What do art lovers like? Where do they buy their art and, most importantly, what do they buy? Every Monday an enthusiast tells about his love for art in this section. This week Arne Van Wonterghem (Associate Director Gladstone Gallery, age 26)
What does art mean to you?
For me, art is an inexhaustible source of knowledge enrichment, fascination and a feast for the eyes. Art challenges one and draws attention to humanitarian issues in our society. Above all, art is beauty; I consider myself an aesthete, so this is an important aspect.
Were you exposed to art while growing up?
Let's say I’ve made the path myself, but the building blocks for the road were put at my disposal. My grandfather was a lover of young Belgian artists, and he had the walls for it too: the hotel he owned and operated was full of art.
Where do you read about the latest developments in the art world?
Mainly online and trade journals, but also the general press, but rather from international/English language publications, such as The New York Times and Financial Times.
Where do you prefer to look at art?
A museum will always be the best place for me to view, discover or understand art. After that: a fair, even if saturation can quickly arise there. Then you have to visit the galleries that represent the artists, those that give an overall picture of the artist and the work.
How often do you buy art each year?
I don't have a fixed acquisition rhythm, but a few times a year, although this is completely dependent on 'le coup de coeur'.
Where do you do your buying: in a gallery, at an art fair, at an auction or online?
I prefer galleries to buy art, because I really appreciate the interaction with the gallery owner. I've also bought art at an art fair before, but I prefer a gallery because it makes me feel like I'm making a more thoughtful decision.
Is it important that you and your partner always agree on a purchase?
My 'art buying partner' is my mother as we have been buying art 'together' for the past few years, particularly for her home. Now that I have my own place in Brussels, I increasingly buy art 'on my own'.
Do you have a special relationship with any one gallery?
In Brussels, for me, these are Meessen Declercq, where I 'purchased' or rather was gifted my very first contemporary work of art for my fifteenth birthday. I would also like to mention, Rodolphe Janssen, where I did an internship in 2017; he has pretty much been my mentor in my art world since. And finally Gladstone, the gallery where I am currently employed.
If you had an unlimited budget, whose work would you buy?
Mark Rothko, no doubt. There is nothing like his soothing, yet exciting paintings. My dream is to visit his chapel in the Menil Collection in Houston, Texas, which has also just been restored.
Who are your favourite artists?
Jus Juchtmans is a contemporary colorfield painter with a very interesting technique, using resin.
I recently discovered Max Pinckers' work at Sofie Van De Velde. I have little knowledge of contemporary art photography, but with this photographer I had many points of departure, both thematically and in terms of image formation.
I once bid on a work by Jerry Zeniuk that was donated to the Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens for a benefit auction, but I was outbid.