Magnificent Obsession | Tim Newton

Tim Newton

Long Island, NY


What kind of artwork do you collect? Paintings, sculptures, and drawings. Early on I was interested in fine artists who do maritime work. Now I am broader in my collecting and have paintings such as western landscapes by Clyde Aspevig, wildlife works by Jim Morgan, still lifes by William Acheff, and maritime paintings by Christopher Blossom and Donald Demers.

Tim Newton by Richard Schmid

How would you describe your approach to collecting? I am very careful and deliberate. But that was not always the case. In the early days, I was so excited about what art could bring to my life that I just raced from gallery to gallery. As I have matured, I buy more carefully. I am more knowledgeable about who the best artists are. Plus, most of my wall space is now occupied.

How many pieces have you acquired over the years? More than 200 paintings and sculptures.

How long have you been collecting? Twenty years.

How did you get started? In 1997 I went to the Western Visions show at the National Museum of Wildlife Art for the first time. I realized I could buy great paintings by great artists at an affordable price for a person like me of modest means. The next year, I put my name in the box, and it got drawn. I purchased Clyde Aspevig’s GOATS IN NORWAY, which won the Red Smith Award that year. It started a pattern of art buying and my luck of the draw. My name or my wife Cathi’s name has been drawn 18 times at shows.

What was the first piece you purchased? My first piece of original art was a working sketch by Gary Carter that I purchased in 1991 for $600.

What’s your most recent acquisition? The most amazing thing in my life happened this afternoon. I ordered a copy of a used book, The Salmagundi Club, from an online bookseller for $20. I wanted the book because it’s about the history of the club, and I’m chairman of the board of directors and curator of the annual American Masters show held at the club. The book was published in 1918, and I knew there were only about 500 copies of the book ever printed. When I turned the pages, I discovered 11 original paintings bound into the book. The book is priceless. There are watercolors and a pen-and-ink drawing by great masters. There’s a fabulous nude by Warren Davis and pieces by Hobart Nichols and Chauncey Ryder. It is worth thousands of dollars, and I have acquired it by utter accident.