For some, accumulating fine art is about more than creating a financial asset. Meet two Valley collectors who view their passion as an investment in culture.
Jim Fox (West Valley)
The painting that I’m photographed with (above the fireplace) was part of a collection of a family friend who collected art since the early ‘20s. He was a famous silent film star, and it was his favorite piece. It is just amazing to think of the hands it passed through … the people and faces it has witnessed. If only it could only speak.
What Catches My Eye
I collect art for its eclecticism and the ability to see beauty, pain, happiness and sorrow through the eyes of a person who lived 100 or even 500 years ago. I find that really compelling. The use of camouflage to hide a second story also appeals to me.
On My Radar
My favorite artists, aside from Alonso Cano, are Caravaggio, Dali, Lautrec vintage posters, Lotte Jacobi and Londono. I am fascinated by the emotion of their work as seen on the canvas or a photo negative. I love to think about what were they thinking, what happened in the world, where they were when they did the piece, etc.
It is really a mélange of 14th-century to 17th-century paintings and sculptures. I collect from all over the world out of love rather than value. Art is so subjective, and of course everyone has their opinion. Some love it, some hate it—that’s the fun of collecting it.
I also collect late 19th-century and 20th-century camera works. One of my favorite photographers is Lotte Jacobi. My family had many photos taken by her; she was perhaps the Annie Leibovitz of her day.
My father was an avid collector who would acquire pieces while we traveled the world. My first piece was a Lautrec Chanteuse that was almost comical. She made me smile and wonder what Paris was like in the early pre-war years.
Darcy Wilding (Studio City)
I love the painting I’m pictured with (above the table) because of the way the subject’s skin glows—something the artist, Wade Reynolds, was known for. She’s in a very natural, effortless pose. And you don’t see her face, which lends some intrigue to the painting. Also I love the rusty, reddish-brown color; it very much reminds me of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, and it was in fact painted in 1965.
We buy art because we love having something one-of-a-kind, an original creation. If we have the chance to meet the artists and get to know them a little bit, that’s ideal; it makes for a real, personal connection with our new piece.
We have a lot work by C.L. Higgins, a Ventura artist who works with varied media and styles too. We have some of his landscapes from the Ventura area, one of a scene in Europe and a small still life as well. And a watercolor of a sailing ship that is not a seascape—it looks more like builder’s plans. Also we recently bought a landscape by Fred Holcomb, a Seattle artist.
It is really a combination of beautiful pieces that we’ve bought over the years, gifts and pieces from our families. My mother used to paint, and we have a few of her pieces that are favorites of mine. My husband’s uncle, D. Henry, is a painter as well, and we have some of his. Some of our favorite pieces were done by a close family friend.
To me the value is entirely aesthetic—whether you spend $10,000 or $100, it’s all about whether it looks wonderful in your home and works well with what’s around it. So while we’re very happy to be in a position to buy things we love, it’s really not about the financial investment.
First Big Buy
The first “real” art that my husband and I bought was the Wade Reynolds piece. We visited the gallery more than once because we couldn’t get the painting out of our heads. At the time it was very expensive for us, but we loved it and had to have it.