6 Tips on Art Collection from Savannah's Distinguished Arts Community


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Three prominent members of Savannah’s art community talk about what they love and add to their collections.

 

Kim Iocovozzi 

Silvery faces from a past century

Kim Iocovozzi, a former Savannah gallery owner, keeps many of his treasures in the drawers of small wooden cabinets. Most are hardly bigger than a deck of playing cards and none bigger than a magazine.

Iocovozzi has a collection of rare daguerreotypes – the first photographs in history.  Named after Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre, the man who invented the process in 1939, daguerreotypes captured images on a silvered copper plate.  Making a daguerreotype was complicated, time-consuming and expensive.  Once the image had been captured, the plates were commonly surrounded by a mat, covered with a sheet of protective glass, and sealed in a metal frame.  Often it was then mounted in larger wooden frame or presented in a folding velvet or leather case.  By 1860 a less expensive technology had been developed to capture images on paper, and few daguerreotypes were produced after that.  However, those taken in the 1840s and 1850s were often portraits of prominent people – Abraham Lincoln and Daniel Webster, for example.

Daguerreotype collectors, Iocovozzi said, often specialize in a particular type of image, perhaps groups of people or outdoor scenes.  He collects daguerreotypes of paintings. He has about 170 and believes it is the largest collection in existence.

“This is my prize possession,” he said, displaying a framed, silvery image. “This is a Gilbert Stuart painting – which no longer exists – of Washington Irving. It still has its original label from 1848.  This is the kind of stuff that I’m just crazy about.”

Why would someone go to the trouble and expense of photographing a painting?   Many reasons, Iocovozzi said.  The Gilbert Stuart painting was destroyed in a fire, so the daguerreotype is the only record of it remaining.  Family members often had daguerreotypes made of favorite portraits to take with them when they moved to other parts of the country – knowing they might never have the opportunity to return.

Iocovozzi belongs to the Daguerrian Society, an international group of people interested in early photography.  He trades items from his collection frequently and watches E-Bay and other web sites for pieces to be offered for sale.  

Buying and selling are a big part of the fun of collecting for Iocovozzi.  “I’m constantly culling my collection,” he said. 

 

"Follow your heart and collect what you love. "

Lori Judge – Judge Realty

Energy, the environment and the economy

The Judge collection is easy to see.  It’s displayed every day in the Judge real estate office on Abercorn Street.  

“I’ve been so inspired by the idea of a private collection being accessible to the public,” said Lori Judge, the firm’s owner.  “This is not like a museum.  We’re open 9-5 seven days a week and it’s something you can view at any time.

In fact, there are times you can see key elements of the collection standing outside on the sidewalk.

Throughout the month of December, the front façade of Judge’s building was a canvas of sorts, displaying light and form patterns and two-dimensional abstract designs from three projectors, the concept of Savannah artist Will Penny.

The installation, called “Intersection,” was about the intersection of public space and art, Judge said in an announcement on her company website.  “It’s about how we could … ask people passing by on the street to take a second to pause, looking at themselves against the scale of it – slowing down, stopping, meditating.”

Judge said she’s been collecting for more than 15 years.  She was working for a furniture company when she acquired her first piece – paying no money, but arranging to move someone’s household goods.

“I collected works from artists I knew, mostly local, all visual art, no specific medium,” she said.  The public collection was launched in 2014, and in 2015, Judge said, “I decided to focus on a theme – the three E’s – environment, economy and energy.”

Society needs all three of these elements working in harmony, Judge said.  “Finding artists that are putting their spin on these things … is what we’re going to do going forward.” 

 

"Learn all you can about what you’re collecting. "

Richard Middleton

Family heirlooms and a fondness for dogs

Richard Middleton grew up in a family that loved art.  He remembers many paintings on the walls of the home on the farm in Virginia where he grew up.

“Many were sporting paintings, and I really developed an interest in the ones with dogs,” he recalled in a recent interview.

Flash forward and Middleton was grown up, a young attorney, and ready to acquire his first art work.  He came across an 1856 painting of foxhounds by the Scottish artist Samuel Fulton “for a modest sum.”  That was the start of an extensive collection of dog paintings that Middleton hung throughout his house. 

As time went on, however, Middleton’s interests broadened, and he began to branch out in his collecting.  He began purchasing late 19th and early 20th century Southern paintings, some by artists with ties to Savannah.  One of his current favorites is a watercolor by Georgia artist Mary Cabaniss of passengers on a boat to Daufuskie Island.  “I collect whatever I see that’s pleasing to my eye,” Middleton said.

One item in his collection, a portrait of a lady from Baltimore by Thomas Sully, came from an auction of items confiscated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, “which usually just has fast cars and speedboats for sale,” Middleton said.

But his most treasured piece is an inheritance from his great grandmother, a portrait of a Native American woman weaving. It was painted by E.I. Couse, one of the six founding members and first president of the Taos (New Mexico) Society of Artists.

