In this section we let a selection of art lovers – from occasional buyers to art professionals – talk about their perception of art and preferences: where do they want to see art? Where do they purchase art, and above all: from which artists do they buy? Below, an interview with Jos van der Velde (singer, age 63)
What does art mean to you?
I think this is recognizable: a crucial experience that affects the rest of your life. As far as contemporary art is concerned, 1986 proved to be to be the equivalent of crossing the Rubicon for me. That year Jan Hoet organized the Chambres d'Amis in Ghent, which at that time did not have a museum for modern art. The concept behind this exhibition was therefore that visual artists would find temporary shelter with Gentenaars, who made part of their home available for this purpose. In a few days we visited all kinds of private houses in the city and can I still recollect the spaces where Niek Kemps, Sol Lewitt, Mario Merz, Joseph Kosuth and Niele Toroni had installed their work. I loved the confrontation with contemporary art in a living environment - and the realization: if I had lived here, I would have participated.
Steven Aalders, Prelude (Purple), 2020, Slewe Gallery.
Were you exposed to art while growing up?
At home there was an interest in music and also in the beautiful and good in general. I had to find my own path for the choices I make myself.
Where do you read about the latest developments in the art world?
In the first place by visiting a gallery or an art fair - Art Rotterdam - and the culture sections of NRC Handelsblad and de Volkskrant, and also via the internet.
Jan Roeland, Compositie met bloem, tak en 2 rechthoeken, 2012, Slewe Gallery.
Where do you prefer to look at art?
In the first place an exhibition in a museum, but also a gallery visit is very pleasant, because you can often see several works by an artist. Art fairs are generally too busy to have a really good look, but they do offer a good overview. Furthermore, the internet is good for a first impression. Studio visits often follow if you already have work by the artist.
How often do you buy art each year?
About three times a year, often unique works.
Ditty Ketting, Zonder titel (# 480), 2020, Galerie van den Berge.
Where do you do your buying: in a gallery, at an art fair, at an auction or online?
We usually buy from a gallery, and occasionally at a fair. Incidentally, it's nice that the KunstKoop scheme has recently been continued.
Is it important that you and your partner always agree on a purchase?
Yes, because you both have to be able to live with it. If there is any hesitation, one can try to convince the other. That's always a fun game; precisely by naming, you sharpen your view and argumentation.
Simon Benson, A Previous Life And Time Remade, 2019, pencil / pa, 2019, PHOEBUS, Rotterdam.
Do you have a special relationship with any one gallery?
Since we collect drawings, PHOEBUS in Rotterdam is attractive, as it boasts a number of excellent artists such as Simon Benson, Toine Horvers and Henk de Looper. Galerie Slewe in Amsterdam is special because of the beautiful space and the well-balanced exhibitions of artists who work in an abstract minimal tradition. We like to visit the Kristof de Clercq gallery in Ghent for artists such as Vicken Parsons and German Stegmaier.
If you had an unlimited budget, who would you buy a work from?
I think it will be in line with the art we’ve already collected. Eduardo Chillida: lapidary architectural forms, refined and tough at the same time. Dan Walsh's work may appear flat and uniform at first glance, but it is certainly not. I love to look very slowly. The painter Robert Ryman once put it nicely: "I want to raise the issue of silence."
Adam Colton, Unbound, 2013, Slewe Gallery.
Who are your favourite artists?
Simon Benson is a draftsman who has been working for decades on a consistent and varied oeuvre with themes such as architecture, philosophy, literature, art history and current events.
Steven Aalders, because of his clarity in complexity.
Jan Roeland, so much with so little.
Willy de Sauter, zonder titel, 2020, Galerie Ramakers.