BlogSeptember 17, 2019

An Expert Vetted Collection

Sale of Property from an Important British Columbia Collection

We are honoured to celebrate the continued growth of Alan Klinkhoff Gallery with an exhibition and sale of an excellent and very personal collection of Canadian fine art consigned to us by an executive of a multinational who in retirement lives in Vancouver. The collection and her history combine to make for both a purchase opportunity of fine art of quality along with a primer of a personal experience through art purchasing and selling of a highly educated, intelligent, and successful executive who, like many other successful executives we have served, is capable of making aesthetic and business decisions logically as well as efficiently.


We have complemented her fine collection with other purchasing opportunities, important fine art we have for sale from other distinguished collectors.


Much is written of the challenges experienced by women in business and, of course, in the visual arts.  In the 1970s era and with a multinational company in a field of technology, and a female, the challenges confronted by our client were every bit what you might imagine.  In her field we think that it is safe to say that she was a pioneer and a game changer for those to follow. During her early career in Canada, she held sales and marketing positions in all the three major regions in Canada, leading to a position of Director for Canada of one important aspect of her company. Some of these positions were firsts for a woman in her company in Canada. The career path for her upward mobility included relocation to the Paris office from where on special assignment she gained a special appreciation for the complexities of doing business in the diverse cultures of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Upon returning to North America, she accepted a position as vice president of her company’s management services in the Latin Americas for four years. Her final position before electing to retire was as Vice President, Human Resources, Americas. She recalls over a dozen relocations in her career.


A native of Winnipeg, and recipient of the Governor General’s Bronze Medal upon graduating from high school, our client wrote recently that “Not a day goes by without my being consciously grateful for the splendid education I received in Manitoba’s public schools and University, which set me up so well for a lifetime of learning.” She added later as part of her motivation for selling her collection, “I would not have been able to attend university at all without the various bursaries, scholarships and fellowships I received. So I want to increase my support, in particular, for the bursary I set up at my alma mater.”


With a B.A. (Hons) French & Classics, 1965 Gold Medal in Classics, an M.A., French Literature, University of Manitoba (1966) and an academic Ph.D., French Literature, University of Manitoba (1972) as well as the recipient of numerous fully funded scholarships and fellowships for studies in Canada and France, her achievements support the contribution of the study of the humanities to solving complex problems in contemporary business, including in technology companies.


With justification, art collectors might ask why we are relating all these details. The answer lies in part that, although she had purchased fine works from Galerie Walter Klinkhoff in the late 1990s, she did so while living between two homes, one in Greenwich, Connecticut and the other in Vancouver. Communication was generally by post and telephone and deliveries made by traditional fine art transport companies, usually to Greenwich. That is to say that we never had the privilege of knowing her well. So we asked if she might share with us some insight both professional and about her art  collecting. She rewarded us with a few paragraphs about her decision making process in her fine art purchasing as well as why and how she came to the decision to sell her collection and deputize Jonathan, Craig, Helen and me to do so.


Although she expresses a number of traits we have seen that are common among top executives, none have ever articulated in writing their art collecting, art selling intentions, motivations and processes. As you should expect with a person of accomplishment she does so with clarity. One criteria she followed that she does not specifically enumerate but does intuitively is that when setting out to purchase her more important works of art, she selects from mainstream reputable galleries.  Being from Winnipeg, Faye Settler’s Upstairs Gallery was an obvious and reliable place to shop. With a home in Vancouver, Torben Kristiansen’s Art Emporium made equally good sense. Business in the GTA led her to Kinsman Robinson Galleries and Libby’s, again both excellent galleries and ones with integrity. With regard to Walter Klinkhoff Gallery, she wrote us in one exchange that her recollections of our family’s original gallery date back to the early days with her firm when she was earning about $14,000 a year, living in Montreal, and “...was inspired by what was displayed in your windows as I walked from Place Ville Marie along Sherbrooke Street to my apartment at Haddon Hall. I can still see one small painting in particular... I believe it was a Robinson.” And fast forward to 2019, “I thought how appropriate it is that my collection is now back where a good number of pieces were originally purchased. We have come full circle.”


“Stay in the mainstream”, we have counselled novice and veteran art collectors alike for decades. In the mainstream, better galleries, one will find quality works of art, works that are authentic and offered at fair and competitive prices. Quality galleries offer a vetted selection of works of art, each one with the recommendation that if one likes it that one should buy it.


Her expectations making her important purchases from reputable galleries is that they will be a financial asset that will be able to be monetized at a future date to fund her philanthropic and familial objectives. 


The passage of time and events since the late 1990s when she purchased from Galerie Walter Klinkhoff have clouded from memory the discussions at the time. However, it need be said that for an international executive of her standing, not incidental to her decision to sell with Alan Klinkhoff Gallery as her intermediary was our marketing presentation and financially efficient terms, including a cost efficiency and transparency unequalled elsewhere. We are honoured with her confidence. We look forward to transferring stewardship of these fine works of art to other valued friends and clients of the third generation of our family in the art business.


Her decision making processes serves as an outstanding primer for both owners of important fine art and people looking to purchase important fine art. It is for that reason we have chosen to share some of her thoughts and in her own words.


We encourage your purchases.


Jonathan, Craig, Helen & Alan Klinkhoff


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