In 2005, Michèle Mariaud founded her namesake gallery, to “make art more and more present in our lives” and facilitate the first step towards buying a piece of art. Indeed after a successful career in marketing, she identified that art was too often reserved to an elite and that some valuable artists did not get the representation they deserved. So she decided to change that! 15 years later, the gallery represents more than 20 international artists working in various media who share the mastery of their original technique and inventiveness.
The Michèle Mariaud gallery based in New York City, offers a unique intimate atmosphere and you can be sure to be warmly welcomed by its owner and her cute King Charles Spaniel. You can also meet her during some art fairs, the next one being Scope Miami early December. Thanks Michele for opening the doors of your gallery to us.
How did you come to found your gallery in the heart of New York, the capital of the art world?
In 2003, I wanted to quit marketing for consumer goods. But I still loved marketing because basically I love people, I like to understand and analyze our behaviors and I like to help people feel better and realize their dreams!
At that time in 2002-2003, I discovered myself, thanks to my new husband, the pleasure of living with works of art, the conversations that they provoke, exchanges with friends and family, etc. … At the same time I discovered that art, or rather art galleries, were reserved for an elite of rich people, often educated or at least initiated or informed in the art market, often wishing to invest in purchasing art. I was sorry that the pleasure of living with a work of art, of discovering an artist, his know-how, his technique and the values that motivate him and the impact that he may have in our lives, was not at the center of the process of buying a work of art. In parallel, I discovered very good artists who were not represented in the big galleries. Moreover, the average price of a work of art was often beyond the means of most people even if they had a well-paid job! From my point of view all this made no sense and I soon wanted to open a gallery for all the others, i.e. the majority of people in New York. I was going to try to change the rules to attract new people and initiate first purchases. My first gallery was called Art at Home Living with Art. I did the first group show with my friends, clients and artists, where I lived amid the toys of my daughter who was 3 years old.
Some galleries are ephemeral. What do you think has been the key to the success of your gallery and allows it to continue?
I do this job because it gives me pleasure, but I try above all to help my clients and my artists to realize their dreams. Constantly I adapt, to offer works of art, multitudes of services, really different exhibitions, unexpected partnerships that will meet the needs and expectations of my clients and my artists. I do this job to make art more and more present in our lives. I think that artistic creation opens opportunities in our lives and that thanks to art, we can improve the quality and density of people’s lives, we can circulate emotions and speeches that are sometimes difficult, safely, to stimulate exchanges and to grow.
How do you select the artists you represent? Talk to us a little about them.
I am extremely difficult in the choice of my artists. Each artist meets criteria that we have identified from our 15 years of experience in art. At the same time, there is a lot of fun in selecting artists. I love the hunt; I like it to be a challenge! I have great pleasure in finding a rare, never seen, surprising work. I like when the artist transcends matter to elevate it to the level of emotions or concept. So our artists are usually confirmed artists. But I also love discovering young people who have something powerful and very personal to express. I also like to present different media. In my gallery there is photo, painting, sculpture and an illustrator. They cohabit well together, even if they are from all over the world and are between 25 to 65 years. We also do many commissions even long distance, with Pascal Pierme and Stepanka Horalkova for wood and porcelain sculpture or Albert Delamour for photography, for clients who have different needs or for very large rooms.
What if you want to buy a work in your gallery and do not live in New York?
Interested parties can simply contact us by phone or email to get all pricing, installation information, photos or additional videos to fully appreciate the work. Part of our inventory is also present on Artsy, 1stdibs , Artspace and soon on Artmoney and Artsper in Europe. The majority of works are physically present in the New York gallery. We have a huge inventory. We take care of the packaging of the works and the routing and we deliver regularly to the USA and all over the world.
Do you have an anecdote to share? One of your favorite achievements?
I have plenty of them! When I discovered the work of Joel Kuntz by chance in a photo lab, he was not yet an artist in his own eyes. He had made his 2 robots from New York for his son who was far from him and with whom he wanted to connect. I made contact through the lab with Joel and I presented his work at an international fair where I went a few weeks later and that was it! 16 prints sold, a huge commission arrived 2 months later. His life was changed and so was ours. I love his robots and the way he makes us appreciate the architecture of big cities.
What would be your dream project?
I like to work abroad and have collaborations with other countries so I hope to have more and more opportunities to exchange around art. Therefore, it is important for me to bring the creation / creators closer to people. I have plans for that. My gallery is a very open place and conducive to experiments in this field.
What are your plans for the months or the year to come?
Constantly adapting to the needs of my clients and artists, the world is changing so fast or at least technology makes us believe it! How to make evolve the art gallery model, or define the role of a gallery in 10-15 years or what will be the needs of my artists and my clients? That’s what keeps me busy. But let’s say that in the short term, we will offer a concert of piano & painting on November 29 at the gallery. I invite people to attend the creation of a painting during a musical improvisation. In December, we will introduce our artists to Scope during Basel Miami. And we have an exhibit program for the year 2018. But every day at the gallery, you can see more than 20 exhibited artists and dozens of works and it makes me very happy to welcome my visitors myself.