Life’s Work: Charlie Minter, head of Sotheby’s Irish art department
‘Buying art involves an emotional and financial commitment’
Charlie Minter is head of the Irish art department at Sotheby’s, the international auction house with a network of 90 offices in 40 countries, including 29 Molesworth Street in Dublin.
What’s your area of expertise?Royal Hibernian AcademyJapanese SwitzerlandJohn Lavery
The painting, dating from 1912, depicts the artist’s wife, Hazel, Lady Lavery, and stepdaughter Alice, in the Swiss Alps. It had been consigned by the family who had bought it – also at Sotheby’s – in 1996 for £150,000.
What do you do?
What’s your background?Durham University
This is a big year for me: I am getting married in October, once the Irish art sale is over. My fiancée, Alice Bleuzen, is from France, so I’m brushing up my French alongside finding the next great Irish picture.
How did you get into the business?
What advice would you give collectors/ investors?
I would advise attending auctions, visiting galleries, speaking to experts and discovering what you do and don’t like. The more you explore the subject, the more you are likely to gain from it, and there’s really nothing quite like the joy of owning your own piece of art.
The Irish art market is currently at an interesting place. There is a definite sense confidence is returning to the market so I think right now there are opportunities to be had.
Career highlights?Stabile With Mobile Element
What do you personally collect and why?
What would you buy if money were no object?Kinsale
What’s your favourite work of art
? An impossible question
. . . I remember first encountering William Leech’s A Convent Garden, Brittany at the National Gallery of Ireland and being dazzled by it. Plus my fiancée is from Brittany, so I can imagine the figure is her.