Ever wonder what art dealers have on their walls at home? We asked three Santa Fe gallery owners Gerald Peters, Nedra Matteucci, and Cliff Phelps about their collections.
SWA: What was the first piece of art you bought, and do you still have it?
Gerald Peters: When I was in college, I purchased an Italian boat scene by Edgar Payne from an antiques dealer for $550—a stretch for me at the time. Years later I traded it to a friend for another painting.
Nedra Matteucci: About 25 years ago, my husband and I bought a lithograph by Chreist Janier from a gallery in Albuquerque. We were so inexperienced that we had to ask if it came framed! We no longer own it.
Cliff Phelps: My first purchase was a Frank Howell lithograph called Red Feathers Dancing. I knew the artist, and I was attracted to the imagery. It’s still hanging in my den.
SWA: What’s hanging over your sofa?
Peters: Paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe, Rebecca Salsbury James, and John Marin.
Matteucci: A Russian scene by Leon Gaspard. That and a painting of an Indian girl holding a kachina by Nicolai Fechin are my favorite artworks in my collection.
Phelps: An oil pastel by Miguel Martinez of a reclining lady with her eyes closed. I was attracted to it because it is unusual: In most of his paintings, the eyes are prominent.
SWA: If money were no object, what artwork would you buy?
Peters: French paintings by such artists as Monet and Pissarro from 1868-80 and Picassos from 1916-20.
Matteucci: I’d buy a Degas bronze of a ballerina for my husband, who’s a fan of both Degas and the ballet.
Phelps: That’s a tough question—definitely an Old Master painting, probably something representational.
SWA: What are people missing out on if they don’t collect art?
Peters: Love, passion, life. Art gives great pleasure; I’m in the art world because I love art.
Matteucci: The excitement of discovery. My husband and I enjoy searching for art together—it’s a bonding experience for us.
Phelps: Collecting art enhances your living space and environment, and it brings you joy. It’s nice to be surrounded by the creativity artists bring to their work.
Featured in September 1997