Apollo Magazine

Dealer’s Choice: Beck & Eggeling

Michael Beck of Beck & Eggeling discusses the gallery, collecting, and the state of the art market

Ute Eggeling and Michael Beck © Michael Dannenmann

The art market is full of personalities, but dealers and gallerists often operate behind the scenes. In this regular series, Apollo asks art dealers to introduce themselves and their businesses. Beck & Eggeling are preparing to exhibit at The Armory Show in New York, and TEFAF Maastricht.

Tell us a bit about the history of your business

Ute Eggeling and I founded the gallery in 1994. Although she lives in Dortmund and I am from Bavaria, we decided to open the gallery in Leipzig where my family comes from.

This was a mistake: there were no collectors for works from the classic modern period that we specialised in. Soon after we opened branches in Rottach-Egern, New York and Düsseldorf. In 1998, we finally brought all these galleries together in Düsseldorf, where we are still located. Our classic art programme is housed in an 18th-century building, and we show contemporary art exhibitions in the former printing press across the road. We started with just one employee in 1994, but now 13 people are kept busy all year round.

What are your specialist fields?

German Expressionism,
 classic modern and post-war art, ZERO and international contemporary art.

What’s the most exciting work you’re currently offering?

There are in fact two: Heinz Mack’s 1967 Silverrelief, a large silver light relief; and Anselm Kiefer’s Merkaba Nr. AKI-1063 (2004)

What’s been your greatest triumph as a dealer?

Selling Heinz Mack’s monumental installation The Sky Over Nine Columns (it weighed 25 tonnes) which we exhibited during the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale at the Cini Foundation on San Giorgio Maggiore.

And your greatest professional regret?

Not having kept more important works for our own collection.

How has the market in your field changed since you started dealing?

The market has become totally transparent and far more international. Unfortunately, I have the feeling that there are fewer and fewer enthusiastic collectors but more and more investors.

Do you collect yourself? And in the same field as you deal?

Yes, all different things, but mostly works from the artists that we are representing.

Which work have you been sorriest to part with?

Paul Gauguin’s Le Cavalier – works of such quality never return.

If you weren’t an art dealer, what would you be?

An unsuccessful writer.

Beck & Eggeling are based in Düsseldorf.

The Armory Show is at Piers 92 & 94, New York, from 5–8 March.

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