ARTS & CULTURE
Interview: Third Generation Art Dealer, Omer Tiroche
Born in Israel, Omer grew up in London and attended Highgate School. At the age of eighteen he joined the IDF forces and subsequently returned to Londonto attend Goldsmith University and study History of Art. In January 2015 Omer opened his gallery on Mayfair’s Conduit Street and has held historical exhibitions ever since, including a group shows of German and Austrian artists such as Kiefer, Richter, Franz West, Hermann Nitsch, Alexander Calder, Victor Vasarely, Niki de Saint Phalle and Pablo Picasso.
Art has been part of the Tiroche family for many years. Have you always wanted to become an art dealer?
I must say it was more of an accident than destiny. Growing up in an environment constantly surrounded by art, I naturally took an interest in it. After studying Art History at school, I continued with the subject at university and it was during my first year there that I started working part-time in my father’s office, just a few days a week to help out. Very soon I was managing the office and, within a few months, I became more involved in the business than with my studies.
What is your business model?
Before I opened my Mayfair space, the business plan had its end goal set on exhibiting at the world’s top art fairs such as Art Basel, Frieze, FIAC and more. However, this takes time and patience as application processes are tough and the competition among galleries is even tougher. It is not a secret that art fairs are growing massively in popularity among collectors because it allows them to visit hundreds of galleries all under one roof - just like a Harrods for art galleries. I believe this demand will continue to grow and I have taken extremely positive steps towards achieving this goal in the near future. Despite the figures that Christie’s have released from their online sales and Sotheby’s recent venture with eBay, I am still not convinced that big sales are fully achievable online. There is no substitute for seeing a work of art in the flesh, no matter how high the resolution of an image may be. Art is something to be experienced and ultimately lived with.
You own a very impressive collection.
How do you choose which pieces to purchase?
First and foremost, research is imperative. Find artists you like and before committing any money to them, find out about their current market, how the work on offer relates back to the rest of the artist’s oeuvre; what is most sought after within that artist’s work and what is less-so; and seek advice from dealers and art advisors. Many collectors will often choose to start collecting prints, but the desire for unique pieces often comes soon after. This is a clever way of entering the world of collecting and I can personally advise further if required.
Some say that art is subjective. How can it be explained that one piece is worth £200 and another £20m?
Certainly, I can appreciate art beyond what it is worth. Sadly, often what differentiates a £200 work from a £20m is pure luck. Luck that the artist was discovered and picked up by serious galleries who supported his/her career and grew the collector base internationally. The other, less successful artist may not have had the same opportunities in life but may have been technically or conceptually superior to the first artist. Of course there are many other factors that come into pricing an artwork and why some pieces are worth more than others, but that can’t be answered in just a few sentences.
Which artist in your collection can provide the best ROI?
Many post-war and contemporary artists’ markets can be volatile, prone to sudden changes, or dependent on other international markets. Even the biggest names, such as Warhol have had ups and downs. To answer the question, for me there is always one sure bet: Picasso. He is a timeless genius, buying a work on paper or painting by Picasso is the safest investment. My strategy as an art dealer is to visit the world’s best exhibitions, research the market, showcase my collections and help people celebrate the beauty of art. When my grandfather started as an art dealer, the digital world didn’t exist, so although today people buy art on the Internet, it’s unlikely they would part with £1m online as they would predominantly prefer to see the physical piece.
Are we going to see another artist of similar magnitude to Picasso or Van Gogh emerges in our lifetime?
No one knows and I would not want to speculate. What I would say, however, is that more and more collectors are entering the art market every day and this will certainly result in increased competition over certain artists that could well drive their prices up beyond those of Picasso and Van Gogh someday. This September I am opening a Pablo Picasso works on paper exhibition at the Mayfair space. This will be an extremely exciting exhibition that will bring together extremely rare and fresh works from as early as 1905. Solomon Mines readers are more than welcome to visit our Mayfair showroom by appointment.
To learn more about Omer Tiroche art, visit: otca.co.uk