ARTNET News: Reed V. Horth on Why He Became an Art Dealer


Reed V. Horth on Why He Became an Art Dealer

artnet News, Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Reed V. HorthReed V. Horth, owner and founder of Robin Rile Fine Art.

Reed V. Horth, owner and founder of Robin Rile Fine Art, has found many avenues to channel his passion for modern, postwar, and contemporary art. As an art dealer, he is responsible for placing countless priceless works by modern masters, such as Salvador Dalí and Richard MacDonald, into museums and private collections around the world. His accomplishments extend into other areas of the art world as well. In addition to his work as an art dealer, he has written for such publications as ArtSlant, AskArt, South Florida Business Journal, Venice Fort Lauderdale’s Magazine, Fisher Island Magazine, and has curated prestigious shows, such as “Dalí Miami” in 2012. Here, he discusses his reasons for choosing to become an art dealer and the evolution of Robin Rile Fine Art.

Tell us about your background in art and what led you here.
My passion for art sales came from being unable to make successful art myself. Always knowing I wanted to be part of the art world, but knowing I lacked the pedigree many enjoy, I realized I needed to find another avenue to keep me entrenched in art. Art history, writing, and subsequently art sales, allowed me to indulge my passions for art, develop a career, and make a pedigree of my own.

What is the first artwork that captured your attention?
My mother moved us very near the Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, FL, just before I entered high school. Feeling like a bit of an outsider in my new environment, Dalí’s fantasy aspects allowed me to escape into other worlds. This created an indelible impression on me.

What type of art does your gallery focus on?
For many years, we focused on bronze sculptures from Americans Frederick Hart and Richard MacDonald. As we matured in our craft [our focus became] original paintings, drawings, and sculpture by Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, and Andy Warhol. Now, after nearly 20 years in the business, we specialize in postwar, 20th-century, and contemporary masters.

Miami International Art Fair (MIA) (2015).Miami International Art Fair (MIA) (2015). Featuring original paintings and sculpture by Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso, and Franz Kline. In collaboration with Castle Fitzjohns Gallery. Curated by Reed V. Horth.

Tell us about your first show. Was there a particular moment, good or bad, that was memorable for you?
I remember standing with my producer, Michael Rosen, in a crowd of 3,000 people during the opening night of “Dalí Miami” in 2012 thinking, “We did this.” We had 25,000 people through the door in five days. It was astounding and humbling, but I will never forget that opening night.

"Dalí Miami" (2012). Curated by Reed V. Horth. “Dalí Miami” (2012). More than 240 original drawings, paintings, sculpture, and graphics by Salvador Dalí in Miami’s Moore Building, March 2012. 25,000 visitors in 5 days. Curated by Reed V. Horth.

"Dalí Miami" (2012).“Dalí Miami” (2012).

How did you settle on your specialty, and what makes your gallery unique?
Our specialty is in challenging the norm of how a traditional gallery model works. In the early days, we combated low foot-traffic with email and cold calling. Then, social media and online content took root, and we were at the forefront of that movement. Now, a liberal mix of exhibitions, writing and scholarship, philanthropy, and online presence keeps us front-of-mind with our international clients.

What has been your proudest moment?
Starting my own firm. After 12 years of toiling for others, when I became my own boss, it was a scary and proud moment. It was 2008, at the height of the global recession. We had to make it work. No excuses. When we sold our first major work, my wife and I could breathe. She said, “I think this might work.” I agreed, and we have not looked back.

How do you select the artists you represent? When does your personal taste play a role in your selection?
Much of what I do is consumer-driven. My clients will often ask me for particular works, and I go out and locate them. My personal tastes often only come in when selecting what my wife and I cannot part with.

Where are most of your buyers from? Which countries?
We have been fortunate to work with clients all over the world. Traditionally, much of our business was London or European-based, as we played advantageous currency exchange rates. Now that things have equalized in some respect, we are finding many US-based buyers in major cities: New York, Chicago, Miami, and Los Angeles. We also have more clients who have been coming to us from Asian markets: Singapore, China, and Hong Kong.

What is your next important show? Tell us why we should come.
We are presently working on shows for Dalí and Warhol simultaneously. They are too early for us to mention at this point, but I will say this: If you saw “Dalí Miami,” this will blow it out of the water.

Since you started, what have been the biggest changes in the gallery market?
When I started in art sales in 1996, we faxed our photos of art to clients. It never worked. So, I purchased my own computer and began emailing on a dial-up connection, because the gallery owner would not spring for the Internet. Once we saw levels of success, we began to get more active in the [online market].

What advice can you give to a first-time collector?
There is a reason there are advisors for investments, architecture, interior design, insurance, real estate, etc. It is because there is more to these professions than you can learn through a Google search. So, find an advisor you can trust.

“Leap of Faith" exhibition“Leap of Faith” exhibition, benefitting the University of Miami’s Lowe Art Museum, at Coral Gables Country Club (2010). Curated by Reed V. Horth.

If you were not an art dealer, what would you be doing?
Honestly, I don’t know what I would be doing if not for dealing in art. At one point, I was offered a conservator apprenticeship at a major university. I suppose I would have taken that position and been a conservator or professor by now.

Interview with art dealer Reed V. Horth of ROBIN RILE FINE ART- by Sequoia Versillee

Interview with art dealer Reed V. Horth of ROBIN RILE FINE ART- by Sequoia Versillee
From time to time I’ll use this blog to feature interviews with professionals that serve key roles in the fine art community. For the first post in this series I’ve interviewed international art dealer Reed V. Horth of Florida. Reed specializes in 20th century art and contemporary emerging artists. He was kind enough to answer two sets of questions for me; part one aimed at artists and part two aimed at art collectors. Below is the artists oriented portion of the interview. Enjoy!

