Q & A with Serena Harrigin, Co-Founder of Gray’s Auctioneers
Serena Harrigin discusses the Cleveland auctioneer's work.
Name: Serena Harragin
Auction House Name: Gray’s Auctioneers & Appraisers
Auction House Address: 10717 Detroit Ave, Cleveland, OH 44102
Amanda Lampard: What does your auction house specialize in?
Serena Harragin: We were founded by one of the best generalists in the country. Deba Gray’s eye for art and prodigious knowledge infuse all we do here at Gray’s. Just like all the top regional auction houses, we specialize in it all: Fine Art, furniture, Decorative Art, rugs, and jewelry.
AL: Can you tell us about any exciting development plans for your auction house?
SH: We are excited to be growing our gallery and our private sales division. The gallery at Gray’s will be developing new and under-represented talent through our presence on Amazon, in international art fairs, and in a new space we plan to open in Los Angeles next year.
AL: When is your next important sale? Why should we come?
SH: Our auctions are fun! On September 18 we’ll be selling a rare Bian Lu (Chinese) painting on silk, some works by Damien Hirst (British, b.1965), a few pieces by Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 18817–1973), and a monumental, carved walnut, figural fireplace mantle after Valentino Panciera Besarel (Italian, 1829–1902). It’s the mixture that makes it so dynamic.
AL: Are you reaching out clients? Or are they coming to you?
SH: Our consignors are finding us–another result of the Internet–but we are also reaching out to the local community by marketing locally and offering complimentary appraisals during our “What’s It Worth?” Fridays.
AL: Has the Internet dramatically changed the dynamic of your business?
SH: The Internet is our business. We are six years old; we’ve grown throughout the downturn, thanks in large part to the Internet, and our auction hosting partners Live Auctioneers, artnet, Artprice, Artfact, etc. The Internet has revolutionized the industry.
AL: Has the growth of the Chinese art market impacted your business yet?
SH: The interest from Chinese buyers has been very strong, but I am noticing that these days, Chinese buyers are increasingly more cautious.
AL: Do you collect art yourself? If so, tell us about your collection.
SH: I am lucky enough to be married to my own personal curator, Deba Gray. The only piece we regret not buying was a 12” carved skeletal figure we saw in Lamu, Kenya. It was so striking and would have fit right in with our collection.
AL: If you could have dinner with any three artists, living or dead, who would you choose?
SH: We would have great dinner conversations with Romaine Brooks (American, 1874–1970), Gertrude Stein, and Remedios Varo (Spanish, 1908–1963).
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