Felipe Grimberg is an art enthusiast, a successful art dealer, and a collector. Felipe’s love of art started while studying textile marketing and design in college at Philadelphia; while there, he spent most of his weekends visiting art museums and galleries in New York. Felipe’s appreciation for art became his passion. After college, his passion led him to eventually create his own company.
Interview with Renowned local Contemporary Art Dealer, Felipe Grimberg of Felipe Grimberg Fine Art
By Julia Gerstman-Nir
Q: Describe what you want people get from Felipe Grimberg Fine Art, beyond the tangible of owning a piece of art. What do you hope they remember about the company/ take away with them?
A: I want them to experience executive level treatment. I want people to feel confident about buy from Felipe Grimberg Fine Art. I want clients to be comfortable with me where they can request a specific work and I will find it for them, to have their idea realized. I want for the whole process from finding the work, to placing it in their home, to be an enjoyable one. So the next time they are looking for a new work, they will think of me. Having people be happy about everything so they will also recommend me to others in the future. My goal is to create an enjoyable and memorable experience.
Q: Where did your love/passion of art come from?
A: From a very young age to early teens. I felt that art was an expression of beauty; besides expression, it was a pleasant experience visiting a home and seeing art within it. It created a feeling of joy in me- a joy that has been experienced for millenniums as part of the human expression. The old frescos of cultures past who’s concept for creating them was to surround themselves by color and beauty to enrich the soul.
Q: You are supporter of many art forms, including dance. Do you think the different art forms compliment one another or are they better enjoyed separately, in their own settings/ environments?
A: Enjoying one form of art doesn’t necessarily mean you will like another. For example, if one likes Opera, you might not like the ballet. There are varieties that exist word wide that hold their own power of enrichment for the spectator and event. You don’t have to like them all- it’s a very personal experience and most people do not like everything. Many enjoy going to a play but not to the opera. In my case, I happen to find that they can complement one another.
Q: When and why did you decide to move to Miami and establish your business?
A: I moved in the late 90s. The political and social climate in Colombia at that time was not good or secure. A large amount of my clients moved to Miami, including friends and family. Miami was like a second home to me so it was an easy decision to make.
Q: Why did you become an art dealer?
A: I turned my passion into my business. Life directed me to take this path. I was not looking to become an art dealer. I enjoyed visiting exhibits, museums and galleries. I thought I was going to become a collector, but 26 years ago I meet people that asked me to find for them specific art works. I found them and sold the works and that was the beginning. From there I started dealing privately and the same patterned continued with a growing client list, so I continued.
Q: What is your favorite work, artist, and time period/movement?
A: To be honest, it is very hard to say which is my favorite. The variety of art itself is so diverse that it will be very difficult to give a name or work. 15th century art is beautiful of Italian or Flemish artists, but it is just as breath taking as an Impressionist work to me. I could see a modern master as appealing as a contemporary artist. With this in mind, when I travel I enjoy going to various museums worldwide. I appreciate the various cultures and contents of what they hold and show as the country’s artists. Noticing what takes place In the market today, post war and contemporary art, people who lived in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 80s were buying contemporary art which was the art of that moment and today the prices for these are extremely high for some. As the trend continues, the contemporary art of today will be very expensive, 20, 30, 40s years from now.
My taste for art has shifted since I first started appreciated it because of my exposure. At first, I was only shown Colombian artists, then eventually Latin American artists. My first trip to New York City in 1982, I saw a spectrum of amazing art and my taste expanded dramatically. I was very impressed by work of Holbain a Flemish artists and by Flemish art in general. I saw a spectrum of Impressionist art at the MET which I fell in love with, and another at MOCA. And even another spectrum at the Frick Collection and more at the Guggenheim. Then my first trip to Europe in the late 80s to visit world renowned institutions such as the Prado, showing Spanish masters from the 17th- 20th century. I had a desire for more information. I visited the Louvre in Paris and the Canado Collection etc. Each visit inspiring me for more information and new art. Each new piece of information was another layer for my connoisseurship. It would be selfish to say my favorite is so and so, but at the same time I have been able to shape my knowledge to know what I don’t like. Although, even if I may not like the exhibit, I will go through it to try and understand why do I not like it, to try and discover and understand why it does not give me the same pleasure as looking at something I really enjoy.
Q: Looking back on your more than 25 years in the art business, any tips or advice for people just starting to collect art or thinking about it?
A: I would first say, try to define what the feeling will be for the collection you will have. Identify where you want to start, because you need to start somewhere as with everything in life. Such as medium, do you want to collect for example, photographs or videos, or art from where one lives, or from a specific period/ generation of an artist. It is very important to know the money amount you have in mind to invest on a yearly basis. If their knowledge isn’t sufficient, it is hard for the dealer to help you create an ideal collection; but there are plenty of resources out there to read and visit art venues to help. Teaming up with an art advisor is also important.
Q: Tell me something about yourself that might not be widely known.
A: Shoulda woulda coulda is difficult to say today looking back. But through my hands, a lot of great works have passed. With the decisions I made in my life to be an art dealer, my situation if I had chosen to be a collector would have been totally different. I would have a very beautiful collection now with a high monetary value. But on the other hand, by selling art I have been able to have a beautiful lifestyle I love and that I’d like to continue. Sometimes in my field it is a big reward that pays off over time. In my case as a dealer, art work pieces have come and gone. Some I wish I had been able to keep. The reward is immediate with the dealing, but small with the financial reward; where if I was able to hold on to some works for a time, they would be worth double or triple what I originally sold them for. But with collecting, there is buying and then holding on to the work for several years, the reward comes later but at a much greater value.
Q: What is one of your favorite memories from working in the art dealing business?
A: I have many! Being able to go to wonderful places, learning a lot from every trip, experiences and connections made, having the opportunity to meet such beautiful people and experience the beauty of the world. I have bought work for record prices during my years in art dealing. I have then seen pieces sold and over the years watch them increase in value and exchange hands considerably.
Q: What is your favorite aspect of your job and career?
A: Being able to help people acquire great art works and that they know that this is something that is enriching them and their lives. It is great to see people buy, place the work in their home, hang it or install the sculpture and live with this great accomplishment. It is wonderful to see works pass through generations and for them to receive the monetary profit from their investment.
Q: If money was not a consideration, and any work in the world was available, what piece would you like to own/ have (hanging) in your living room?
A: An impressionist work. I would love the work by Georges Seurat titled “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte”.