When Artists Collect Art, People Want to Know What and Why

...not just to be nosy, but to know more about the particular mindset, taste, and interest of the collecting artist. The why's and when's are particularly interesting in the forthcoming August Collectors Art Night guest collector/artist, John Nikolai, because John's work is seemingly eons removed from Andy Warhol's. Yet, John has collected more than one Warhol, and he has lived with them for a long while. The last one we helped him sell sold virtually overnight to an art dealer in London who specializes in Warhol.

John Nikolai in Ireland with his trademark toboggan

But before we put the information out online this time, we wanted to host a special collectors night with John--one of our favorite artists--as our guest so we could pick his brain a little about what has driven him to collect. He's also bringing along a rare hand-written letter from Greta Garbo and lots of Garbo memorabilia he has collected since he was a teenager. Reading the letter will show you just how cranky her mind could be; and looking at the photographs that are beside it reminds you how glamorous she could be.

Andy Warhol, Self-Portrait, offset lithograph on silver-coated paper, 243/300, 1966

The Warhol and the Garbo material will be available for purchase, along with a few other miscellaneous selections John is bringing. But, in addition, we have asked him to bring along other pieces that are of particular personal importance to him, though not for sale, but just there as samples of artwork he chooses personally. For instance, two pieces he is bringing just to show are related to two of his Nashville friends who are also artists--a watercolor by John Baeder and a classic photograph by Jim McGuire.

Greta Garbo hand-written letter and photographs

There is a sub-text to all of this as well. This is our gallery Bon VoyageBold to John, who will be moving to his beloved Ireland this fall. We will also be showing selected work from his exhibits at The Arts Company in recent years. Their subject? Mostly Ireland, of course. All hauntingly beautiful. Each one an original. No two ever alike.

John Nikolai, Waiting on Shore, archival photograph

We may have to whip up some Irish champagne if there is such a thing, and hope we can persuade him to continue to send us new work from across the water. He just now came back from a trip to Ireland, bringing many rolls of film. Since John prefers the old-fashioned method of shooting with film, it takes time to get everything converted, selected, and printed by him personally according to his most precise expectations. Maybe by the time he leaves the country, he will have a group of new photographs to leave with us.

Come join the conversation with John and consider what makes collecting passionate and personal in your own life. His artistic vision and energy will engage you, for sure.

John Nikolai, Self-Potrait

So, Bon Voyage, Farewell, So Long, and au Revoir to John...and come back soon bringing more fresh art and neat insights.

Visit with John during
Collectors Art Night at The Arts Company
Friday, August 5, 2011
5:30 Reception & refreshments
6:00 Conversation with John Nikolai

Remember: Space Limited. Reservations required.
and Complimentary valet parking
R.S.V.P. to 5thAvenueOfTheArts@gmail.com
and be our VIP guest for the evening