Purchasing art can be one of the more exhilarating yet intimidating things we do. Many of us find ourselves putting one foot in the proverbial gallery door, only to turn away overwhelmed by a feeling of insecurity and ineptness. It’s a funny notion, because when you acquire a painting, drawing or sculpture that you adore, it usually becomes one of your most priceless and satisfying purchases. Yet, the process can be a rocky road for many. Art is expensive and its value somewhat elusive. Your taste in art changes and evolves — the once lovely still life may pale in comparison to a contemporary painting. Yet, once you find an artist and work you covet, it’s pretty close to nirvana.
Kit Reuther is one of Nashville’s most revered artists, so it makes sense to query her on the topic of collecting art. Her collectors are crazy for her work, so we included them too.
Questions were poised like, “Why collect art in the first place?” and then, “Why collect Kit Reuther’s work?”
For those who collect art, they will tell you it resonates with something deep in their hearts. Finding the perfect work of art, whether it be a painting, drawing or sculpture, is a deeply personal experience. Words like seduction, obsession and sensual come forth when collectors discuss their motivations to acquire art. And why collect Kit Reuther’s work? Each collector has their own compelling reasons. Let’s find out what what those reasons are …
Meet some of Kit Reuther’s collectors.
“As an artist myself, I have a particular appreciation for Kit’s work as I respect her both as an artist and a friend. I admire the way she always pushes herself to explore new boundaries with her work. I have watched her work evolve over the years as she explores new directions and mediums in which to work. Kit’s work and my own have followed a similar path, from painting more realistically to more abstractly and then moving into the three-dimensional process of sculpture. Her work has both a powerful calmness and an inner energy. What appears simple to the casual observer is actually very difficult to do well.
“One can connect the accomplishment of Kit’s work back to the works of great artists in the history of art. This reference or link to the past is very important in understanding present day art, particularly for understanding and appreciating “modern” or abstract work. Many artists develop a particular style of work and then spend their entire career honing that style. Other artists, like Kit and myself, are always trying to grow, discover new things, see the world in new ways or from a different point of view … Personally, I find this adds flavor to life, reflects the attitudes and desires of the soul and the growth of the maturation process itself.
“Her works are particularly easy to live with. I could literally place any of her pieces in any room in my home. Even though many of my walls are filled with my own art, I enjoy collecting art from other artists that I know personally and appreciate what they are doing. Kit is obviously high on my list to collect!”
“About 15 years ago my mother surprised me with a Kit Reuther painting for my birthday. Over the years, it has moved with me from home to home and wall to wall within those homes. I find that it brings a sense of tranquility to whatever space it occupies while at the same time commanding focus. When I recently wiped the decor slate clean and started over in my current home, one of my first purchases was another Reuther. Through her cool palette and spare but multilevel forms, her work creates an uncluttered sophistication with both depth and serenity.
“Reuther’s work is reminiscent of Mark Rothko’s, a perennial in the category of my favorite artists. Just as Rothko used space and panes of color to fuse tension and harmony, Reuther does this with her geometric shapes and bold, broad brush strokes.
“Art is the first thing I look to in creating a space or making a house a home. And just like my first Reuther, it can move with you time and time again, unlike a piece of furniture that eventually you will want to replace. Good art is an investment into perpetuity and most importantly an investment in yourself.”
“When we bought this Kit Reuther painting we had no money. When we say, ‘no money,’ we mean it. It was an unusually big purchase for us at that time in our lives. We both love Kit’s sense of color and the way she uses it. Her work is incredibly sophisticated yet simple. The painting we have is restful and calming and completes the ideas of the interior space. We don’t try to match art with interiors, only place the art where we enjoy seeing it. Investing in art for us is personal and identifies a person’s taste and personality. For those of you that think the painting is of Roger and me, it’s not! Thanks Kit for your talent as an artist.”
From the artist: Kit Reuther
“Collecting art can be something deeply personal. It goes beyond the utilitarian needs of furnishings or simply filling a space on a wall. Art brings energy into a sterile space, and we all need things around us that connect us to our own personal point of view- beyond our laptops and phones. I tend to move work around (to a fault!) in order to stir up the rooms I live in. I have some works on paper that I like to group together: one is a work by Perle Fine, an American abstract expressionist, grouped together with an unsigned interior pencil sketch that I bought at a Roger Higgins storage sale, and a sculpture sketch of mine on scrap paper. High and low pieces- it all works together.
“I chose to be represented by David Lusk because of David … his energy and support is seductive! At times I can be irrationally insecure, and he can walk into my studio and make one, small observation- and everything comes back into focus. He not only gets what I do, but he get how I work-how I sometimes need to travel down the experimental rabbit holes and do things that may never end up in the gallery. It’s a pleasure to have my work in the company of Lusk artists; I am a big fan of Greeley Myatt and Tad Lauritzen Wright. I currently have my eye on a couple of photographs by Huger Foote, and a Hans Schmitt-Matzen neon sculpture.
“My advice for first collectors is to go to galleries and enjoy the art. Don’t just go when you need something. Walk in the door with no expectation to buy, only to expose yourself to a variety of different types of art. Ask questions. Learn about the work and the artists. If something intrigues you, ask the dealer to show you more work by that artist. Art education is a life-long pursuit, and the more you know, the more confident you will be in your own point of view.”
Now that we are well-armed with sage advice around collecting art, let’s go hit some galleries.
This article is sponsored by David Lusk Gallery. Photography by Leila Grossman of Grannis Photography.