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Pale Orange, Pale Blue by Wolf Kahn. Oil on canvas at Tayloe Piggott Gallery

By Sabina Dana Plassé

Art collectors adore Jackson Hole for its beauty, inspiration, and for its bona fide art scene. Tayloe Piggott Gallery Associate Manager Carolyn Ripps explains that Tayloe Piggott founded her eponymous gallery 17 years ago with, “a mission to seek out art from some of the most important contemporary artists of our time.” However, art collecting and the business of an art gallery go well beyond recognizable names.

“The gallery is always evolving,” Ripps says. “Specializing in art and fine jewelry, we help tell a story through the artists’ materials and processes, whether it is painting, sculpture, or fine jewels. Piggott focuses on curating her clients’ worlds, seeking out pieces that redefine modern luxury and timeless style.”

Piggott has long understood that the art gallery and the art collecting business is about relationships—relationships with the artists as well as the collectors. Established art advisor Camille Obering, who resides in the Jackson area, agrees. “Camille Obering Fine Art offers guidance to new and seasoned collectors to form, build, and manage their collections,” Obering says. “In addition, we seek unique opportunities to present artistic experiences, which will communicate ideas and introduce interesting perspective on artworks.” To do this, Camille says, “we have to know our artists and our collectors well.”

Primal by Michele Oka Doner. 2007. Relief print from organic material courtesy of Camille Obering

Obering understands that collecting can be intimidating, and she helps new collectors make the leap from feeling alienated or overwhelmed by artworks to feeling invigorated. “I do this by introducing collectors to a wide variety of artists, explain the concepts behind the artwork, and help collectors tap into their intellect and soul to identify which works move them,” Obering says. “Collecting artwork is very personal—no matter your level of experience. For seasoned collectors, I can source special or specific artworks that they are pursuing for their collections.”

However, with an eye and desire to collect art also comes a need to exhibit or preserve art especially if it is a home collection. Professionals such as Tayloe Piggott and Obering offer their clients a full range of services, which include everything from art advising, installing, framing consultations, packing, and shipping artwork.
“Piggott believes fully in the power of art to transform a space, but this undoubtedly encompasses not just the actual piece, but how it’s presented in the space—how it interacts with everything else in a room and how it’s framed and lit,” Ripps says.
Working with nascent collectors at the beginning of an intellectual transformation or seasoned collectors who continue to take great enjoyment from these experiences when they see something superior is a gift of the job says Obering. “It’s thrilling to experience artwork that provokes a visceral and profound reaction. Immersing oneself in collecting and learning about art is a gift that continues to give.”

Taking care of art and exhibiting works is also part of the experience, which has its unusual needs especially in the mountain towns of the West. “Here in Jackson Hole and across the Rocky Mountains, we experience such extremes in temperature, not to mention the overall incredibly dry climate,” Ripps reveals. “Most homes are built with wonderful, large windows to take in the surrounding scenery, however you must also be aware of the impact of sunlight on artwork and textiles. We recommend using only museum-quality, UV protective glass or acrylic in-frames. Also, investing in quality window coverings, draping artwork, or textiles is important if your home sits empty for a long period of time.”

Mountain towns do tend to be arid. Climate control over temperature and humidity will help to conserve artwork—a worthwhile investment when rare and collectible artwork demands considerable investment and insurance. “For outside sculpture, it’s most important to keep the sculpture clear of debris such as snow, leaves, and other elements,” Obering suggests. “With bronzes, it’s often recommended to wax the piece at least once a year. Always discuss with the artist the climate and best practices for maintaining the work.”

Obering and Tayloe Piggott Gallery have networks of local and regional specialists who help with installations including painters, lighting designers, builders, and framers. Obering says that she enjoys consulting with collectors in the construction of a home or remodeling because it’s a special time to complete a vision for the client. “Bringing an art advisor into discussions with the architect and interior designer or decorator will help complete that vision adding dimension to the final result and marrying each component beautifully,” Obering explains.

Involvement with a client’s collection is also a role Obering and Tayloe Piggott Gallery take seriously. Ripps says the gallery will advise on new pieces to add to a collection through a wide connection of art dealers around the world, or the gallery may curate existing art and its placement in a client’s home. Ripps says, “Whether taking a client to explore galleries of major cities or traveling to numerous international art fairs. Piggot is constantly educating herself about the ever-evolving contemporary art world. She is able to create for each client an extensive artistic or interior design plan that extends beyond the present and focuses on a lifetime of collecting.”

Obering also works with special commissions for home collections. “When an artist is asked to create a piece for a specific space, my role is to make sure the vision of the collector and artist are in line so that both parties are happy with the end result,” Obering says. “I manage the process from start to finish, including vision, budget, shipping, insurance, and installation.”

As far as investments go, art can certainly pay off. but in the meantime, it should be about enjoyment. To thoroughy enjoy your investment, working with a gallery professional on selection, care, and installation is a good idea.