Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Remembering a Truly Great Art Dealer

Otto Kallir was my boss for a brief time during my student days in New York.  I had no idea who he was when I responded to the Help Wanted Ad, read alphabetically: A for Art Gallery.  That association developed into one of my life's most important relationships.

Until I met Dr. Kallir I did not know that there were people who based their lives on instinctual receptivity to creativity in others.  This has nothing to do with fashion or trends, or anything except the intrinsic worth of the work produced by individuals who may be completely out of step with the art work surrounding them.  This receptivity, in Kallir's case, extended to the so-called primitive artists, among them Grandma Moses, as well as to such unique personalities as Egon Schiele.

Though I was never involved with the art world except insofar as I was employed by him for a time, he would say to me such things as: "I don't understand your work but I find it very interesting."  Looking back at those words I realize now that he was responding to some communicated individuality that he recognized and respected.

Now that everything is a commodity it is hard to imagine anyone taking a similar stand in relation to a gifted individual in any field.