Penthouse View

The Collector’s Eye | Maeve Doyle, Maddox Gallery

With the warmer days upon us, we speak with Maeve Doyle, internationally renowned art critic, broadcaster and Artistic Director of Maddox Gallery, to find out the one piece of art she would keep and why its important to keep an open mind when collecting art.

Maeve Doyle, Maddox Gallery

We so enjoyed working with you on House of Walpole and would love to know more about your likes and loves as a celebrated name in the world of contemporary and modern art.

You were born and brought up in Canada, what first drew you to London?

London’s got it all. It’s got more world-famous art museums, celebrated studios, auction houses, high-end commercial galleries, avant garde art schools, great conversations, interesting collectors, fashion, black cabs and history. London offered me everything I was looking for. My first job was at The Hayward Gallery, it was like heaven to me.

At what point did you realise a life in art beckoned?

After a period of illness, I started life drawing classes as a teenager and the world for the first time started to feel like home.

Russell Young, Jackie, 2017. Strawberry Pink

If you could keep one piece of art in your collection, what would it be and why?

Jackie Kennedy (Atomic Silver & Black), 2010 By Russell Young with a thoughtful dedication on verso. Jackie Kennedy was First Lady at the age of 31 known for her style, intelligence, and her service to the arts; I love that about her. She upheld all those values through extraordinary hardships which she had to endure in the public eye. Her timeless quality has most certainly had an effect on me.

The dedication on verso by my friend by Russell Young is both encouraging and personal.

Which art collectors over the decades have inspired you?

From history Peggy Guggenheim, she dedicated her life to her collection, she made it her life’s work. She is quoted as saying “I am not an art collector. “I am a museum.” My favourite living collector is Bob Rennie, his enthusiasm, involvement, and love of artists is irresistible. The Rennie Collection acquires works related to identity, social injustice, appropriation, photography, video and painting.

House of Walpole, Banksy Flower Thrower Triptych, 2019. Photo credit: Taran Wilkhu

Banksy has captivated a generation with his work, what was it like to be involved in the sale of some of his murals?

This was a time before ‘Shredded Banksy’ in 2018 when the market went wild and I just knew I was conserving works that would be part of our history in one hundred years’ time. Working with Banksy aligns with my principals – his political activity, commentary on consumerism, environmental issues, and war. It felt like I was in the right place at the right time, which is always a good feeling. And for those looking to start their journey in modern and contemporary art collection…

Where to begin, if a client is looking to start their art collection journey what are your top tips?

See as much art as possible, make it part of your life to go to galleries, read books, watch documentaries, talk to artists and art dealers, compare, and contrast and then go back and look at the same galleries again. You’ll slowly develop your eye and be clear about what you like, what resonates deeply with you and what work is in alignment with your principles and remember good art is not always expensive and bad art is not always cheap.

Abstraction is popular again, why do you think that is?

In response to the pandemic, something went wrong in the world and life as we knew it was shut down. Artists started exploring their subconscious and dreams for answers, and for inspiration.

Abstraction facilitates the expression of confusing emotions and depicts things that aren’t descriptions of objects or a resemblance of people. Surrealism is also popular again; Julie Curtiss captured a place between surrealism and abstraction so well in her 2021 show Monads and Dyads at White Cube.

Do you think modern and contemporary art from today will have the same staying power that work from say the 18th and 19th centuries?

It will depend on how much we value caring for the art of our time; cultures define what we know about the world, how we tell our stories, remember the past, imagine the future. Creative expression helps define who we are and allows us to see the world through the eyes of others. My wish is the contemporary art from our time will be remembered as being more inclusive, representing more diversity and offer a more democratic view of the time we live in.

Maeve Doyle interviewing Yuki Aruga at the opening of Without End, by Yuki Aruga now showing at Maddox Gallery

Art creates feelings and emotions in the viewer that are totally unique. How do you work with a client to find out which artists and in particular which pieces are going to resonate?

I like to spend time listening to a client; looking at art with them, attending art fairs, going to artist studios, and generally getting to know them. Eventually you’ll know if they like contemporary art or old masters, conceptual art, or photorealism or possibly, they just want to collect “hero pieces” by that I mean Warhol, Basquiat, Haring, Lichtenstein. It’s a process and it’s very personal.

How should a collector consider the different mediums available in modern art?

With an open mind, you don’t have to collect all of it but try to suspend judgement and let the artists play with different approaches to their work, think of David Hockney experimenting with an iPad in 2013 at the age of 76!

Andy Warhol (right) Marilyn Monroe, 1967 (left) Flowers 1964

Who is your artist of 2023 and why?

Warhol’s big year was 2022 when his Shot Marilyn beat an auction record previously held by Picasso. This year the focus is on Keith Haring following his debut at The Broad Museum with the exhibition “Keith Haring: “Art is for Everybody.” Haring’s message of self-love and social justice strongly resonate with a new generation of collectors. This long overdue appreciation for Haring is already resonating at auction, with his print marketplace tripling its size in the last 5 years.

We saw exceptional auction results during NYC’s Marquee auctions, with several works selling for twice or three times their estimates’.

Needless to say, the lots offered at Phillips auction this month are expected to deliver outstanding results, making Haring the artist to watch for 2023.