Magnificent Obsession | Howard and Penny Chambers

Howard and Penny Chambers

Arvada, CO


What kind of artwork do you collect? Now it’s pretty much contemporary western. Once in awhile I collect art by deceased artists. I used to collect contemporary Russian art, but that was a long time ago. I collect works by Martin Grelle, Gerald Balciar, and William Acheff. I am really good friends with all those people.

Howard and Penny Chambers

How would you describe your approach to collecting? Opportunistic. I have to be opportunistic because I don’t have all the money in the world. I look for people who will work with me, like Saks Galleries and Claggett/Rey Gallery—I pay over time. I also deal with artists directly, like Gerry Balciar. I landscaped his new home, and he will be doing a marble buffalo sculpture for me. I know what I want and like, but I can’t always afford it.

How many pieces have you acquired over the years? I probably have more than 250 pieces—sculptures and paintings. I also collect Native American objects. I have paintings by William Acheff that have my own objects portrayed in them.

How long have you been collecting? 25 years.

How did you get started? Initially I got started with a Bev Doolittle print. Then, when I went to Santa Fe, I started to buy small paintings. I was just getting my feet wet then.

What was the first piece you purchased? My first major piece was a large Oleg Stavrowsky oil painting. I traded landscaping services with a Denver gallery owner in return for the painting.

What’s your most recent acquisition? A William Acheff still life.

What’s on your wish list for the future? I would love to have paintings by Christopher Blossom, Dan Smith, and Kyle Polzin.

What piece do visitors comment on the most? I’d have to say my large Martin Grelle gets the most comments. It was a featured piece at the Cowboy Artists of America show five or six years ago. It’s a winter scene with four Indians. You can see their breath and their horses’ breath. The Indians haven’t done well in pursuit of meat, and they are hungry. They are eating from a bag of dried meat.

Is there a piece that got away? A few. One was a Ray Swanson piece I wanted one year at the Prix de West show. But I can’t complain. I’ve been blessed.

Where do you purchase art? From artists and, in the old days, at auctions. Also at Saks Galleries, Claggett/Rey Gallery, Legacy Gallery, and Trailside Galleries.

(Photo credit by Marc Piscotty)