Both in your previous role at Christie’s New York and since the founding of Nicholas Hall in 2016, you have been dedicated to making the world of Old Masters more approachable. You invite scholars to contribute to your website and your publications, present new exhibitions in your gallery, and produce very high quality catalogues. Aside from furthering the education of enthusiasts, why do you think that these initiatives are important?
We are part of an ecosystem formed by museum curators, collectors, conservators, scholars, and other dealers; we want to chime in and feel connected to others in our community but that is purely a matter of preference.
As an international design studio, Designed by Woulfe is exposed to many tastes and interests. How do you advise clients who are new to buying Old Masters, but want to incorporate the artworks into contemporary spaces?
It depends a lot on how the client approaches art collecting. From time to time we do see collectors of contemporary art venture into Old Masters, but their tastes can really vary. Some go for a particular look: it could be figurative, action-packed, or eccentric and slightly naïve; others focus on a few big names, or regional schools, or perhaps purely visual qualities (not bothered by attribution). It is important to know that the quality of an artwork does not always equate to the fame of the artist. So, when you are advising clients on Old Masters, there are a few factors that determine the value of an Old Master painting, which could be handy for you to know. It is also worth trying out different arrangements to see if the artworks go well together. We organized an exhibition at David Zwirner’s gallery space in 2018 which included over 130 works created between the 13th and 21st century. And when it came to the hanging, we pretty much decided everything on the spot.