LEST WE FORGET THE ARTISTS
by Suzanne Hazlett, MBA, CIMA®, CFP®
Art may hold a place on a balance sheet, yet there are also unquantifiable enriching aspects of owning art. Original creations bear evidence of the forming hands, personal ideologies, and the ceremony of processes that collectively contribute to the works’ fabrication.
Lest we forget the makers, in the pages that follow, four artists and their local galleries remind us of the decisive outcome that results when the artistic spirit aligns with the artist’s hand: Rudi Broschofsky, Broschofsky Galleries; Tom Lieber, Friesen Gallery; Julian Voss-Andreae, Frederic Boloix Fine Arts; and Lori McNee, Kneeland Gallery.
Is art a good investment? The simple answer is that it depends on how good you are at investing in it. As Andy Augenblick, President of Emigrant Bank Fine Art Finance, points out, “People tend to think of the overall art market going up or down, but just like individual equities, the price performance of artworks varies considerably from genre to genre and from artist to artist.”
Financial planning specialists serving the ultra-affluent recognize the potential for fine art to represent a significant portion of a collector’s overall wealth. Generally speaking, financial assets and real estate are characterized differently from other possessions such as art. Nonfinancial assets can be complex. Objective acquisition and divestment can be emotionally impaired. They can also require specialized care and storage, be illiquid, and subject to unique tax considerations.
“He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.”
–St. Francis of Assisi
There are collectors who, when acquiring art, view it solely as a commodity—an investment to buy and sell with the singular objective of capital appreciation.
Some people purchase art based on passion, enamored by the artwork. They fall in love with the story of the artist’s vision, the emotion the piece evokes, maybe even something as uncomplicated as the gesture of a brushstroke. When a collector purchases from these perspectives, the rewards are the richest and, ultimately, the best investment.
“The family is one of nature’s masterpieces.”
Rudi Broschofsky hails from a family of art dealers and artists; parents Minette and John established Broschofsky Galleries when Rudi was just five years old. Sister Marina founded her own artful business, Red Door Home + Design, in Hailey. And Rudi’s wife, Cara Shumate, is a freelance graphic designer whose drafting skills aid in the color and layout conception of Broschofsky’s artwork.
Broschofsky credits his dual artistic and analytical aptitudes to his formative years growing up in a remote cabin ten miles outside of Ketchum, where the secluded nature of living on an unpaved road had a significant impact on his creative development. With few neighbors and little traditional entertainment, he and his sister were inspired to manifest their own imaginative amusement. What also resulted was an enormous sense of self-dependence at a young age, which nurtured his entrepreneurial aspirations.
Thriving in an artistic setting has come naturally to this artist, having always been surrounded by visual and intellectual influences. Still, art and its making have been more than a romantic notion. In his adolescence, Broschofsky worked as an art framer and then went on to create an art installation business before ultimately becoming a business partner in the family’s eponymous gallery.
“I was well into the gallery business before I began pursuing painting as more than just a hobby, which helped develop my genre and style.”
–Rudi Broschofsky, Artist
“I was well into the gallery business before I began pursuing painting as more than just a hobby, which helped develop my genre and style,” says Broschofsky. In creating his art, he uses intricate overlays, spray paint, and resin to infuse his view of modernity into classical western themes. A fresh perspective comes to life by combining graffiti artist spray paint-style and the exactitude of surgically crafted stencils. His unique and recognizable style has been informed by a strong passion for street art, contemporary art, and western subject matter. The result is a body of work that bridges the gaps and mixes all three.
Rudi Broschofsky personifies the truism that logic and creativity are not at odds with each other. Resolving complex business challenges requires inspired creativity, while his many vibrant works of art employ labyrinthine, logical frameworks. Today, as an artist and gallery director, he leads the gallery’s continually evolving aesthetic, focusing on elements of the West viewed through a modern lens.
“The most seductive thing about art is the personality of the artist himself.”
“The point of my paintings is to project this ‘V’ shape, which is a symbol to me of a powerful shape. This originated from my work with the human figure and the lower torso shape, and it’s an honoring of the female and the power of the human center,” says Tom Lieber.
Lieber often begins his pieces with a single splattering of paint across the canvas. “It’s freeing to start with a spontaneous, organic line,” he says. He follows this line, building up and around it, sensing its gesture and inherent dynamic, feeding off its energy and moving it forward. Lieber then steps back and begins to take away anything external to the original gesture. The process of erasure, of eliminating anything nonessential, creates the space from which his compositions arise. As a result, the bodies in his works often seem to be pulsating in space, ephemeral conglomerations that may soon morph or disappear again. It’s as if his particular way of painting—adding elements and then erasing them, adding more and erasing more—still echo through the finished works.
The paintings are neither representations nor abstractions of nature alone. Instead, they are visual renderings of how Lieber is affected by nature; they show his states of mind and heart as natural forces influence them. In an interview about his Kauai island life, Lieber said, “The lines in my paintings are reflections of my walks and the way things grow here.”
“The point of my paintings is to project this ‘V’ shape, which is a symbol to me of a powerful shape.”
–Tom Lieber, Artist
Friesen Gallery maintains the most extended, established Lieber representation worldwide. Andria Friesen explains, “We’ve had collectors contact us as many as 20 or 30 years after living with a Lieber painting to say, ‘How bizarre, the painting has changed!’ Of course, we know it is the collectors who have grown and changed, now seeing intricate airscapes or brushstrokes that previously didn’t resonate or went unnoticed. I also enjoy commenting on posture. It’s exciting to visually witness breath and posture change within a person beholding a Lieber. This statement may appear odd, but it is repeatedly true.”
