Describe your business?
I deal in 20th-century Modern British Art – mostly prints – focusing on works from the 1960s and 70s, but going forwards and backwards from there. The oldest work I have in stock at the moment is a 1909 Joseph Pennell aquatint, and the most recent a 2018 screenprint by David Webb. Core artists such as Victor Pasmore, John Hoyland, Howard Hodgkin, Prunella Clough are always available.
Having set up my own business 15 years ago, I work with a number of regular collectors and interior designers. I show at several art fairs each year, and people are very welcome to view works by appointment at my home in South West London.
How much do you enjoy art fairs?
It’s good to get out and meet people! Art fairs are a fantastic opportunity to remind people that you exist and to bring out some exciting new stock. It’s fun to put together a show, and I always try and bring along works with a good range of prices, so there is something for everyone. Art fair are great places to meet new clients and to catch up with old ones. Dealers are quite fun to chat to, too…
Is this what you wanted to be when you grew up?
To be honest, I fell into art dealing by accident, having spent 12 years at BBC Radio 3 and in other music and arts jobs. After many years of meetings and targets, it is very liberating to be able to make snap decisions on your own. I appreciate I have a pretty charmed work life – looking at nice pictures, trotting about the country – but most art dealers do work pretty hard too. You often work at weekends, and there is at least as much admin and paperwork as in any other business.
Your favourite artwork is?
I can’t choose only one. If the Ashmolean Museum was suddenly caught in flames, though, I would rush to save Uccello’s The Hunt in the Forest, and Pasmore’s The Hanging Gardens of Hammersmith no.1 in the Tate is high up on the list too, and Prunella Clough’s Starlings, and…. and….
Brahms or Liszt?
They are both a bit purple for me – I prefer my music (like my art) a bit more austere. There are some good bits of Brahms (the piano concertos, piano intermezzos, some chamber music) but mostly he is too beardedly bombastic and Liszt definitely too full of himself. And don’t go anywhere near their choral music (sorry, to those that love it). It all raises the interesting question about art/music being an expression of the creator’s personality or a more generally shared reflection of life’s experiences – if that’s not too deep. (Anyone who would like to discuss this is very welcome to come and find me at the fair.)
Gwen Hughes Fine Art
020 8874 8568