ALS: This idea of a presence across Europe, a lot of the countries you just mentioned are Northern European countries, and Europe does feel like it’s at a little bit of a crossroads now. Can you talk a little bit about where you think that’s going and how that affects your business? Either with Brexit or the Southern countries which aren’t doing as well economically as the Northern ones.
TR: It doesn’t affect our business. First of all, I think the art world doesn’t think in a geopolitical order. So when people ask me about Brexit, well, I’m very, very disappointed, personally. I’m staunchly European: I believe in the European vision, I absolutely believe that we will succeed with it, and I’m very upset with London and with England leaving it. But it has nothing to do with my business or with galleries because I really think, as I said, the gallery world, and the art world, doesn’t think in a geopolitical order. So it will not affect it.
Maybe I will think differently if the opposite happens, but at this point I don’t expect it will make really anything in terms of business. It will make our life more complicated because administration will become a burden. Now if a collector in Paris wants to see something which is at the moment in our gallery in Salzburg, or in London, we can organize it within one day. Maybe this will become more complicated and we can’t do it in one day. And of course it will upset us because we are all used to a speed, which has to slow down. But I’m talking about technicalities, and our logistic department, which is the biggest department in my team. We are 100 people in the gallery, and a good third are doing logistics, only the moving of art; this team will become even bigger. So this is upsetting and annoying but as I said, more a technicality. And I’m happy that I’m personally not working in this department.
ALS: That’s funny. The collector Egidio Marzona, whose collection you’re showing at your London opening, you’ve talked about him having audacious taste and being very dedicated to collecting different art. Has that changed? I hear a lot from dealers that collectors are playing it safe.
TR: Yeah, I know. What we are trying to do more and more is to work with a group of collectors and help them really build their collections. This could be with younger artists, this could be in mid-career, or this could be finding the absolute most important work, which they’re missing in their collection. All three levels are interesting. We found the most incredible
sculpture for a collector recently, and on the other hand we are very happy to introduce this English artist,
, now, to an English audience. We’ve worked with him in Paris already; he’s collected by the Pompidou
and by other museums in Europe. We love the way the collectors react and try to understand his universe. When I think of Marzona, the collector you mentioned before, in the late ’60s and ’70s, how he started his relationship with the artists, trusted them—they were not famous, they were not confirmed—and built this incredible collection. It’s from people like him that we can all really learn. And those are of course our dream partners in a gallery.
ALS: Your collectors who are interested in young artists, how much of that has to do with the fact that they can trust you, even if they’re not sure about the art?
TR: I’m sometimes not so happy when collectors come with wish lists that somebody gave them and they just collect what’s on the list, and when they have their one painting they’ll move on. I have to say, in America you’ll find this type of wish list. I prefer go in depth into collections, to understand an artist and to follow an artist, and to turn it into your own taste, you know? I can help a collector only up to a certain point but I cannot replace his taste. Collections which are entirely done by advisors, you feel it. It’s so much more enjoyable to help people to develop their own taste.
ALS: But do you see people taking risks in the way that they used to, say, 40 years ago?
TR: Yes, there are still people. Who we don’t want to cater to are investors. We’re trying to avoid it because I think we’re not here to make people just make a profit.
ALS: Do you think flipping is still a big presence in the art market?
TR: When we sit down in my gallery and we go through an exhibition, we make sure that we are not selling to people when we know they are flipping it in a year. We know the people and we’re discussing it. For every exhibition we have a meeting, which brings the sales team together, and one person says, “I could place this here,” and I say, “No, not here because we are not sure what he’s doing with it.” And sometimes when we co-represent an artist with another gallery I will even say to my colleague, “Please try to avoid to sell to this person because he will just flip it.” I don’t say, “Don’t do it,” but I say, “I give you this advice. If you will do it or not it’s your thing, but it’s not in the interest of the artist,” but it’s not a list which I have in my pocket.