian helmet.
Once in a while, he has things up that are for sale, but mostly it's their personal collection. The townhouse's big windows, natural light and high ceilings help show off the artworks beautifully.
The house contains a wonderful mix of iconic modern European furniture and design objects with the work of contemporary figures such as designer Martin Szekely and glassmaker Thaddeus Wolfe. The couple enjoys combining the old with the new in this way, and that goes for the art too. “If you look at the late Picasso, it is so fresh, so contemporary. It could almost have been painted this morning by a young artist in Brooklyn. You put it next to Basquiat or another contemporary work and it holds up. So when a client asks why they should buy late Picasso, I say because I’m buying it myself. That’s the best argument for me to sell art.”
4. Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn, Manhattan
Professional life meets family living in Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn's stylish architect-designed townhouse on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
Jeanne's house on East 94th Street is the main family home, as well as an opportunity for Jeanne to showcase her aesthetic in a seamless display of art and design. She worked with acclaimed Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly to design the interiors of the building, which had been “a wreck” when she and husband Nicolas bought it.
The living room is packed with objects. While she doesn’t work in this space, she does hold meetings here and she treats it as “kind of my brain,” she tells the author. “It is where I experiment the most in terms of putting things together that I love. Right now, it’s full of ceramics because I’ve been thinking about how to integrate those with the design objects in the room. I sit in here a lot. It also has one of my favorite pieces of furniture, a Gaetano Pesce “Pratt” chair that he originally made in 1984, which we have been recasting and blending in different colours of resin.”
5. David Zwirner, East Village
David Zwirner's homely East Village brownstone is full of colour and light.
Zwirner and his designer wife Monica bought the first of two adjoining townhouses in New York’s East Village in 2003. Two years later, they bought the second building and combined the pair to make a single five-story residence. The couple worked with German-born Annabelle Selldorf, the art world’s go-to architect, who has designed spaces for numerous galleries, museums, artists, and collectors. Since then, they have completed almost twenty projects together.
“The important thing is that the art must look as good as it possibly can, and that’s what Annabelle excels at. Her understanding of light and space is unique,” Zwirner explains to the author. When it came to designing the house, the most important consideration was to create a family residence, because the couple’s three children were still at school and living with them.
“We wanted to make sure that it was a family home that was warm, not cold like an art gallery. Then the secondary consideration, of course, was to create beautiful spaces in which to show the art that we own and that we love and live with.”
Selldorf followed the couple’s brief to perfection and transformed the classic New York townhouse, with its series of dark rooms, into an elegant light-filled home.
6. Iwan and Manuela Wirth, Scottish Highlands
Swiss gallerists Iwan and Manuela Wirth's grand “home away from home” in the Scottish Highlands provides a magnificent setting for antiques and contemporary art.
Iwan and Manuela built a career on rethinking the model of the commercial art gallery, so it is unsurprising that their “happy place” in the Scottish Highlands, as they call it, redefines what a hotel can be today. They acquired The Fife Arms, a nineteenth-century coaching inn in the village of Braemar in the Cairngorms, in late 2014. They have since transformed it into a unique and award-winning combination of Scottish culture and craftsmanship, international contemporary art, and exceptional hospitality.