For gallerist and art adviser Sally Dan-Cuthbert collecting is a lifelong preoccupation. She grew up in a household that was always engaged in art and design. The ceiling of her childhood bedroom was papered with a Marion Hall Best design, while the first artwork her father bought her when she was a teenager (after seeing her emotional response to a woodblock print by Austrian expressionist Maximilian Kurzweil) now hangs in her dressing room. To buy from the heart was a lesson she learned early on.
Her parents would travel abroad for holidays, taking Sally and her sisters with them to faraway places such as Petra and she gathered mementos from that time. Collecting is a habit that now extends to her husband, Chris, and their two sons, Christian and Oliver, both in their early 20s.
Sally met Chris when she was working at Blaxland Gallery and he asked her to buy an artwork for him. “Essentially, he was my first client, and the first piece we bought was a work on paper by Fred Williams from Christie’s,” she says. She went on to work at the auction house before opening her fine arts advisory business in January 1992, marrying Chris later that year, and the pair has been collecting together ever since.
“It was such an exciting time to be advising and collecting in the early 90s,” she says. “There was only a handful of galleries and even fewer advisers. Many artists and dealers from those days are among our closest friends.” It is testament to the power of her personality that she is now a gallerist.
Their sons’ interests (Christian graduated in interior architecture last year and Oliver works in the music industry) are reflected in the art and furniture seen in their bedrooms. Each year, from the time they were six, the boys would choose, with guidance, a new piece for their rooms. For Oliver these included record covers, a David Bowie portrait, and artworks by Lindy Lee, Nell and Fiona Hall, while Christian chose works by artists such as Sydney Ball, John Nixon and Marion Borgelt, and design classics by Jean Prouvé and Ray and Charles Eames).
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