Saturday, April 6, 2019

Why Store Art, When You Can Share It? A Collector's Trove

Show Us Your Walls
By Robin Pogrebin
Reginald Van Lee at home with Tyler D. Ballon’s “The Pietà.”
What attracted you to an unknown like Tyler Ballon — his religious-themed scenes of African-Americans? "I was blown away. [Gesturing to a large painting over a sofa] This is “The Pietà.” My role in life is to enhance things. I really like to support young artists." Reginald Van Lee should have bought those Basquiats when he had the chance. Jean-Michel Basquiat, before he was famous, offered two of his paintings to Mr. Van Lee, who declined, having never been a fan. The decision was consistent with Mr. Van Lee’s principles over the 20 years he’s been collecting: buying only art that he loves, never acquiring a piece solely because it is likely to appreciate in value. [More]
“Beau of the Ball” (1926), one of the James Van Der Zee photographs in Mr. Van Lee’s collection.
“Tupelo Honey” (2006), by William T Williams.
Left to right, “Purple Pansy,” “Red Rose” and “Double Dahlia,” all from 2008, by Shinique Smith, at Mr. Van Lee’s apartment overlooking the East River.