The art market is full of personalities, but dealers and gallerists often seem little more than names when the market gets covered in print. In a new series, Apollo asks art dealers to introduce themselves and their businesses.
Tell us a bit about the history of your business…
I founded the gallery in 1988 and Gordon Samuel and I got together 10 years ago as Osborne Samuel. We have known each other for 30 years and have the same interests in art.
What are your specialist fields?
Modern British art, especially post-war sculpture. Also linocuts of the Grosvenor School and more recently a new photography department.
What’s the most exciting work you’re currently offering?
An exquisite First World War William Roberts picture, very relevant in this centenary year. We have a WW1 show coming up.
What’s been your greatest triumph as a dealer?
I sold a magnificent Monet for a world record price.
And your greatest professional regret?
The conditions of sale meant that I could not tell anyone!
How has the market in your field changed since you started dealing?
It is a lot more varied. Thanks to the web we get more clients, more information, more offers and much more competition. When I started it was all USA, Japan and UK. Now our buyers come from all over the world.
Do you collect yourself? And in the same field as you deal?
I do collect but do not like to have at home works of art that I deal in. So mostly young artists, photography, installations.
Which work have you been sorriest to part with?
A quite exceptional carving by Henry Moore from 1933, worth several times more than we sold it for.
If you weren’t an art dealer, what would you be?
Osborne Samuel Gallery is based on Bruton Street, London.
The London Art Fair is at the Business Design Centre, Islington, from 15–19 January 2014.