What Goes Into Selecting Art for Your Yacht?
April 7, 2012
…it turns out quite a bit more than you would have imagined
(Part 1 of a 6 part series on selecting art for your yacht)
Selecting a yacht that is just right for your needs is a complex process; you likely relied on the help of several professionals along the way to ensure everything went smoothly. Now that it’s time to outfit the vessel according to your tastes, it’s good to know that another group of professionals is available to help you with the task. Over the next several weeks I’ll be covering some select companies and individuals in Vancouver and the particular niche each one fills. Relying on the right person to provide the finishing touches will help to ensure that your yacht is everything you dreamed it would be. Today’s focus is on how to begin selecting art for your yacht. Whether your tastes are traditional or contemporary, classic or avant-garde, Vancouver’s better fine-art galleries have experts on hand to help guide you in your choice of art for your home, office, or yacht.
A few days ago I had the privilege of sitting down with Jeanette Langmann; those familiar with the local art market will recognize her name immediately. Jeanette is the daughter of Uno Langmann; she is also the president of the Art Dealers Association of Canada, and yes she is located right here in Vancouver. Her store (Uno Langmann Limited) is located at the south end of the Granville Street Bridge; if your day’s shopping trip includes a visit to the trendy South Granville row for fashion finds, you will be happy to realize how many galleries are located in the same district. Langmann’s is the first one on the South Granville strip as you leave the bridge; it is only 5 minutes from downtown. Be forewarned though, you could spend several hours in that gallery alone.
Langmann’s in-house collection of paintings, antiques, and objets d’art from the 18th, 19th, and early 20th century is extensive and demonstrates their well deserved reputation in the art world. Uno Langmann was awarded the “Life Time Achievement Award” from the Canadian Art Dealers Association in 2007 and Jeannette has clearly benefited from growing up with such a father. Her knowledge of art is exhaustive, and her penchant for research is obvious. Any time you ask a question about a particular work, she is able to give you a detailed amount of history about the piece, the artist and the circumstances surrounding its acquisition by the gallery.
Although I had known the reputation the Langmanns have for their expertise in art, I experienced it first hand when I asked Jeanette about a painting on the wall of her gallery. The painting jumped out at me because it featured a ship. Our discussion quickly turned to the significance of the work not only as a piece of maritime art, but also because it records part of Canadian maritime history. The 1847 painting by British painter Samuel Walters (1811-1882) features the ship “The Frankfield” which had been built in New Brunswick for Thomas Wilson & Co. seven years before the painting was made. The ship was used for the company’s Australian service and more importantly was used for the Canadian service as well. It was made of black birch, pine and spruce; she weighed 750 tonnes and usually carried about 350 passengers. There is a record of the ship arriving in Quebec August 9th 1847 with Captain John Robinson at the helm; on that trip she carried 528 passengers. The final record of the ship comes from Liverpool where the press recorded that Captain Robinson had died when his ship the Frankfield was wrecked off the “East Mouse, Cemaes Bay Anglesey in a terrible gale”. Jeanette pulled out a file on the painting which included copies of records of from the British Parliamentary papers detailing the Frankfield’s arrival in Quebec in 1847. If there is a story behind a work of art Jeanette is surely going to unearth it and keep a paper trail of every detail. Langmann’s office is packed with reference books and her knowledge is not limited to art. Having grown up in Vancouver, she knows an incredible amount about local history too.
As we walked through the store and into its hidden recesses, we discussed several other paintings, artists and the process of selecting art for a given purpose. What I liked about my experience at Langmann’s was that Jeanette clearly respected the fact her individual buyers have their own particular tastes. They know what they like from an aesthetic point of view and she is able to guide them from that starting point. Listening to the needs of her clients, Jeanette is able to find a perfect piece for the circumstances. If the purpose of painting is merely to look pretty on the wall, one piece might do the trick. If however the piece is meant to round out a collection being assembled for investment purposes, a different one might be a better choice. As we will see in subsequent parts of this series, one must take several things into consideration when selecting art for yachts including environmental factors such as the moisture content of the boat; considering where the painting will end up is also a crucial factor in its selection.
Whether you are an experienced art collector or venturing out for your first significant purchase, one thing is certain: having an expert to guide you through the process will be in your best interest. To begin the process, the best thing in my opinion is to start exploring the local galleries to get a sense of what you might desire if you do not have a clear idea already. Subsequent posts will delve into the offerings of a variety of Vancouver galleries; if you already know that your tastes tend toward pieces from the 18th, 19th and early 20th century, Langmann’s would be a good place to start. If maritime art is on the shopping list for your library, living room or office, you will be able to select from a wide range of historically significant pieces at Langmann’s. On the off chance that you do not find the perfect piece in their holdings, Jeanette no doubt will be able to source a piece for you through her extensive network of connections in North America and Europe. If your tastes fall outside the scope of their collection entirely, Jeanette will also gladly point you toward other local contemporary galleries which may have the ideal piece on display.
Stay tuned for the rest of the series on selecting art for your yacht and until then happy exploring in the Vancouver galleries. . If you have a story about how your art shopping excursion worked out for you I’d love to hear about!
Katrina Boguski M.A.