As Christie’s launches a brand new concept of auction dedicated to new art for collectors of all interests we explore the different ways of collecting and becoming a collector. In this interview, Director of Norton & Sons and E. Tautz, Patrick Grant, reveals what it is to begin on the extraordinary path of putting together a collection.
How did your collection begin?
In about 1996 I tried to buy a piece from young artist Hannah Maybank’s degree show at Liverpool and she wouldn’t sell it. She then went to study at the Royal College of Art and I bought a piece from a small show she did which still hangs in my sitting room.
What do you collect?
It’s all contemporary, I buy mostly paintings by emerging artists and prints by slightly more established ones. I have the odd piece by Tracey Emin, Chris Ofili, Jeremy Deller, Chris Orr, Craigie Aitchison and Eduardo Paolozzi. I’d like more of the same and lots of others besides.
What was the first piece you bought?
A red painting of trees in acrylic and latex on canvas by Hannah Maybank. Can’t recall the name.
Who or what influences your collecting?
My relative levels of poverty. I deeply regret not bankrupting myself to buy a small Grayson Perry vase in 2001.
How does your collection influence you?
Colour, shape, material, texture, finish, construction and also narrative play a large part in my work and the art I own influences this directly.
What is your dream piece?
A Holbein. Maybe Portrait of a Member of the Wedigh Family, 1532. I love the colours – and the beautiful composition: simple and wonderful.
What qualities do you look for in a work?
Usually something straightforwardly uplifting.
If you wish you had been given one piece of advice about collecting what would it have been?
Don’t buy a car. Buy the painting and a bicycle.
Who would you invite – dead or alive – to your perfect arts dinner?
Jeremy Deller, Grayson Perry, Peter Blake. That should be enough.
Post-War & Contemporary Art