Erinn M. Cox
Artist, professor, & founder/writer of LouiseandMaurice.com


Why do I collect and how did I begin?  I began collecting artwork, in earnest, several years ago; and it kind of happened all on its own - it wasn't a conscious decision I don't think, but rather a desire to fill my space with beautiful works (and the fact that I finally had a place I wanted to fill).  My first real purchase was Bow by Jennie Gunhammar, a work that is poignant and sad and beautiful all at once - and though it took me a year to pull the trigger, I knew I had to have it. When something leaves you breathless, there really is little choice in the matter. It is still in my top three favorite things I own. 

 

What do I collect? My collection is largely two-dimensional and mostly photography, with a few sculptures and pieces of contemporary jewelry added in recently; and almost exclusively includes works by female artists. It's an eclectic mix, but dominantly figural; and ironically, a lot of figures from the back fill my walls. After purchasing the Gunhammar photograph, it kind of took on a life of its own.  My next major purchase was Inner Island by Jenny Morgan, a purchase that was three years in the making and also counts as one of my most prized possessions.  Other favorite works include: Jessica Bruah, Laura Bell, Jessica Craig-Martin, Jen E. Davis, Miranda Maynard, and Cristina De Middel. 

 

What am I missing?  My collection is yearning for some ceramics, I would love to add in one of Amanda Gentry's pillows or Peter Pincus' vessels; or more glass (I have two small works by artists Beccy Feather and Matthew Cox), one of Amber Cowan's smaller pieces or even a component of Charlotte Potter's installations would be perfect.  And I'd like to add a fiber piece next year, I'm researching smaller pieces that might fill the gap in the salon wall in my home.  

 

What is my suggestion for building/starting a collection?  The same as almost everyone you will speak to who collects art: buy with your gut.  You have to live with it, so make sure you absolutely love it and absolutely can't live without it.  Having a collection of no regrets is a wonderful place to be. 

 

Click the arrows to move through the slideshow or click any image for full view.

Everyone collects something.  Period.
 
Whether it is photography, art brut paintings, African carvings, or contemporary jewelry, there is a tale to be told of how it all came about. So in that spirit, welcome to the Louise & Maurice Salön: a gathering place of collectors who will share details, images, and private tidbits about their collections. 
 
Here you will find as much about the why and what they collect as how they go about finding their must-have pieces; as well as what work they just can't live without.  Join us, won't you?
Jennie Gunhammar, Bow
Jennie Gunhammar, Bow

Jenny Morgan, Inner Island
Jenny Morgan, Inner Island

Cristina De Middel, Hakuna
Cristina De Middel, Hakuna

Jennie Gunhammar, Bow
Jennie Gunhammar, Bow

1/8
Aaron T. Anderson
Collector | Chicago, IL


How would you describe your collection? Eclectic at best.  It's not haphazard, but it feels that way.  My collection is chock-full of things that really appeal to me visually, just like it is for everyone who owns art.  Isn't that the point?  

 

How did you begin/build your collection? It's all about art that found me.  A lot of them were gifts and/or hand-me-downs, like the Alice Neel litho or the vintage 60's silkscreen; but others were pieces I just stumbled upon when I wasn't really looking that I fell in love with, like the colored pencil soldier drawing by Rachel Jones.  So its often rather impulsive and decidedly quick, no regrets.  

 

What is your favorite piece? This changes all the time, its usually whatever piece is the newest; so right now, it's Floral & Insects by Laura Bell.  But this will ebb and flow as I add in new pieces or reorganize the collection.  If I had to pick a continual favorite?  It would definitely be the intalgio I have by Shoichi Hasegawa.  It's one of his more important works for sure, but I really like the organic quality it has - it's very biological, cells existing and multiplying.  And I like that I can see his fingerprints in the final image, the evidence of his hand is really special.  

 

Which artists would you like to add to your collection?  I would love to own one of Kehinde Wiley's paintings (I love the reference of William Morris wallpaper), or one of the gorgeous paintings by Rose Freymuth-Frazier - there is something about the feminine and the floral and the confrontational quality of both of these artists' work that I am really drawn toAnd I'd like to incorporate some three-dimensional pieces to bring the fun and whimsy off the wall and into my space.

 

What is your advice for building/starting a collection? GET IT!  Really, just go out and buy it.  If you can afford it, buy it outright, and if you need help - ask about payments, or flexible terms or whatever you need to do to get the work you want.  It might just be the one piece you regret not purchasing years later - a hard lesson I've learned several times over.  

 

Click the arrows to move through the slideshow or click any image for full view.

Alice Neel, The Family (artist).JPG
Alice Neel, The Family (artist).JPG

Laura Bell, Floral & Insects.jpeg
Laura Bell, Floral & Insects.jpeg

Jillian Marriani, Middle America.JPG
Jillian Marriani, Middle America.JPG

Alice Neel, The Family (artist).JPG
Alice Neel, The Family (artist).JPG

1/9
William Wegman, Leaf Line
William Wegman, Leaf Line

Mary Borgman & Esther Shimazu
Mary Borgman & Esther Shimazu

Ronnie Gould, Bull Terrier
Ronnie Gould, Bull Terrier

William Wegman, Leaf Line
William Wegman, Leaf Line

1/17
Anne & Joseph
Collectors | Chicago, IL


Why do you collect and how did you begin? (J) Because we wanted to be surrounded by art.  In our home its everywhere, and we feel really fortunate that we are able to have it occupy so much of our space.  We’ve acquired many beautiful pieces, our biggest fear now is that we’ll run out of walls – its criminal to have art in storage, its meant to be lived with.  (A) We got started through a personal relationship with a gallery.  Our first piece really spoke to us and that was it – the idea of purchasing and having art all around our home was on our radar.  From there, work just seemed to appear; and sometimes unexpectedly.  We found a gorgeous painting by Gary Strater in a parking lot during an outdoor art fair and knew instantly we had to own it; so being open to that kind of spontaneity often yields surprising finds. 