Tom Lieber’s work has been shown and celebrated internationally and comprises such permanent collections as the Guggenheim Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles; and the Tate Gallery in London.
Frederic Boloix Fine Arts
“Art is standing with one hand extended into the universe and one hand extended into the world, and letting ourselves be a conduit for passing energy.”
The left brain/right brain theory holds that one side of our brain is dominant. If an individual is primarily diagnostic and methodical, they’re said to be left-brained. Someone more creative or artistic is thought to be right-brained. Julian Voss-Andreae defies this long-held neuromyth.
Widely known for his striking, large-scale works, which blend figurative sculpture with scientific insights, Voss-Andreae studied quantum physics and philosophy before launching his art career. After completing his degree in physics, he altered his academic trajectory and obtained a degree in art. “Only as an artist am I able to do something that feels significant to me,” says Voss-Andreae.
Most recently, the limelight has found Voss-Andreae and two of his notable works. In 2020, the artist was awarded the internationally acclaimed CODA award in the Residential category. The celebrated piece Annabelle is a female figure in a classic seated pose. Made up of vertically oriented, thin stainless steel sheets, the sculpture seems to consist of solid metal when seen from the side but virtually disappears when viewed frontally.
“In a real sense, all life is interrelated. All men are caught in an in escapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be…this is the interrelated structure of reality.”
–Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Our Single Garment of Destiny is a public sculpture unveiled in Columbus, Ohio, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, January 18, 2021. The work was inspired by King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” The sculpture was conceived in collaboration with Voss-Andreae’s wife, Adriana, whose background lies in medicine, neuroscience, and climate activism.
A critical aspect of the work is its depiction of a group of actual individuals. “Very much like a Bose-Einstein condensate in physics, where individual atoms at a specific temperature lose their unique features and grow into one coherent unit, the individual people become a cohesive group with a single focus; to me, this symbolizes the ancient insight that even though we usually experience ourselves as individual actors, our apparent individuality ultimately grows out of a fundamental oneness,” explains Voss-Andreae.
“I was raised in a family of freethinking entrepreneurs who believe in the American Dream. My great, great-grandfather McNee was a real 1849er. I grew up with that same pioneering spirit.”
–Lori McNee, Artist
Inspired by nature, Lori McNee’s paintings reflect her love of the great outdoors and all its creatures. A native of Southern California raised in the Southwest, McNee cultivated an interest in art and wildlife during her childhood. She began her professional painting career as a wildlife artist, initially creating illustrations for Ducks Unlimited, The Nature Conservancy, and Wolfe Education Research Center.
“I was raised in a family of freethinking entrepreneurs who believe in the American Dream. My great, great-grandfather McNee was a real 1849er. I grew up with that same pioneering spirit,” says McNee.
An innovative entrepreneur ahead of her time, McNee forged original paths on social media before those marketing avenues became commonplace for artists. Once she discovered Twitter, she became an early adopter of it and most other new media platforms.
She quickly learned how to harness the power of an online presence and shared her knowledge with other artists. In short order, she became a branding expert and one of the world’s most influential e-commerce-driven artists.
More than 20 years ago, still life and plein air painting captured McNee’s imagination. Today, you may well find the artist in situ as she translates her natural surroundings into a broad spectrum of artwork that includes poetic landscapes and animal life within layers of encaustic wax and oils.
Carey Molter, Gallery Director of Kneeland Gallery, where McNee is locally represented, shares, “I would say that we have always had a mature audience here—collectors who have lived or visited the Valley for many years. We have maintained that client base, but as a younger demographic has started to move here, we have also been fortunate to attract them. A subtle shift toward a few more contemporary artists alongside our more traditional ones has kept us on the radar of both groups. Lori McNee’s paintings continue to be popular among our collectors because they bridge the gap between these two genres.”
“A picture is a poem without words.”
With the global pandemic moving farther into our rearview, McNee has turned her primary attention back to creating art. She’s painting on a grander scale, finding the larger format to be liberating with the increased allowance of room to experiment with new materials, techniques, and broader gestures.
With the promise of increased health confidence ahead, Lori McNee can envision expanding her lines of sight to art-related adventures next year in South Africa and Greece.
Fine art may be the most challenging of commodities to value given its inherent subjectivity. Are we enamored by it? Does it challenge our perspectives? Will its ownership provide status? Most certainly art, and its marketability as an asset wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the knowledge, skill, and compelling motivation of the artist to bring it to fruition.
“Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art.”
–Leonardo da Vinci
Suzanne Hazlett, MBA, CIMA®, CFP®, is a Certified Investment Management Analyst® and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM professional. Nonfinancial assets, such as fine art, are complex and involve risks, including total loss of value. Special risk considerations include natural events, complex tax considerations, and lack of liquidity. Nonfinancial assets are not in the best interest of all investors. HAZLETT WEALTH MANAGEMENT, LLC is independent of Raymond James and is not a registered broker/dealer. Investment advisory services are offered through Raymond James Financial Services Advisors, Inc. Securities offered through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. 675 Sun Valley Road, Suite J1 + J2, Ketchum, Idaho, 83340 208.726.0605 HazlettWealthManagement.com.