Dreamless Sleep, Robert Dale Williams
Collection of DK Anderson
I am an art dealer. When I walk around my home I come face to face with paintings I have purchased from my own artists over the years, some of which I now could probably not afford. Painting is my obsession. Ever since the first auction I attended in my youth where I tried unsuccessfully to buy a painting of a paratrooper jumping out of a plane. What as a dealer am I looking for in an artist? First I want to own the art. It must to be the art I would hang on my own wall and would want to buy if I came across it in a gallery. Every dealer has their preference mine is for art from the Nineteenth century and contemporary works that possess the same craft and humanity to be found in works by such artists as Bouguereau and Fredrick Leighton.
In order to succeed in the art world however an artist also needs to connect with his audience. They need to understand why they bought the painting so when their friends come over to visit they can confidently explain why their art is worth owning and they are not Philistines.
I make a point of having my artists tell their stories in my magazine World Provenance. If you are promoting your own work you must find a way to do this. Rehearse your story and have it ready at all times.
The work I like and deal in tends to have a strong presence, it does not sit back and fade into a room, it is forceful and everyone notices it. This makes it especially important for people to understand the artist. The more character your work has, the more explanation you should give the buyer. I find that artists often think they must paint soft or easy paintings to be successful, but this is not true. You just need to connect to your audience.