There are several terms used to refer to individuals who sell art: dealers, brokers, & consultants. Can you explain if there is any difference between these terms? And if so, please describe what role these individuals play in the art buying / selling relationship?

These terms can often be substituted for each other as their meanings often overlap. Ultimately, our role as Art Professionals is to consult and give safe council to both buyer and seller (whether to an individual artist or to a casual buyer, serious or professional collector, investor, museum or institution… the role remains essentially the same). Generally dealers have artists or genres which they deal in a physical or virtual capacity. Brokers generally are interlocutors between a specific buyer and specific seller. Consultants are some combination of the two who literally consult, artists, buyers, sellers and publishers. I have personally served in each role, and been called upon to write contracts, advocate for both buyers and sellers, and deal with attorneys and intermediaries on behalf of all.

What is the average commission an artist can expect to pay to a reputable dealer or broker who sells a piece of their work?

This is entirely case by case and will involve myriad factors, not the least of which is the work which will go into building or enhancing a market. Things which must be considered are the existing size of the artist’s sphere of influence, the resume of the artist and the style of work he or she produces. An artist who has a geographical following may not translate to other markets with the speed and vigor they might hope for. These markets may require a broader marketing plan and this equals higher fees for the broker or dealer. Often, as an artist expands, I have seen “Keystone” pricing structures (Example: The artist receives $1000 for a work, the marketer/Dealer “Keystones” the price to $2000. This incorporates their fees and the expenses inherent in marketing.)

Sometimes the role of the broker or dealer and the keystone pricing model are an area of confusion and debate. If you have a representative who places your work not just with private buyers, but also solicits galleries, and other art professionals, the artist’s fee is only one part of the overall “Wall Price”. (Example: The artist receives $1000 for a work, the marketer/broker “Keystones” the price to $2000. The gallery has a “Wall price” of $4000.)

With the above mentioned pricing structure in mind, would you suggest artists price their work with the keystone pricing already built in, or just price with their own fee in mind and allow the sales people who market the work to add their fees and increase the price of the work accordingly?

No, I do not recommend that artists try to build their own pricing model, as it inhibits and puts restraints on galleries, brokers and intermediaries who may not price in this fashion. Artists should find a fair price they are comfortable with and charge that amount. This keeps it simple for all.

How common would you say it is for a gallery to buy an artist’s work wholesale (like in most other retail industries) as opposed to taking on the work through a consignment arrangement?

I am not necessarily an outright advocate for open consignments. Artists must always be on the lookout for predatory dealers whose ethics may be “Questionable”.(Thank you!)I have advocated a “Buy one- Consign one” model. This is obviously case by case, but you should speak with other artists who the gallery represents in order to get an unblemished, third-party “off-the-record” appraisal of the way they deal with their artists.

Would it be considered gauche for an artist to request a wholesale purchase of their work instead of a consignment contract if such an arrangement is not a gallery’s normal practice?

Artists have assets… namely, their art. While all galleries have their own policies, and we must be respectful of their practices, you must protect yourself and not rely solely on the dealer to provide you sage council. Go with your gut. If it seems too good to be true… it probably is.

Good advice. If a gallery offers a 10% discount which scenario do you think is fair and please explain why: gallery absorbs full cost of discount, artist and gallery split cost of discount, artist absorbs full cost of discount.

Artists should price their artwork reasonably to their dealers. If they are overpriced to begin with, the gallery may need to ask you to eat a portion of the discount in order to get a deal done. This is fair for them to ask and fair for you to accept. This being said, if your prices are reasonable, the gallery should not need to go to you and ask you for a 10% discount as it is a small portion of the whole which can be made up for in bulk sales.

Are there some quick ways that an artist can determine whether or not their work is over or under-priced for a particular market?

Yes…. Are they selling? If not, pricing may be a factor. If so, prices may need to be bumped up. Build a dialogue with your representatives. Most dealers will let you know when works are moving more rapidly, as they will need more inventory. A solid dialogue with a trustworthy partner will allow you both to evaluate whether or not the market can bear a price hike, or whether or not the pricing is excessive. But, don’t raise your prices more than once or twice per year.

When an artist wishes to establish a relationship with a gallery or other type of art dealer, what is the best way to make first contact; phone call, email or cold call visit?

Dealers and brokers have busy schedules and their time should be respected, therefore it is probably best to make initial contact in the most non-intrusive fashion possible. I suggest a letter or email with one or two photos (low resolution attachments for email), followed up by a call to ask whether or not the information was received. If the work is well received, see if you can schedule an appointment to meet directly with the decision-maker in the business.

Why is it important that an artist who has gallery representation NOT sell work directly to clients at a lower price than the gallery?

First, it is unethical. You hire the gallery to do a job for you, just as they hire you to do a job for them. They depend on you to be ethical and not circumvent their efforts. A tremendous amount of time, money and energy is expended to build a market for an artist, market them and expand their sphere of influence. If this marketing yield a client interest, the client may try to go directly to you and it is your responsibility to send them back to the gallery who has worked so hard for you.

Name three qualities a dealer tends to look for in an artist and the artist’s work that make them want to represent the artist.

Talent: Number one factor. It comes in all forms depending on what the dealer likes, has a market for and specializes in. Bear in mind there are a lot of talented singers, but only one person wins American Idol.

Originality: This can take many forms. (Obviously, as this is the definition of “original”) This goes for media, technique, personality, genre, theme, and everything associated with your art. What separates you from everyone else?

Professionalism: Dealers depend on their artists to produce quality work consistently. This is their business, not just their passion. Artists who treat this as a profession tend to fare better with business owners who have overhead, staff and bills to pay.

Name some behaviors or qualities that can make a dealer or broker NOT want to deal with an artist.

Talent: Number one factor again. Some artists are good, but not great. It sometimes takes a fresh set of unbiased eyes to differentiate between the two. While myriad factors exist which define talent, it is entirely subjective and should be taken constructively.

