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Monday, March 27, 2023

Galerie Maximillian Celebrates 25th Anniversary | Arts & Entertainment

Galerie Maximillian Celebrates 25th Anniversary | Arts & Entertainment

Albert Sanford started collecting art when he was 16 years old. It was his passion for collecting art that brought him to the industry he is today.

Today, Sanford celebrates 25 years of owning his Galerie Maximillian in Aspen. Opened in June 1997 at 602 E. Cooper Ave., the art gallery has been around for a quarter of a century.

Galerie Maximillian, one of the longest-running galleries in Aspen (if not the longest-running gallery in town), is here to stay, Sanford said.

“I’m really proud that we’ve been here 25 years, and we’re not going anywhere — we just resigned our lease; we’re full steam ahead,” Sanford said. “At a time when people are questioning: what is Aspen, what is the stuff that’s still there … I think that’s an achievement.”

In light of its 25th anniversary, Galerie Maximillian is showcasing works by some of the most acclaimed artists of the 20th and 21st centuries, Sanford said — including new collections from Andy Warhol, Peter Doig, Damien Hirst, Ian Davenport and David Hockney, as well as historic s work. Master prints by Picasso, Joan Miró and Henri Matisse.

Work by these artists, along with a number of other iconic names, is currently on display and for sale at the gallery. On Tuesdays from 5:30pm to 8pm, the Galerie Maximillian will host a festive reception to celebrate its anniversary and give community members a tour of the recently celebrated exhibit that will run through the winter.

Then in mid-February, the gallery will host an exhibition titled “Different Voices,” featuring contemporary artists Leonardo Drew, Nina Chanel Abney, Derek Adams, Jeffrey Gibson , Rashid Johnson, Toba Hedori, Julie Mehretu and Yinka Shonibal. “Diverse Voices” will run until April.

Sanford expressed his pride at being able to present the work of such a dynamic group of exceptional artists for the gallery’s anniversary. He noticed that 25 years ago, when Galerie Maximillian was born, the historical French art inventory on the walls was very different from the iconic contemporary works seen in galleries today.

However, as a seasoned collector, Sanford has mastered the business of selling art from the start, and during his years as a gallery owner, he also knows how to navigate the evolution of the resort ski town and the evolution of the art world At-Large Membership. Sanford traces his success back to his original passion.

“I’ve always believed that to be a successful art dealer, you have to have passion — you have to be passionate,” he said. “First, I’m an art collector; second, I’m an art dealer, and I would never sell something that I wouldn’t have in my own home or collection.”

at the beginning

Sanford and his then-wife Dorothy Wildman decided to move from Chicago to Aspen in ’97 where they would open an art gallery together.

Wildman has a home in Aspen, a mountain town she and Sanford frequented throughout the ’90s. During those trips, Sanford said he noticed that restaurants and other businesses seemed to come and go year after year, but art galleries — art galleries seemed to stay put.

“My gut feeling was: A, this is an accessible market,” Sanford said. “And B, that’s where I want to live and where Dorothy wants to live – we have friends here and we feel like it’s a place to make friends.”

Sanford was previously an art dealer in Chicago, working for the gallery chain then owned by the Pritzker family. He said he had been with the company for 14 years and was president and CEO when he decided to give up big-city corporate life to pursue becoming an independent business owner in Aspen, Colorado.

“Honestly, when I got here, I knew what I was doing,” Sanford said. “People don’t really realize it – people know who my wife is, but no one knows who I am.”

But Sandford knows himself, and despite skeptical comments from realtors in town and the fact that Aspen foot traffic tends to follow a “Z-shaped” pattern when Sanford is looking for space, he said he has a hunch that the oddly small The building on East Cooper Avenue would be an excellent location for an art gallery.

Sanford said the space was previously a clothing store with little traffic and energy, and he decided to take it over as a tenant and open Galerie Maximillian. And that’s exactly what he did.

“I have a goal, I have a financial plan … we have a three-year plan in the first year,” said the gallery owner. “That’s when I knew, I was in the A position, it was a good move, I was doing a good thing.”

Galerie Maximillian, named after Sanford’s first gallery dog, a Yorkshire terrier named “Maximillian,” began selling 19th-century French art, much of it as well as some contemporary French originals, Sanford said.

In 2003, six years after the Aspen Art Museum was founded, Sanford knew it was time to develop, although the collector was eager to get into more contemporary art—noting that he began attending the Aspen Art Museum around this time Tour – he said the seminal moment of change was two words: Damien Hirst.

“I became interested in Damien Hirst and then I had the opportunity to buy some Damien Hirst in London, so that was the start and we had immediate success,” says Sanford. “It completely changed the direction of the gallery.”

A contemporary British artist brings the next for Sanford, from Hirst to Grayson Perry, Anish Kapoor, Gary Hume and Mark Quinn – the list goes on .

Over the years, Galerie Maximillian has started to specialize in British contemporary works on paper, showing mostly editions and some unique pieces, which Sanford says have a price range for everyone from young and new art collectors to lifelong collectors buying works topping 75,000 Dollar mark.

Galerie Maximillian continues to cultivate a world-class collection of museum-quality fine art today. Sanford noted that Aspen Gallery has built an international footprint, having sold work to thousands of people over the past 25 years, and he emphasized the impact of client loyalty on his gallery’s success.

Sanford also attributes Galerie Maximillian’s longevity to his and his ex-wife’s early commitment to supporting the local community. Sanford and Wildman have been involved “financially and emotionally” with most charitable organizations in town and throughout the valley since the gallery’s founding, especially in supporting the arts in Aspen over the years, he said.

For his own gallery, Sanford says he always hires locally and maintains a very direct relationship with his landlord, Tony Mazza. Sanford also mentions the gallery’s large inventory — “there’s a lot more art in the collection than the walls,” he says — and the ability to gauge client interest through the examples on display, and then pull out more of the stash, which helps. successful business model.

Sanford went on to explain that, unlike most art galleries, Galerie Maximillian owns most of the art it sells. He said it tends to surprise people.

“We’ve always had different models; most galleries are doing a consignment model, or they might be working with an artist, or they have a guarantee of a certain number of sales,” Sanford said. “But we’ve always believed that to be successful, you have to be in it, so our strategy has always been to go into the market as a collector and buy as if it were something to go into my own personal collection.”

Ultimately, Galerie Maximillian’s 25-year success is rooted in Sanford’s own passion: “I just love buying art, you know, I really love buying art,” he says.

“At some point, I have to sell that piece of art to buy more,” Sanford continued. “I just want to help people build art collections.”

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