Picasso, Pissarro, Chagall, Cassatt, and this month, Dali! These highly regarded personalities in the art world have all graced the walls of Austin’s Russell Collection Fine Art Gallery.
This month’s event, Salvador Dali: The Argillet Collection, will attract seasoned art lovers and introduce many curious Austinites to a wonderful collaboration between Lisa Russell, owner of Russell Collection, and Christine Argillet, owner of Salvador Dali: The Argillet Collection.
Austin’s Welcoming Fine Art Gallery
When I walked into Russell Collection Fine Art Gallery, I noticed a familiar figure in the front window. It was Charles Umaluf’s sculpture Icarus, albeit a smaller version than the one displayed at Umlauf Sculpture Gardens. Russell told me her gallery represents the Umlauf family, along with other notable Austin artists like Robin Cheers, Ray Donley and Maxine Price. That’s only the beginning of what Russell Collection provides for Austin art enthusiasts.
Russell started her business 14 years ago as a masters collection, featuring the works of recognizable greats like Picasso, Renoir and Matisse. Since Austin has become more modernly-styled in the past decade, Russell noticed that collectors wanted to add contemporary artists to their homes, as well. Today, Russell Collection is a hot spot for old and new museum-quality art, as well as a custom-framing department.
Gallery exhibits are open for visitors of all ages to take a look, discuss the work and become inspired by the variety of art on the walls. Even as an art dealer, Russell has experienced the coldness of some galleries in large cities. To ensure there is no hesitation to visit Russell Collection by Austinites and out of town guests, she has arranged her West 6th Street gallery to provide approachable and welcoming customer service.
While curating a show, Russell considers how the pieces visually complement each other, while showing off different techniques and mediums. When the gallery isn’t hosting a show, their semi-permanent masters and contemporaries collections are displayed. Changes take place at least once a month in this large space, so visitors should check back throughout the year.
All of the artwork is available for purchase. Buyers include young couples choosing their first piece and older patrons finishing out an extensive collection. Each customer brings unpredictable desires, so lengthy communication is needed to find the perfect match. I asked Russell if she has a hard time letting some pieces leave the gallery, and she admitted she was sad to see one particular piece from Picasso’s Blue Period depart from the collection.
Russell grew up in Los Angeles, surrounded by art. Her grandmother was a watercolorist; her mother was an interior designer and–like Christine Argillet–her father was a collector. Russell and Argillet met through another art dealer, and they both expressed to me that they’ve enjoyed working together throughout the years. Perhaps this is why the Austin showing of The Argillet Collection seems especially exciting.
Salvador Dali: The Argillet Collection
Christine Argillet spent many of her childhood and teenaged summers around the eccentric Surrealist artist, Salvador Dali. Her father, Pierre Argillet, was Dali’s publisher and friend. Pierre Argillet would have Dali complete works on copper plates, and would then sell a limited number of prints from the plates. Eventually, Pierre Argillet had accumulated over 200 pieces of Dali’s work in his own collection.
Spending formative years around artists gave Christine Argillet a sense of freedom and the knowledge that each person processes every aspect of life differently. It wasn’t strange for eight-year-old Christine to see Dali retrieve a dead octopus from the shoreline, bathe it in acid and then place it on a copper plate in order to create a base for an etching of Medusa. She enjoyed watching his odd experimentations in art, and he was friendly and humorous towards her.
After Pierre Argillet passed away in 2001, his family discussed what to do with his Dali collection. They kept pieces for themselves, donated to museums and decided to travel the rest of the works to galleries. This would allow a large audience to obtain pieces for their own collections.
This marks the fourth time part of the collection has been shown, and it will most likely be one of the last. This particular show at Russell Collection is special because it shows off incredibly rare works that have not been seen before. Two of Christine Argillet’s favorite pieces are a study of Dali’s wife, Gala, and a large watercolor of Narcissus that has a Renaissance influence, while remaining very Daliesque. Additionally, two handwoven tapestries created in France in the 1970s under the direction of Dali will also be shown for the first time. These large works will surprise and fascinate Dali devotees.
Plan Your Next Visit
Russell Collection Fine Art Gallery is located at 1137 West 6th Street. Salvador Dali: The Argillet Collection will be on display from Nov. 3-28. Christine Argillet will make a personal appearance at a reception on Saturday, Nov. 7 from 6-9 p.m. The event is free, but please RSVP by calling (512) 478-4440 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information can be found on their website and Facebook page. Remember to check back at Russell Collection as many times as you like throughout the year, since they are always shifting around their showroom to display incredible artwork for purchase and inspiration.
@MadameKLM wants to know:
If you could own one piece from a famous artist, what would it be?
We always have unique content on the Austinot, and we love to give things away. You know, like CDs, event tickets and other cool stuff. We only send out our Best of the Austinot newsletter two times/month. It’s where we give you a recap of our best articles and give stuff away. Interested? Subscribe to Best of the Austinot here!