Originality: If your artwork looks, feels and is related to everything else in a particular gallery, there may not be room for artistic competition in the existing contracts that gallery may have.

Professionalism: If an artist is unreliable, unethical and unprofessional, it is difficult for dealers to reconcile. If an artist sells directly to a client when the dealer’s work has clearly been the cause, it is unethical. If an artist cannot call their dealer or representative back when they are working on a deadline, it is unprofessional. Dealers often have a very narrow window in which to close a sale, before the buyer goes elsewhere or finds another item to purchase. Delays mean money out the window. If an artist displays unprofessional behavior, particularly when clients are present, that dealer, their other artists and all their future business may stand to be greatly damaged. Contracts are put in place for a reason. Make certain that they are fair to you and have terms you can live with. Then, once signed, live up to those terms. This is what you would expect from your dealer, right?

Can you name several “red flags” artists should look for when deciding which galleries and dealers to stay away from?

While there is no tried-and-true system for determining which galleries to deal with… Check them out. Talk to artists, neighbors, the local magazines or newspapers. Oftentimes, they will have good advice about individual galleries that you might not hear from the staff. Never sign contracts unless you are 100% certain you can live with the terms of it.

In your opinion, what is a fair “exclusivity” clause in a contract between an artist and gallery?

Exclusivity should be regionalized based upon geography, performance, sphere of influence and potential upward mobility. As a general rule, you should not have more than one gallery in any one town when you are starting out. If they are doing a good job and selling your work at reasonable intervals there is no need for change. Look for outlying cities that might have circles who would also enjoy your work and may have galleries to solicit. As that sphere grows, so will your business.

How has the Internet changed the fine art industry?

Anyone can be “discovered”. Whether it is dance, song, writing, art or politics, anyone has a shot when you have 200 Million potential viewers. That does not mean everyone will, but the information is out there. This also means that you will have more chances of being solicited directly and testing your allegiances to your dealers. Remember, if a gallery has done their job well you may have a spike in inquiries directly to you. This means they are doing a good job and they deserve to be rewarded for it. In the long run, these referrals back to the gallery will pay you dividends.

How do you see the fine art industry changing in the next 5-10 years?

I am not an artist, although I sometime wish I was… YOU determine the future of art. It is up to us in the industry to keep pace.

Thank you Reed!
Keep watching the blog for part two of the interview featuring questions and answers for art collectors.

Further information:

S. C. Versillee has been creating images since the age of three and under her mother’s early tutelage she honed her craft, developing a life-long love and respect for the arts.

A contemporary realist painter who works primarily in oils, Versillee sold her first painting at the age of 16 to a local shop owner and participated in her first group show at the age of 18. She has been juried into various distinguished fine art exhibitions including, the Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club and the National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society’s “Best in America” annual show. She has appeared in both print and media and was included in a 2006 book, “Painter: The World’s Finest Painter Art”. Currently she has collectors of her figurative works throughout the United States. Some of Versillee’s other interest include creative writing, web design and research on the subjects of anthropology, symbolism and myth.

S. C. Versillee earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Art from the Cleveland Institute of art in 1999 and a Master’s in Library and Information Science from Kent State University in 2005. She currently works and lives in North East Ohio. She is an associate member of the International Guild of Realism and Oil Painters of America.

Richard MacDonald “Cirque du Soleil” bronzes

Richard MacDonald (American, b. 1946)

“Blind Faith” (third-life-scale)

Dims: 32” x 14.5” x 10”

Bronze edition of 75.

Like-new condition with no obvious flaws.

Original certification of authenticity from the publisher Richard MacDonald Studios.

Present List price: $135,000.

PRICE: On request

Richard MacDonald (American, b. 1946)

Leap of Faith, Third Life

(bronze, edition of 75)

31” x 9.75” x 13.25”.

Original certification from MacDonald Studios

Present list price: $66,000.

Richard MacDonald (American, b. 1946)

Transcendence: Sasha II

Bronze Edition of 75

54” x 19” x 14” (137cm x 48cm x 36cm)

Appraised Price: $88,000.

PRICE: On request

One of MacDonald’s most unusual and enigmatic compositions, this work has tended to sell through, and ascend in price every 3 months since issue. At this rate, we have watched the edition sell out in only a few short years. Presently, this work is available at a fantastic savings versus current appraisal value of $88,000.

Richard MacDonald (American, b. 1946)

“Leap of Faith” (half-life)

Bronze edition of 50

Dims: 49” x 16” x 23”.

Provenance: Purchased directly from Artist Studio. Pristine condition with original certification of authenticity from the publisher.

Present LIST: $140,000.

PRICE: On request

Richard MacDonald (American, b. 1946)

“Blind Faith” (half-life)

Bronze edition of 50

Dims: 49” x 16” x 23”.

Provenance: Purchased directly from Artist Studio. Pristine condition with original certification of authenticity from the publisher.

Present LIST: $220,000.

PRICE: On request

Prices and availability subject to change without notice


Reed V. Horth
Miami, FL USA
PH: (813) 340-9629
Skype: reed.v.horth

So You Want to be an Art Dealer? Not So Fast!

The Dandy and the Pilfered Picasso

Article by Reed V. Horth, for CBP Magazine

Washington, DC- June 24, 2013- The Department of Justice today restrained the 1909 Pablo Picasso painting “Compotier et tasse” – estimated to be worth $11.5 million – on behalf of the Italian government. This action follows an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). The restraining order was obtained in response to an official request by the government of Italy, pursuant to the Treaty between the United States and the Italian Republic on Mutual Legal Assistance in criminal matters for assistance in connection with its ongoing criminal investigation and prosecution of Gabriella Amati. Amati and her late husband, Angelo Maj, were charged by the Italian Public Prosecutors’ Office in Milan with embezzlement and fraudulent bankruptcy offenses under Italian law, and Italian prosecutors have obtained a restraining order for the Picasso painting in connection with the criminal proceeding.

