Nearly 40 years ago I published my first brochure of inventory as a promotional tool for the business. I was living in Kansas City, dealing out of my house, and was a big nobody in the art world. My partner at the time, Melissa Williams, was an antiques dealer in Columbia, Missouri and together we had started specializing in Missouri painters of the 19th and early 20th centuries. We had no competition.
We mounted a beautiful exhibition in Melissa’s shop — a magnificent brick, Federal house on the outskirts of Columbia dating from the 1830s. We were dealing in paintings that pretty much nobody knew about, in the middle of the mid-west, in a market with almost no collectors. A real business juggernaut!
However, we decided to go all in and print a color publication of the show. This was not the digital world we live in now of cheap and easy printing, but one with color transparencies, high speed machines for scanning, design layouts with text waxed onto story boards. Primeval stuff, we felt like Guttenburg. But the catalog (brochure really) was quite nice and at the opening an architect from Kansas City bought a Frank Nuderscher landscape for $4200 — a big deal for us. As he stood in front of the painting his eyes were laser focused on the page of the catalog with the Nuderscher reproduction. The painting was 18 inches away and this guy was looking at our stupid brochure. Melissa and I looked at each other and a major light bulb went off… DING. This was the future of the business.
In the intervening years since much has changed but my love of producing catalogs has endured. While still a big nobody from the mid-west I used to visit New York where I’d meet someone who would say, “Oh, you’re the one who makes those nice catalogs!” Blush. The internet has certainly altered the advertising and promotional landscape but I still love the printed book format. We have produced an impressive number of catalogs over the years with interesting reproductions and well written essays, often focusing on little known or overlooked artists. We hope you will enjoy browsing through the selection.