Conversation Piece | September 1997

cliff phelps, southwest art.
Cliff Phelps

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.

gerald peters, southwest art.
Gerald Peters

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.

nedra matteucci, southwest art.
Nedra Matteucci

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