The dapper young gentleman had just recently embarked on a career in fine art-sales when sent me a short email after a successful meeting we held in the midst of Art Basel Miami Beach in December 2011. He thanked me for my time and mentioned that things were brewing that would be both profitable and fun for us both. During our December meeting, the dandy gentleman wore an impeccable pin-striped suit and spoke elegantly about his European travels, his fledgling business and his impressive access to high end works of art. What struck me as most impressive, being in the art business for 15 years, was that I scarcely had a tenth of the resources he reported having. He was the picture of what an art dealer should look, sound like and exude. That  evening filled with wine, food and revelry, my wife and I casually discussed our business and our high-end clients contemporaneously seeking original works from Spanish Master Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) as well as other 20th Century masters. Art Basel Miami Beach is an incredible feast for the senses, as the finest dealers, most beautiful people and best art in the world commingle in an atmosphere of sophistication, culture and a fair degree of braggadocio. Among other meetings with clients, vendors and friends, the meeting with this young man stood out as being one of the most promising of future business and friendship.

When an email arrived in my inbox early one morning the following February from the same young gentleman, I became excited at the prospect of conducting mutual business based on a small 1909 oil painting by Pablo Picasso entitled,  “Compotier et tasse”. Following my rigorous schedule of questions and due diligence surrounding each work I present to my clients, I forwarded a litany of questions to the young broker on the work’s provenance, certification, location, history and the like. I then conducted some due diligence of my own, first simply through Google, then more sophisticated means. My initial reaction was, at EURO15.2M, it became obvious that pricing was out-of-line with market. This an indicator that there may not be direct access to a given work,  but instead a daisy-chain of brokers, each lumping millions of Euros on the total as it progresses through their hands. Unlike the real estate market, art dealers tend to withhold great listings from other brokers as a market inundation can smother an otherwise perfect work. The best listings are handed to only a few, selected private clients and/or their direct agents. This keeps works which are fresh to the market from becoming spoiled, or in parlance “Shopped”. It also keeps pricing to the end-buyer to a minimum. The pricing provided to me indicated that this “shopping” might be the case here. This evidence was further buttressed when he noted that his “partner’s source was direct to mandate”. This told me not only that he was not direct, but there were likely several more egos and pocketbooks between me and this painting than even he might be aware of. These sorts of complications muddy the waters as each broker has specific needs, none of which can be shelved for the good of the deal closing. Beyond this, it also prevents information such as the true origin of the work to be known, thereby jeopardizing each agent in the process should something go awry with the deal. The origin, as it turns out, would have been very relevant information for these brokers to have had.

For myself, the work presented too many problems and potential questions. Therefore, the brief information was filed away and I demurred to my young friend. “Not for me,” I said. Subsequent failures in providing even the most basic information on other high-end works meant that our friendship was not meant to be. I have not heard from him in the past year.

Earlier this morning while searching through my daily compilation of art news, I happened upon an article which mentioned “Compotier et tasse” from Picasso. Remembering the title, I searched my notes for the painting, where I had seen it and what the results were of my inquiries. The article states that the work was originally purchased by a couple, Angelo Maj and Gabriella Amati, using tax revenues from the city of Naples, Italy. It is reported that the couple embezzled approximately EURO 33M ($44M USD) using fraudulent service contracts, inflated expenses, fraudulent refunds and other schemes to defraud.  Among their extravagant purchases with their embezzled funds was the 1909 Pablo Picasso painting, “Compotier et tasse”. Italy, rightfully wants it back. ICE, working with the United States Department of Justice “located and recovered the painting, which was being offered for private sale in the amount of $11.5 million.” Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman (USDOJ) states “Restraining this Picasso painting is yet another example of the Justice Department’s close partnership with law enforcement around the world. Our asset forfeiture section is committed to finding and securing every last penny of criminal proceeds and putting those ill-gotten proceeds back in the hands of victims, regardless of where they reside.”

I sincerely doubt that my young friend was embroiled in this controversy (First, because his pricing never could have gotten him in the door with a real buyer. Secondly, because I feel that he realized early on that this business is trickier than it first seemed to him, so he quit.) However, it is interesting how little due diligence and intellectual curiosity he conducted in a very complex field which he was a neophyte in. Would he have been involved, or worse yet, had I allowed myself to become involved in such a questionable property, our names could be side-by-side in this DOJ investigation. It took less than 1 hour of investigation on my part to rule out this work as a viable candidate for my client base. He apparently did not place the same importance on due diligence, and this time it could have really harmed him.

In college, one of our Art History professors once told his class on the first day, “95% of you will fail this course or drop it before it is over”. While many thought of Art History as a simple way to earn an arts credit, four people stood, turned and walked out immediately. They were the smart ones. Art is NOT an easy field and navigating it as a student, buyer, seller or a dealer is unlike any other career path in that you are dealing in something which is ostensibly unnecessary. Wants are sometimes more tightly scrutinized than needs are, and the intellectual and legal firepower qualified buyers employ cannot be overstated or ignored by those who ply this as their craft.

Perhaps my friend was one of the smart ones. As it takes a smart student to know when to get out before it is too late.

For information on this case see:

Reed V. Horth, is the president, curator and writer for ROBIN RILE FINE ART in Miami, FL. He has been a private dealer, gallerist and blogger since 1996, specializing in 20th century and contemporary masters.

A Lost Little Kid in search of meaning in a Dali painting

By Reed V. Horth for Robin Rile Fine Art (

I never quite fit into my adopted home of Tampa (FL USA) when I arrived in the late 1980’s. Partly as a result of this outsider ethos, my adolescent self sought desperately to find places, people and images that could provide some sense of normalcy, no matter what that meant at the time. One of those places lay across Tampa Bay at the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, which housed the collection of Salvador Dali painting accumulated by A. Reynolds & Eleanor Morse. (This collection is now housed in its stunning new home The Dali ( in St. Petersburg.

