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Experts' views on Eastern European art and buying art online

For our first Interview we asked a Hungarian art historian living in Turkey and two Polish art gallery owners to speak about their view on the labelling of Eastern European Art, the particular attractiveness this art has on collectors and their openness to buying art online. Their own experience with collecting art and their preferences shades a personal light on the practices of Eastern European art professionals.

Zoltan Somhegyi

Dr. Zoltán Somhegyi is a Hungarian art historian, currently living in Turkey and teaching at the Faculty of Architecture of Izmir University. His main interest is 18-19 century art and art philosophy, as well as contemporary art and art market trends. He is Consultant of Art Market Budapest - International Contemporary Art Fair. He is author of two books, fifteen catalogues and more than two hundred essays, articles, critiques and art fair reviews.

  • Is there such thing as Eastern European art?

    Z.S. There are definitely some features that can characterise a certain group of artworks from Eastern Europe, however it is difficult to exactly define them. Surely, the interest of the artists in the particular history of the region is one of them, as well as the special humour that sometimes comes close to absurdity.

  • Who should collect Eastern European artists?

    Z.S. The work of an Easter European artist is a good choice to anybody: for Easter European collectors to support the activity of the artists of their home - home, in wider sense, not only within the borders, but beyond. And naturally it is a good choice to collectors form other parts of the world, to complete their collection with the special viewpoint and artistic vision of these artists.

  • What is your advice for someone who buys art online?

    Z.S. I think the most important advice is the same as in the case of traditional purchase: you must like the work. And an important advantage of online collecting is that you have the occasion of viewing hundreds of works comfortably from you armchair, that allows the comparison and deep study.

  • Which is the first artwork you bought?

    Z.S. I am not a big collector, and I also started with smaller and more affordable pieces. Since I am both interested in classical and contemporary art, I would divide the question: the first older work I bought was a woodcut from the first edition of Cesare Ripa\'s Iconologia, and the first contemporary work was a small sketch of the Hungarian master Imre Bak.

  • Name your personal top 5 artworks.

    Z.S. - Ádám Magyar\'s special photo series titled: Urban Flow - Gohar Dashti\'s photo series titled: Me, She and the Others - Hubert Robert: Imaginary view of the Grand Galerie in the Louvre in Ruins (1796) - Francesco Guardi: Gondola in the Lagoon (1765) - Ara Güler\'s photos on Istanbul

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Founder of Le Guern Gallery which has been located in Warsaw since 2004. The gallery has shown exhibitions of many renowned Polish and foreign artists like Zofia Kulik, Jarosław Kozlowski or Pravdoliub Ivanov.
In April 2012 Katarzyna Borucka opened Lookout Gallery in Warsaw, which has become one of the highlights on the Warsaw art scene.

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