From the Collectors

Welcome to the 2011 website edition of The Shore Collection. We first began sharing our collection with a disc in 1995. We did so because of the interest expressed by museum staff in showing our art. They had heard through the art grapevine, which is real, that we had things of interest and disc was a way to communicate. Since that first disc in 1995, we have added many new pieces by Americans, French and Hungarians, Portuguese, Russians, Swiss and Spanish, and a concentration of photographs, paintings and sculptures by Joe Fig.
We started buying art in the early 1960’s. We really didn’t know what we were doing. Our parents collected art and we really were only starting to get involved. We stopped for several years. Somehow, in the middle 1970’s, after museum visits in Washington and New York, we started to get interested again. Because of limited means we had to be realistic about our ability to buy. More importantly, we didn’t know much about art. Probably we never will. We became self-educated by reading and visiting galleries and somehow befriending dealers, artists and academics. A small group of private dealers and art experts truly became our friends, advisers, and educators. But for these people and our presence in New York for visits, we would not have been able to accumulate the majority of the art that makes up The Shore Collection.
As we started collecting, we felt we could only afford contemporary works so that has been our major direction. Our philosophy was and is that if we were going to buy the newest artists, we should try to acquire the best examples we could. However, as one reviews the collection, you will see that we have wandered and have been opportunistic. A viewer will find many things that do not fit with our original direction of New American Art. Thus, you will see New and Modern Spanish Art, New French Art, Southeast Asian Antiquities, as well as European surrealist drawings and glass works and sculptures and paintings by Americans, Hungarians, Italians, Spaniards and French.
We have managed to put these various disparate items into several separate collection categories and, without apologies; there may be more if we are permitted by age and means to continue. Many collectors are able to concentrate or focus their collection in narrow fields of art – say surrealist artists or New York School of Art from 1947-52. Lucky them! But not us. We are opportunistic collectors with some semblance of organization, but not too much! It is a lot of fun our way. though it can be a problem for art critics. They love to swipe as soon as the word Collection is placed after the word Art.
Criticism will be easy here. But with such a variety of stuff, even critics might like something. We really don’t expect anyone to like any of our works and certainly not all of if. Art is too subjective. We don’t even like it all. For example, the whole collection American Painting: The Eighties, known as Art of the 80’s, was purchased in order to obtain six or eight paintings of the group of 40 or more in the original show and to keep that show intact. Certainly, several of these aren’t very interesting or attractive, yet all are included in our collection for curatorial history, and to keep the collection together. By the way, for a show that was maligned in New York, it certainly was well received in Europe and the Middle East and it contains an extraordinary number of now-important artists for what was, in 1980, a showing of young, mostly unknown artists.
We thank Barbara Rose for doing that controversial show and picking some great art. We met her after we purchased the works and thank her for her great eye in helping us with our Spanish contemporary collection. Our friend, Leslie Rankow, introduced us to Barbara Rose. Leslie Rankow was responsible for selling us the Art of the 80’s collection, the major parts of the Spanish Collection, and many other contemporary works. Cynthia Goodman was our guide from the middle seventies. Cindy was responsible for a major part of our exposure and education and continues as a valued friend and adviser. Roberto White of blessed memory, who died too young, but who had a profound effect on our collection.
No one has ever seen our collection in one place. Perhaps that will happen. The fact that relatively small collectors in the middle of the country were able to obtain some of these pieces defies logic. As quirky as some may seem, as controversial as some may have been, the art collectors and gallery owners in New York during the 1980’s rarely allowed important pieces to go to anyone but their best clients for top dollar. We didn’t participate in that feeding frenzy. Perhaps that relates to our conservative backgrounds. Midwesterners aren’t known for spending – but neither are they known to be collectors.
We could have prepared a long, super-serious statement of what and why we collected, but we did it for the fun and enjoyment.