The old museum always seemed to have the feeling of an old 1970′s home. A bit moist. A bit quiet. Only the lack of a small television and recliner in the corner made me not feel that I was in my Grandmother’s home in upstate New York. Well, that and the incredible array of original paintings from Dali. For a teenager not quite certain of himself, this place was a welcome reprieve, and made me feel not so unusual after all. Dali’s eccentricities made me feel almost normal. Dali employed many hats both metaphorically and physically. As a result, his work appeals to a broad spectrum of viewers, thinkers and doers, from high-schoolers and CEO’s. Both, it would seem, think outside the proverbial box. Some of Dali’s paintings were small, almost delicate. But they were incredibly precise and detailed. Others works encompassed full walls and overwhelmed the senses. Despite the grandiose scale, many still had the painstaking detail exhibited in his smaller, more intimate works. Others still were haphazard, stream of consciousness exercises that challenged fellow-Spaniard Picasso’s works in their simplicity and vigor. Hours were spent under those masterpieces, dissecting, drawing and mimicking minutiae of their symbolic stories. Docents led groups of 20 awestruck onlookers down a graded slope into the area where five of his masterworks, including “The Hallucinogenic Toreador“, “Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus“, “The Ecumenical Council” and ” Galaciadalacidesoxiribunucleicacid (Homage to Crick and Watson)” loomed. I merely sat and stared. Hours stretched to days, days to weeks and weeks into months. More than 20 years later, I have very much determined who I am and gained that sense of normalcy lacking during my spell in Tampa. What is more, I have also been able to assimilate my affinities for Dali into my professional life as a dealer of his original paintings and sculpture.


Intervening years have allowed me to make pilgrimages to various locations pivotal to Dali’s life and work. Among these are New York’s St. Regis Hotel, Hotel Saint Maurice in Paris, Dali’s homes and museums in Figueras, Cadaques and Port Lligat, even sipping tea at El Quatre Gats, the Barcelona bar which he frequented  with fellow surrealists, Max Ernst, Man Ray, André Masson, Joan Miró, Marcel Duchamp, Jacques Prévert, and Yves Tanguy and poet André Breton (who founded the movement). This familiarity with his work and his life has provided me a somewhat unique perspective on his oeuvre. While undoubtedly there are others in my craft with more years, experiences and facility with Dali than I, my own perspectives are not without merit.

Salvador Dalí (1904-1989) Cristo del Vallés (Christ of Vallés) Price Realized £901,875 ($1,413,238) Estimate £1,500,000 – £2,500,000 ($2,300,000 – $3,800,000) 40% Below Estimates Christie’s Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale. London. 20 June ’13

Therefore, in my perusing six of the lots from Master Dali which were featured in recent auctions at Christie’s (June 20, 2013) and Sotheby’s (June 19, 2013) I developed my own perceptions of pricing based on the composition, media and overall market for his works.  Perhaps the strongest of which was “Cristo de Valles” from 1962. This work’s poor showing at Christie’s (40% below estimates- Selling for $1.4M versus estimates of $2.3M-$3.8M) perhaps has less to do with the composition itself than its recent exposure on the market.  “Cristo de Valles” has been on the market for several years and offered at every price under the sun. Most recently, I was presented the work for EURO 4M in 2011. While the piece itself is a wonderful oil on canvas composition, it comes from the Dr. Guiseppe Albaretto collection, which remains embroiled in legal wrangling which has not yet been resolved. [] While it is clear this work is sanguine due to voluminous documentation, photography of Dali with this work and the Albaretto family (as well as other evidence), it is possible that a stigma exists which did not allow as strong a showing as would otherwise been realized.



Salvador Dalí (1904-1989) LA MUSIQUE or L’ORCHESTRE ROUGE or LES SEPT ARTS Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale London. 19 June ’13 Lot sold: 5,010,500 GBP ($7,755,251 USD) Estimate: 4,500,000 – 6,500,000 GBP Within Estimate


Salvador Dalí (1904-1989) El sombrero de tres picos (The three-cornered hat) Price Realized £337,875 ($529,450) Estimate £300,000 – £400,000 ($460,000 – $600,000) Within Estimates Christie’s Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale. London. 20 June ’13

Both Sotheby’s Lot “La Musique or L’Orchestre Rouge or Les Sept Arts” and Christie’s “El Sombrero de Tres Picos” are wonderful and quintessentially Dalinian, employing levitating figures, music and landscapes.  However, the latter is a gouache on paper which will typically garner less than an oil on canvas, as shown in the former. “La Musique” achieved a respectable $7.6M (well within estimates) and “El Sombrero” achieved $529k (again, well within estimates). Were “El Sombrero” on canvas I would expect the pricing to be similar to (but still lower than) that of “La Musique”. The media is the only thing holding it back. While gouaches tend to find themselves priced somewhere between watercolors and oils, (the media is basically a thick watercolor), their popularity is on the rise due to the relative rarity and costliness of marquis oils on today market. Collectors are turning towards the gouache paintings as a viable alternative to spending millions on oils and we have seen spikes in pricing such as the recent sale of “Stillness of Time” for $752k at Sotheby’s in November of 2012.