Middleton said he wasn’t sure his children will want to keep all of his dog paintings, but said about the Couse work: “That’s one I would hope would stay in the family.” 

 

Tips from The Collectors

  • Follow your heart and collect what you love.  It’s tough to anticipate swings in the market and predict what prices art work will bring in the future.
  • Look for works by artists who are just getting started.
  • Learn all you can about what you’re collecting. Talk to artists, gallery owners, sellers and other collectors. Take advantage of all the information on the Web.
  • Be skeptical about sellers’ claims.  Don’t hesitate to ask for advice and second opinions. Good sellers guarantee authenticity and allow returns
  • Start with inexpensive items. Better to buy a $10 fake than one for $1,000. Remember that prices are negotiable on many items.

To read this and more, subscribe now or pick up the February/March issue of South Magazine.

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Events Calendar

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Scenes of the South

Chicago Bears After Party at Britania Pub

Members of the 2006 Chicago Bears NFC North Championship team came to the coastal empire on Saturday, May 20th for a fundraiser and promotional event through the The Adrian Peterson Foundation and Wilmington Island Wishes. Players competed in a charity golf tournament at Bacon Park Golf Course during the day, followed by a visit with fans at Britania Pub from 2:30-5:00pm, a gathering open to the public. Former football stars scheduled to attend include recent College Football Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson, the all-time leading rusher in NCAA Division I-A history from Georgia Southern University, former Pro Bowlers Mike Brown and Charles Tillman, former All-Pro Alex Brown and Anthony Adams. Tillman was the 2013 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year. The Adrian Peterson Foundation is a non-profit organization which spotlights speech impediments and stuttering problems. In 2012, Peterson published the book “Don’t Dis My Abilities”. He is an accomplished inspirational and motivational speaker.

SCAD FASHWKND Runway Show 2017

Guests of this past weekends SCAD FASHWKND experienced wonders like the SCAD Savannah Runway Show, a juried celebration of fashion featuring premier SCAD School of Fashion senior and graduate student collections. Attire for this outdoor event was casual chic, and guests were invited to wear springtime ensembles that showcase their own personal style. Following the show, guests had the opportunity to purchase select garments and accessories created by SCAD alumni. This event was presented as part of the inaugural SCAD FASHWKND, the university’s most anticipated sartorial event of the year, held in Atlanta and Savannah.

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The opening reception of Jim Cone's fine art display at 24e in downtown Savannah was held Thursday night. The local artist unveiled more than 100 drawings, paintings, sculptures and mixed media pieces. Cone has been creating art for over 40 years. After a recent bout with cancer, he decided to use his talent to help others. "As you can see, his artistry is amazing. Jim's story is nothing short of miraculous,” 24e owner Ruel Joyner said. You can check out the exhibit until June 25. Proceeds from pieces sold will go to the Curtis and Elizabeth Anderson Cancer Institute at Memorial Health.

Lawyers, Guns & Money 2017

The 5th Annual Lawyers, Guns & Money Sporting Clays Tournament 2017 was presented by Honda, Yamaha, Triumph, Kawasaki, KTM of Savannah. This year's event was be held on Friday, May 12, 2017 at Forest City Gun Club. The 100 target shoot started at 2pm and was followed by an After Party at 6pm featuring live music by Connellis and the Train Wrecks, a BBQ dinner, local craft beer from Southbound Brewery, wine, a silent auction, a gun raffle and a YETI raffle. This year the proceeds will benefit Abilities Unlimited, a local 501(c)(3) charity that provides progressive exercise programs for individuals in Chatham County with varying disabilities (Birth Defects, Cerebral Palsy, Spinal Cord Injuries and Neurological Injuries, etc.).

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On Saturday May 6th, community members came out to help CrimeStoppers fight crime in the community with the Race Against Crime (formerly the Azalea Run)! Runners could choose between the 5K, 10K, and 15K, with all the races starting and ending at Forsyth Park. Proceeds from the event will help fund the rewards that Crime Stoppers uses to pay out for tips that lead to arrests! All the races were dog friendly, and even the pups could get a free matching race bib as part of their "Pooch Patrol".

Big Nasty Mud Run 2017

This year's event marks the 10th Running of the Big Nasty Mud Run, a race with 4.5 miles and 33 obstacles with lots of mud! Runners test their limits on the Ranger Bars, The Wall of Terror, tunnels, tires, mini hills, cargo nets and the Big Nasty Water Slide! Proceeds from the event go to benefit local charities who support veterans and other causes.

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Courtyard Celebration at the Gingerbread House

Among the most elaborate architecture in Savannah is The Gingerbread House - always a "must see" highlight of a guided tour of the Historic District Savannah. The Courtyard Celebration event at the Gingerbread House, that took place on April 25th from 5:30-7pm, was presented by the SavannahHELPS series of monthly charity events that happen every 4th Tuesday at 5:30pm. Guests of the event were asked to bring a $5 donation or pet supplies and food to benefit local charities.