On the heels of her Houston gallery’s 20th anniversary, Texas’ most sought-after gallerist Laura Rathe offers up five takeaways from the last two decades.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Success rarely happens overnight. Every day we strive to be extraordinary while simultaneously focusing on our long-term goals.
A thread runs through it. When I look at an artist’s work, I can’t have any doubt about it. I have to feel that there’s this connection with me. I don’t want to have to shut an eye and think, ‘Maybe that will work.’ If I don’t feel 100% positive, I don’t pursue a relationship. The outcome of adding artists that you feel are really good is that your collectors can purchase more art from you. I’ve been able to put together entire collections for literally almost everyone I work with.
Know your market. In the beginning it was more traditional, like English landscapes. Then, all-white art. Now, it’s geometric and mixed media. I think it’s very important for someone in my business to keep looking at artists all the time. How do I do it? Being in our clients’ homes, going to art fairs, Instagram, studio visits, going into other galleries—every way possible. Constantly analyze and evolve in order to bring fresh content to your clientele.
Teamwork makes the dream work. When I started it was just me—we went from one to a team of 12. To succeed in the art world, you need a dynamic team that is multitalented and willing to adapt at a moment’s notice.
Give yourself a break. Anytime you own your business, it’s 24/7. Owning a gallery is a lifestyle where the lines often become blurred. Embrace it and be happy, but take time to rejuvenate. I think it’s so important for your soul to have good friends, a good time, a good night’s sleep, and to exercise and eat well.