Salvador Dalí (1904 – 1989) STILLNESS OF TIME Estimate: $400,000 – 600,000. LOT SOLD. Sotheby’s London, 7 November, 2012 for $752,500 USD (Hammer Price with Buyer’s Premium)




Salvador Dalí (1904-1989) PORTRAIT OF MRS ORTIZ-LINARES Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale London. 19 June ’13 Lot sold: 662,500 GBP ($1,025,417 USD) Estimate: 400,000 – 600,000 GBP 11% Above Estimate

Sotheby’s sale of the “Portrait of Mrs. Ortiz-Linares”(1942) was somewhat of a surprise as dedicated portraits of specific people tend to have a limited audience. The strong showing of Dali’s “Portrait of Mrs. Harrison Williams” (1943) which sold at $3.6M (well above estimates) at Sotheby’s London earlier this year possibly prepared the market for the “Ortiz-Linares” portrait which sold at 11% above its modest estimates which were under $1M USD. While the “Mrs. Harrison Williams” portrait is arguably “More Dalinian” (which could account for the vast disparity in pricing) the soft treatment of Mrs. Ortiz-Linares, with delicate putti and clouds evokes the affection shown in Dali’s own treatments and portraiture of his beloved Gala. Further, the “Mrs. Harrison Williams” portrait, while dark, is extremely involved, symbolic and would easily transition into a museum setting. Whereas the “Ortiz-Linares” work may or may not find the same scholastic or institutional audiences in the short-term.


Salvador Dalí (1904 – 1989) PORTRAIT OF MRS HARRISON WILLIAMS Estimate: 1,500,000 – 2,000,000 GBP LOT SOLD. Sotheby’s London, 5 February, 2013 for 2,281,250 GBP (Hammer Price with Buyer’s Premium)




Salvador Dalí (1904-1989) Twist dans le studio de Velázquez Price Realized £181,875 ($284,453) Estimate: £300,000 – £500,000 ($470,100 – $783,500) 40% Below Estimates Christie’s Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale London. 20 June ’13

Christie’s exhibited and sold one of several paranoiac-critical studies for Dali’s homage to Velasquez entitled, “Twist Dans le Studio de Velasquez”. This small work which combines Dali’s reverence for all things Velasquez (and therefore Spanish) and the social phenomenon of the early 1960’s, The Twist. Accordion-like figures dance playfully around the occupied standing figure of “Cardinal-Infante Fernando de Austria” from the eponymous portrait of same housed in Madrid’s Prado Museum. The study has elements which make it iconic in context, perhaps in an collection featuring multiple studies of Velasquez by Dali. Further, there are other studies of this work which more clearly delineate this concept on a larger and more impressive-scale. Possibly as a result, this work sold at 40% below estimates.



Salvador Dalí (1904-1989) Montre molle et escargot dans une salle de bain avec deux baigneuses Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Works on Paper and Day Sale. London. 20 June ’13 Lot sold: 218,500 GBP ($338,194 USD) Estimate:200,000 – 300,000 GBP Within Estimate

Perhaps the most common question asked of a Dali dealer is whether or not we can find a work with a melting clock. Dali’s seminal “Persistence of Memory” (1931) depicted the clocks he described as being like camembert cheese melting in the hot mid-day sun of Eastern Spain. (Later interpretations by scholars have included the impermanence of time, but this was not the meaning ascribed by Dali when asked about this subject) This quintessential imagery has come to define Dali and is instantly recognizable worldwide. This mixed media work layers collage, painting and textural elements to create a unique amorphous composition which might be arguably the strongest work of the group depicted above. Evocative of his 1972 self-portrait, with its haphazard splashes of color and pasted photographic elements, this work was a actual bargain in selling at approximately $338k USD.





The works which I grew up with in the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg are never to be sold. Nor are the works I have been fortunate enough to see in other varied museum collections of Dali’s works internationally. Therefore, the works which we are fortunate enough to locate on the open market are probably related of works which may be more familiar to us, without actually being those works. Through an ever-evolving set of criteria, benchmarks and comparisons, we are working hard to discover trends and idiosyncrasies which differentiate the paintings we do discover which make them unique and worthwhile to our collectors and friends.

All this from a lost kid in Central Florida with an intellectual curiosity and a great local museum.


The Dali, designed by Yann Weymouth for HOK. Opened April 2012.

Reed V. Horth, is the president, curator and writer for ROBIN RILE FINE ART in Miami, FL. He has been a private dealer, gallerist and blogger since 1996, specializing in 20th century and contemporary masters.


June Auction Results for Salvador Dalí

Sotheby’s Results for Salvador Dalí- June 2013


Lot 49

Salvador Dalí


Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale [L13006]

London. 19 June ’13

Lot sold: 5,010,500 GBP ($7,755,251 USD)

Estimate: 4,500,000 – 6,500,000 GBP

Within Estimate


Lot 68

Salvador Dalí


Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale [L13006]

London. 19 June ’13

Lot sold: 662,500 GBP ($1,025,417 USD)

Estimate: 400,000 – 600,000 GBP

11% Above Estimate


Lot 165

Salvador Dalí

Montre molle et escargot dans une salle de bain avec deux baigneuses

Impressionist & Modern Art Works on Paper and Day Sale Morning

The Analytical Eye: The Branco Weiss Collection [L13008]

London. 20 June ’13

Lot sold: 218,500 GBP ($338,194 USD)

Estimate:200,000 – 300,000 GBP

Within Estimate


Christie’s Results for Salvador Dalí- June 2013


Salvador Dalí (1904-1989)

Twist dans le studio de Velázquez

Price Realized  £181,875 ($284,453)

Estimate: £300,000 – £500,000 ($470,100 – $783,500) 40% Below Estimates

signed and dated ‘Dalí 62′ (lower left)
oil on canvas
17 3/8 x 22½ (44 x 57 cm.)
Painted in 1962



Salvador Dalí (1904-1989)

Cristo del Vallés (Christ of Vallés)

Price Realized £901,875 ($1,413,238)

Estimate £1,500,000 – £2,500,000 ($2,300,000 – $3,800,000) 40% Below Estimates

signed and dated ‘Gala Salvador Dalí 1962′ (lower centre)

oil on canvas

36½ x 29 5/8 in. (92.8 x 75.4 cm.)

