40 Prominent People | Mikkel & Catherine Saks

Mikkel & Catherine Saks
Owners of Saks Galleries • Denver, CO

Mikkel & Catherine Saks

Distinction: Through an ambitious program of major events, regular shows, and community education, Saks Galleries has elevated the art scene in Denver and Colorado.
When did your gallery open? The well-known Cherry Creek building that houses Saks Galleries was constructed in 1962. But our history began many years before in an antique shop located in downtown Denver called The House of Saks. Lemon Saks, Mikkel’s father, had a vision of bringing fine collectibles to this part of the country. The name of his business emulated the famous international dealer Sir Joseph Duveen, whose gallery was called House of Duveen and whose dealings resulted in the formation of the National Gallery.
What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen in the art world during your career? If you fast-forward to today, Saks Galleries has become a major clearinghouse for important works of art in the Rocky Mountain West. For example, in the last few months we were able to sell an Henri Matisse drawing, a Thomas Hart Benton mural study, and an Andrew Wyeth watercolor, each for over a quarter million dollars. However, we exist not only to broker important 18th-, 19th-, and 20th-century art but also to represent some of the most highly talented mid-career artists from around the country.
How have collectors’ tastes changed over the years? The art market today is more broadly based than ever before in history. This is due to better information technologies such as the Internet, greater global wealth, and a perception that art can be an investment.
What accomplishment are you most proud of? In the past we introduced luminaries such as Quang Ho, Wayne Salge, T.D. Kelsey, and Kim English to our audience. Today we are honored to represent the next generation of stars—Michelle Torrez, Andrea T. Kemp, Barry Eisenach, David Gray, and Jill Soukup.
What prompted you to create the American Art Invitational show? We created the Invitational not only to showcase the best in American representational art but also to provide an educational platform in which collectors might cross their traditional boundaries.
What’s the strangest story or funniest moment that’s happened in your gallery? We’re very careful and thoughtful in choosing the artists we represent. A part of our criteria is representing persons with whom we would enjoy sharing a leisurely lunch. There was one instance in which we severed our relationship with an artist because he was mean to his dog! Not our kind of person! Chances are that a visit to Saks Galleries will include a warm welcome from Matisse, Vinny, and Zoey, our adored French bulldogs.

Featured in “40 Prominent People” in May 2011.