get complete details of Palm Beach gallery owner Sarah Gavlak has a penchant for works on paper by women artists and the color pink. She gave us a look at her collection
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sara gavlak has been synonymous with the West Palm Beach, Florida art scene since late 2005, when it opened the first contemporary gallery in the island enclave with a bold showing by a young upstart named wade guyton. In the 17 years that followed, his Palm Beach gallery grew from a small, intrepid space to a bicoastal operation showcasing works by artists such as Lisa Anne Auerbach, betty tompkins, marilyn minterY Gisela Colon.
Gavlak opened a Los Angeles outpost in 2014 and moved his flagship to Palm Beach’s tony Royal Poinciana Plaza, which now also houses Cartier and Saint Laurent stores alongside blue-chip Pace and Acquavella galleries. Since 2018 she has been presenting the expansive Wknd of new wave art (December 2-4, 2022) along with Art Basel Miami Beachwith panels and guided tours to help showcase South Florida’s largest contemporary art scene.
While her focus is on connecting historical trends around female artists, artists of color, and queer artists, Gavlak has a penchant for works on paper and the color pink. Overseeing her galleries reports her personal art collection, which she hangs in her Palm Beach and Los Angeles homes that she shares with her husband, creative executive Barry Blumberg.
“It’s a combination of what I’ve collected over the years and what my husband collected before we met,” Gavlak said. “It’s our tastes and our histories, and then it’s a combination of the two.” He took a look at Artnet News.
What was your first purchase? And how much did you pay for it?
Oh my God. Do I even remember? Was it before I had my gallery? Probably not, because I couldn’t afford any artwork. The first piece I actually bought was probably a Mary Weatherford frame. It was 2008, and I think it was $3,500. It was definitely under $5,000.
Wow, that’s a lot less than what they’re selling for now.
I know. And I love it. Mary knows I have it and she has seen it for me.
What was your most recent purchase?
I think my most recent would have been a leonor fine work on paper at auction last spring. I focus my collecting on works on paper by women artists.
What works or artists are you hoping to add to your collection this year?
Beth DeWoody curated a show for me over 10 years ago in Palm Beach called “Think Pink.” She’s doing a continuation of that at the Los Angeles gallery called “Think Pinker.” It was from her first exhibition when I bought the Mary Weatherford painting. She barely made enough money to pay the rent for the gallery. So I think there’s going to be some really cool stuff in that show. I’m going to buy something
What is the most expensive piece of art you own?
Oh my God. I don’t know what they’re selling for now, but I have a simone leigh cowrie shell I showed his work in Palm Beach over 10 years ago. So it could be that. Unfortunately, it’s not from their main series.
Where do you buy art most often?
Galleries and auctions. Going back to collecting works on paper by 18th century women artists – I have a few, and they are under $5,000, including one Angelica Kauffman drawing and a complete pastel portrait of a woman by katherine readwho was a contemporary of Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun. Those are from the Old Masters sales at Sotheby’s or Bonham’s.
When I read Vigée Le Brun’s biography, I learned that these women really had to fight. They were not admitted to the Academy; they were not allowed access to the tools by which the artists made their career. So the fact that they’ve had any kind of success in their life is incredible.
Works on paper by women are greatly undervalued. My husband collected art in the 1990s and he has really great works on paper. In fact, we inherit a great deal from your parents. dorothea tan work on paper I have a Leonora Carrington work on paper I have a sonia delaunaywho I love, they’re still so underrated, really cool abstractions.
I always dreamed of having something from Vigée Le Brun, but now they are expensive, which is great.
What work do you have hanging above your sofa?
Above our sofa in our living room, we have this brick wall that has everything from yoshitomo nara drawings a little anne collier photograph younger artists such as Andres Brischler. That’s where I do Zooms. It’s also my husband’s background. When we do our meetings, people always congratulate us.
But what I really love that is on our couch in Palm Beach and also on our mantle in Los Angeles is a Gisela Colon sculpture. His pieces change throughout the day by reacting to ambient light and sunlight, and when I show people what they look like at different times of the day, they just can’t believe it. They are really magical. I’ll stop by at night for a glass of water or something and stop dead.
What adorns your bathroom?
We have a lot of work in our bathroom. On my dresser in Palm Beach, I have these photographs that Yeager Bunny took called “How I photograph myself”. In the 1950s she was a model; then she learned photography on her own; and then she embarked on a proto-feminist and proto-conceptual art project for many years, where she dressed in different wigs, costumes, and backgrounds, and she photographed herself as cindy sherman he did so 25 years later.
So I have a beautiful work of Yeager nude on the beach, where she reveals her process of taking pictures in the mirror with the camera shutter, and another of her at her desk very serious, sending her letters and correspondence.
And then in our bathroom in LA, I have a very sexy Marilyn Minter from Pam Anderson, and a penny slinger—shown at Blum & Poe— which I bought many years ago at auction.
and then i have rob winne, because they are glass, so it is okay to have them where it gets wet. We also have a mirror piece of John Boskovich which my husband bought in the 1990s. So on my side, I have a Rob Wynne with a pink mirror, and on his side, we have a blue mirror with a very masculine anchor etched into the glass.
What part of your house feels very Palm Beach?
I have a great, really amazing Jose Alvarez (DOPA) collage. José is Venezuelan, but lives in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area. He is one of the artists I have been working with the longest. He’s just this incredibly beautiful and dynamic and very Latin American and lush collage with crystals and feathers and paint.
We also have this big Debora Brown painting of a nude woman on the water in a canoe with her dogs. It is an oceanic landscape, and very free.
Has being a gallery owner changed your way of collecting art for your home?
Yes and no. It’s good for me to own most of the artists I represent, but I love owning all kinds of different things.
In LA, we have a great Joyce’s Thought—he made us a drawing for a show that Andrew Brischler curated in the gallery. My husband and I ended up buying that and keeping it. It is linked to ceramics by elisabeth kley, whom I also showed years ago. They were very close, Elizabeth and Joyce, so I like that they are close to each other. I like to showcase the artists I’m working with, but I also like that there are jobs that I love.
Do you have a favorite art-filled corner that you go to for creative inspiration?
In LA, I have a whole little pink room that has a pink window seat, and it has a little bookcase, and I like to sit there. It’s very hot and I do meetings there if I work from home.
And most of the work is pink?
Yes. I have a elaine reichek small pink satin embroidery that refers to a ed ruscha part. There is a similar work that was donated inside the Baltimore Museum of Art. And I have a Andres Brischler He drew. I also have a Scott Leeder pink spaghetti painting…
Yeah, so everything is pink.
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