Painted in 1962





Salvador Dalí (1904-1989)

El sombrero de tres picos (The three-cornered hat)

Price Realized £337,875 ($529,450)

Estimate £300,000 – £400,000 ($460,000 – $600,000) Within Estimates

signed and dated ‘Dalí 1949′ (lower right); titled ‘El sombrero de tres picos’ (lower centre)

gouache on brown paper

10¾ x 13¾ in. (27.3 x 35 cm.)



Can Art Save the World?


By Reed V. Horth, for ROBIN RILE FINE ART, May 4, 2009.


A friend recently asked me, “Do you think Art will save the world as Dostoyevsky said?”

While pondering the answer to this query, my mind flooded with visions of a Superman carrying paintbrushes, a smock and modeling clay saving us from annihilation at the hands of a villainous fiend whose plot is to turn the world into a drab, colorless, amorphous mass. While preposterous, the truth is that art has dictated our history as much as it has been a barometer of it. Artists provide a distilled view of the world. It is up to us, as viewers, to digest it and either absorb, process, or reject it.

Andy Warhol Myths; Superman FS-II.260 Screen-print on Lenox Museum Board. 1981 38″ x 38″ Edition of 200, 30 AP, 5 PP, 5 EP, 12 HC, signed and numbered in pencil lower right. Printer: Rupert Jasen Smith, New York Publisher: Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, Inc., New York


How many of us will forget the Sheppard Fairey’s propaganda-styled poster simply entitled “HOPE” which defined much of this past election cycle? “HOPE” was an intriguing counterpoint to living in an Orwellian Masterpiece. In the 1940′s Rosie the Riveter urged “We Can Do It”… and we did. Uncle Sam posters stated, “I Want You”… and we lined up. Sheppard Fairey urged “Hope”… and we had it.

As to Dostoyevsky’s dictum, I believe “Beauty will save the world” is the popularized version of his phrasing in The Idiot, in which the character Prince Myshkin is shown a portrait of a young woman. He notes, “Beauty like that is strength… One could turn the world upside down with beauty like that”.
Whether Art’s role in the formation of ideals and our perception of beauty can provide a basis for us to actually “turn the world upside down” is for smarter people than I to decide. What I will say is this, Art is not merely symptomatic, it is the collective voice of our zeitgeist both as leaders and as reactionaries. And by “Artists”, I do not merely include those who can place paint on a brush and apply it to a canvas in a pleasing way. “Artist” embraces writers, satirists, poets, sculptors, actors, designers, architects, dancers, photographers, musicians, and thinkers who continually push the envelope outward regardless of public perception. These artists reinvigorate thought and stimulate change to “save” ourselves from ourselves.
In literature, Upton Sinclair’s seminal muckraking masterpiece “The Jungle” changed the meat packing industry and established the Food and Drug Administration because an outraged public demanded that Teddy Roosevelt establish standards and regulations for public consumption. Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s “One Day in the Life of Ivan Desnisovich” was a horrifying indictment of Russian internment camps which changed the ways in which Western Intellectuals contextualized the Soviet record of human rights violations. While each book was compacted and digestible by the masses, each achieved incredible sea-changes in the ways in which people thought, behaved, lived and breathed.

The Works Progress Administration (WPA) was one of the salves Franklin Delano Roosevelt instituted as part of the New Deal to lead the United States out of the Great Depression. A great portion of the WPA was made up of projects geared at shoring up national identity and pride, just as the banks, institutions and government were rethinking the rules of governance. Artists such as Mark Rothko, Paul Cadmus, Aaron Bohrod, Childe Hessam, Jack Levine, Thomas Hart Benton, Raphael Soyer, Grant Wood and Karl Zerbe formed a cadre whose works (inspired by the recent renaissance of Italian masters by Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Sequeiros, Jose Clemente Orozco and others), created public and private works which redefined the age and persevere to this day as some of the early 20th century’s most quintessential images.

Art was used to foment fear during the run-up to World War II, whether through Leni Riefenstahl’s Nazi propaganda film “Triumph of the Will”, “Loose Lips Sink Ships” posters, or ads urging us to “Buy War Bonds”. Even the notably light-hearted illustrator Dr. Seuss (Theodore Geisel) expressed biting political commentary on the United States’ isolationist position in the years leading up to the Japanese invasion of Pearl Harbor. After the war, George Segal’s “Holocaust” figures elicited images far too horrible to imagine. Vacant absentness stood sentinel in a world still numb with fear.

Pablo Picasso. Guernica. 1937. Oil on canvas. Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain

Pablo Picasso’s very personal and seminal masterpiece “Guernica” was borne out of the bombing of the small Basque town on April 26, 1937. While apolitical, Picasso’s Paris studio was not immune to intrusion by the Gestapo. When asked by a Nazi officer about the work,”Did you do that?”, he replied simply, “No, you did.”
Years later, in 1974, gallerist Tony Shafrazi spray painted “KILL LIES ALL” on the surface of Guernica in response to Nixon’s commutation of the sentence of William Calley for his involvement in the My Lai Massacre. When asked in 1980 about the incident, Shafrazi noted “I wanted to bring the art absolutely up to date, to retrieve it from Art History and give it life”.

