40 Prominent People | Gerald Peters

Gerald Peters
Owner of Gerald Peters Gallery • Santa Fe, NM

Gerald Peters

Distinction: Peters’ gallery is an institution in western art, dealing in works by artists from Joseph Sharp to Georgia O’Keeffe to Deborah Butterfield.
When did your gallery open? I began selling art in 1972, and our first gallery opened in 1976.
What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen in the art world during your career? One of the biggest changes has been the growth of the Internet. With more information readily available, both on individual artists and pricing, clients are vastly more informed. In addition, a huge change has occurred in the role that major auction houses play in the marketplace. Previously, major auctions were wholesale markets for dealers. Now they have become retail markets and, essentially, market movers. Another significant change has been the evolution of the contemporary museum exhibition as a marketplace. Artists that used to rely solely on their own promotion along with gallery marketing are now gaining further credibility through museum shows, radically changing careers and opportunities for contemporary artists.
What accomplishment are you most proud of? I am most proud of the contributions we have made to the enhancement of scholarship through research programs and by supporting independent scholars. Of no less importance, I am also very proud of the great collections I have helped to build and of my collaborations with many different museums to develop connoisseurship on a variety of artists. In addition, I directly employ 25 individuals in the art field and support numerous others on a part-time basis.
Your gallery specializes in a number of genres—naturalism, contemporary art, Taos founders—which is the strongest area of collecting right now? Masterpieces in any genre are the strongest collection areas currently, and museums continue to supplement their collections with the rarest objects.

Featured in “40 Prominent People” in May 2011.