 

How would you describe your collection?  What type of work do you collect? (A) Fabulous, non-abstract, and contemporary; its fun, refined, and not so conceptually serious that it loses the power to be a little capricious.  (J) Definitely realistic and often with elements of the natural: landscapes, water, animals, the figure.  (A) But there is always an element of surprise, something unexpected that captures our curiosity; I suppose this is what attracts us to a lot of our pieces initially – they offer an opportunity to peak behind the curtain if you will. Like in Pozas’s painting Antes de Marchan, it's a beautiful landscape; but there’s a figure carefully hidden behind one of the trees that you will only find if you are willing to look closely.  (J) It’s the unexpected, something so perfectly placed or captured within the work that completely changes how I view it, for example, in Leaf Line by William Wegman.  It's a stunning portrait, but it's the single focused eye peaking out from under the floppy leaf that just takes it to a different level.  (A) Absolutely, reality has elements of mystery and the unknown, artists that can capture that are really appealing to us.

 

Do you have favorite pieces or do you love them all equally? (A) The Quiet Voyage by Bruno Surdo, Mayen by Borgman, and Sisters by Shimazu. (J) For me its really about the whole collection, each piece has very personal correlations and connotations that make each one important to us for varying reasons; I couldn’t select just one. 

 

What are you missing?  Any artist or work that you just need to have?  We really coveted acquiring a piece by Deborah Butterfield, so when we were able to own Hiapo – this felt like such a special piece, it was one of the ones we felt our collection really needed.  (J) I’ll tell you, one of the pieces I regret not owning was this striking painting by Gregory Gillespie called The Boxer or The Fighter or something similar – I still think about that as one that got away. 

 

What advice do you have for others who want to begin/build a collection? (J) If you like it, don’t buy it; if you love it, you must own it.  (A) Yes! If you love something, do whatever you can to own it.  Be willing to build a relationship with the gallery or the artist to make that happen – discuss your budget and work out a plan to make it yours.  If you can, don’t let the price be the reason you don’t own something you just have to have.  (J) Don’t ever buy a piece just because it's considered an investment, buy it because you must.

 

Click the arrows to move through the slideshow or click any image for full view.

Joel Mangers
Collector | Chicago, IL

 

How would you describe your collection? Personal.  95% of the work I have came from friends and family or are my own work.  All the pieces have significant meaning to me, its beyond nostalgia; but rather that each invokes specific memories (good, bad, and everything in-between) just like a photograph would.

 

Why do you collect and how did you begin? Art is beautiful and inspiring, I am a person who is motivated and moved by art.  Growing up, my home was filled with art – my mother had a real eye for finding great pieces and she hung them salon style from floor to ceiling all over our home.  Her inspiration was Grandma Moses and I think she may have liked to have been a painter herself in her own life.  But I used to lay on the couch and stare up at all the paintings on a constant basis.  It was instilled at a young age and often. 

 

What was the first piece you owned?  2 enormous posters by Erte I bought when I was 12.  I saved all my money for months so that I could buy two of them.  I hung them over my bed for years – I still have them, they’re just in frames behind other works right now.

 

What type of work do you collect? I like things to have meaning, to me – they have to speak to me beyond just a purely aesthetic reason; so its not about one type of media or one artist, I’m open to work I feel a connection to.  A lot of these pieces I got through my varied positions in the arts or I knew the artist personally, so that makes them very special. 

 

Do you have favorite piece? In which room?

 

You have wonderful little vignettes that incorporate effortlessly into your space, in particular your altar collection – how do you decide which works to group together?  Virgin Marys speak to me, and I found this center piece – the Last Rites Box – in a vintage shop and just had to have it.  I nearly died several years ago from Meningococcal Meningitis and was delivered last rites in the hospital – having fully recovered from that, I find myself drawn to items that remind me I came through and I’m still here.

 

What works or artists do you think your collection is missing?  Not so much missing, but I’d like to exhibit more photography in my home.  I have this wonderful collection of un-posed street images I found in a discount bin in a junk shop that I just love, but I don’t have any wall space for.

 

Any artist or work that you just need to have?  I would love to own a work by Miro.  His work is simple, colorful, reminiscent of Outsider work, and has been incredibly influential in my life. 

 

What advice do you have for others who want to begin/build a collection?  Don’t think about anything else than the fact that the work has to be personally significant to you.  Otherwise its just pictures on the wall. 

 

Click the arrows to move through the slideshow or click any image for larger view.

Painting by P. Kellogg
Painting by P. Kellogg

Portrait by Joel Mangers
Portrait by Joel Mangers

Altar
Altar

Painting by P. Kellogg
Painting by P. Kellogg

1/16