Andy Warhol Campbell’s Soup I (Vegetable) FS-II.53. Screenprint on white paper. 1968 35″ x 23″ Edition of 250, signed in ball-point pen and numbered with rubber stamp on verso. There are 26 AP, signed and lettered on verso. Portfolio of 10 screenprints. Printer: Salvatore Silkscreen Co., Inc., New York Publisher: Factory Addition, New York


Pop Art was borne out of our post-war obsession with mass-produced commodities and prompted a sea-change in the way that collectors, thought of, purchased and invested in Art, as well as changed the way artist marketed, branded and editioned themselves. Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans and Roy Lichtenstein’s comic book-styled panels epitomized and personified our consumer-oriented milieu. No longer was Fine Art confined to the wealthy. This new thought process opened a whole new buyer-class to the world of fine arts which, in turn, brought a broader focus to the arts as a whole. In turn, perception-based speculation turned fine art into a commoditized asset which was bought and sold with the idea of making money. Rarity, speculation and innovation became as prominent of motivators as image quality and talent.
Whether or not commercialization has marginalized art or brought it to the masses is a hotly debated and divisive subject. Whether or not either scenario is a good or bad for art itself is also a topic of debate. British graffiti artist Banksy has reinvigorated the “outsider” art scene while remaining relatively anonymous. His clandestined, controversial (and often hysterical) works keep him comfortably behind the curtain, despite their popularity and commercial success. Other artists, poets, musicians and writers who become commercially successful are often derided as having “sold out”, but new blood enters the market seeking to become “discovered” all the same. In every generation there are a handful of individuals who alter our perceptions so greatly that we turn our world upside down because we simply cannot justify the status quo any longer…. we call them Artists.

Will Beauty save the world?… Perhaps…. considering the counterpoint is “Ugliness will doom it

Pop Artist dEmo’s “Oso Grande” (Pink) from



Referral Fees for Active Art Buyers

RRFA Referral program

Do you know someone who collects investment-level fine art? Perhaps you walked into their home and they showed you their new collection of Andy Warhol “Marilyn Monroe” prints and their new Robert Indiana “LOVE” sculpture. How about your friend who just bought a big, beautiful home with lots of walls and a yard suitable for a sculpture garden? Perhaps it is your doctor, financial adviser, a favorite football player or movie star that you know well, your broker, lawyer, your mom or dad, or even your sister with who just won the lottery? We ALL know people who have homes that are suitable for great art.

Think about who YOU know.

Andy Warhol (1922-1987) Title: SUNDAY B MORNING MARILYN SUITE Size: 36x36 INCHES Medium: SCREENPRINT Description: Sunday B. Morning, 10 color screen-prints are printed on museum board with the highest quality archival inks. Each print is 36x36". They are stamped in blue ink, "Published by Sunday B. Morning" and "fill in your own signature," on verso. Published by Sunday B. Morning.

The lifeblood of what we do here at RRFA is built upon the referrals from people like YOU. This is why we have a generous referral fee for introductions which lead to successful transactions. While not every person you introduce us to will buy something, we have an incentive to make certain that you continue to send us more people. This is why YOU get 20% of whatever the gallery makes on a completed transaction initiated through your referral. As we have works from $5,000 to over $2Million, these referral fees can be quite hefty if you introduce us to someone who becomes active in buying through us.

Do you need to know about art? Not at all. In fact, in our experience, it is better not to have a liaison between us and the end buyer. It complicates the process and muddles the result. You simply provide an email introduction to both us and your contact and we do the rest. Provided we have their contact information and can use your name as a reference, we will work to make certain the referral purchases work from RRFA.

What if they buy… How do I know RRFA would pay the referral fee? Simple. We have several major incentives to do so, not the least of which is that your know your contact better than we do. We want you to speak kindly about us to them moving forward. The next point is that we should pay simply because you will work that much harder at locating viable leads for us in the future. The more we make, the more you would make. Simple passive income.

Who is RRFA looking for? Presently, our most active demographic for the purchase of our investment-level art is physicians, however we work with all manner of collector with the wherewithal and means to collect art. We have sold to Forbes and Fortune 500 members and kids who buy a Dali bronze with their Bar Mitzvah money. Bankers and brokers get their bonuses once a year. Doctors, lawyers, luxury sales specialists, movie stars, directors, producers, professional athletes, business owners, CEO’s, presidents, diplomats, professors… pretty much anyone who has an eye for art and a pocketbook that can buy what they like could be a client for RRFA.

Who is RRFA NOT looking for? We are looking for principals and decision-makers, not go-betweens, gatekeepers and/or representatives. If you do not know someone well enough to place us in direct contact, they are probably not a viable enough lead for us to make work. We will only end up annoying them and wasting time. Principal decision-makers are required. Also, while we often work with designers and decorators, they often leave the art selection to the principals of the home, so we would need to be in touch with the principals as well. (Of course, this opens the door for you designers out there to earn some extra for referring us directly to your clients too!)

THE PINK ORCHID EGG A CREATION BY THEO FABERGÉ. engine-turned and guilloché enameled in pristine white. Sterling silver orchid sprays, decorated with 24-karat gold and hand-enameled in pink, adorn the upper sides of the Egg. Each creation is numbered and bears Theo Fabergé’s signature. Height 18.5 cms Presentation in golden carriage-case Edition of 50 worldwide

How do I get started?
Think about who you know who may have the wherewithal and means to collect art and may have an interest in some of the works you see on If you think you may have a match who you know personally enough to send an introductory email to, introduce us to them via email with in the CC line. REMEMBER: If you do not know them well, it could be considered spam. This is not what we want. We want people with whom you have an existing relationship well enough that they would trust your word about us as viable dealers of fine art.

Beyond this… Put your thinking caps on and look through your address book. Think about who you know that might collect art and drop them a line.
We would love to hear from you about their interests and we would love to write you a check for a completed sale!

ANDY WARHOL (American, 1928-1987) “$” (1) (FS II.277) Size: 19.75x15.75 INCHES Year: 1982 Medium: Screen-print on Lenox Museum Board Edition: 60 Description: Edition of 60, 10 AP, 3 PP, 15 TP, signed and numbered in pencil. Each print is unique. Portfolio of six screen prints assembled in mixed variations. Printer: Rupert Jasen Smith, New York Publisher: Andy Warhol, New York