What I Buy and Why: Monaco-Based Collector Emilie Pastor on Buying Her First NFT, and the Work That Was (Luckily) Destroyed in Transit
The collector, who comes from an art-collecting family, tells us what she is looking at now and how she engages her children in art.
In their 20s, most people are adorning their walls with movie posters. Not Emilie Pastor. The collector, now in her 30s, began buying art over a decade ago and has since built up formidable holdings ranging from work by contemporary-art pioneers (Francis Picabia, Josef Albers, Barbara Kruger, Lee Ufan) to masters of the future (like Martine Syms and Mohamed Bourouissa).
Based in Monaco, she grew up in a collecting family (her father is the late real-estate magnate Michel Pastor). Now, she collects with her own two sons in mind. Pastor also serves as vice president of the committee for contemporary creation at the Musee d’Art Moderne in Paris and co-founder of Concrete Projects, which offers artists financial and technical support for complex projects.
Read on to find out what she’s looking at now—and the one work she’s happy got away.
What was your first purchase (and how much did you pay for it)?
I made my first purchase 10 years ago—a Philippe Parreno screenprint in phosphorescent ink. At first, it appears to be a lurid green piece of paper, but when the lights are off, you can see two glow-in-the-dark rabbits.
I started collecting very young and bought inexpensive things. I was always attracted to playful artworks and I still am today.
What was your most recent purchase?
A work by Alvaro Barrington. It will arrive next week and I cannot wait to hang it. I’m a little worried about the installation as it’s concrete and heavy!
I also recently purchased a painting by Lewis Hammond, a young British artist. I have been following his career for a few years now. His works portray extreme states of mind, which is something I think we have all experienced during the pandemic. His works are surreal and dark but also very human.
Finally, a Lawrence Weiner text sculpture. My collection is defined by artworks by significant 20th century artists and in my opinion Weiner’s text works changed the use of language in art.
I understand the world through art, so I like to buy art that truly reflects the times we are living in. For me, art is a way to engage with cultures and life experiences beyond our own realities.
Which works or artists are you hoping to add to your collection this year?
I have to love what I buy as I live day-to-day with my collection, so my purchases are always very carefully considered.
I am hoping to add a piece by Georgia O’Keeffe to my collection this year. I am deeply inspired by this woman who is often called the Mother of American Modernism. More than anything, I relate to her choice to live alone in the desert. I enjoy my solitude and appreciate her need to escape into the wild!
I also want to add a Florian Krewer to my collection—a young German painter I am obsessed with.
Another obsession is Julie Mehretu…
What is the most expensive art work you own?
Drawings by my twin sons… I am running an 18-year-long artist residency program!
Where do you buy art most frequently?
I almost always buy from galleries, as for me it’s crucial that artists get their cut of a sale.
Is there an artwork you regret purchasing?
Yes, but it was accidentally/serendipitously destroyed by a shipper. It was meant to be—this artwork was not for me!
What work do you have hanging above your sofa? What about in your bathroom?
Hanging above the sofas I have a Kenneth Noland diamond painting, a John Baldessari painting, a Francis Picabia landscape, a Ron Nagle ceramic and a Jason Rhodes sculpture.
Hanging in the bathroom: towels.
What is the most impractical work of art you own?
I seem to have a habit of buying impractical works…
I hung a Mohamed Bourouissa work made from car parts and metal sheets in my living room. I am a little worried that it could decapitate my children one day.
I have a marble surfboard by Reena Spaulings that’s definitely impractical for surfing.
And of course, an NFT…
What work do you wish you had bought when you had the chance?
A Henry Taylor painting of someone stretching. I know that they are very hard to get hold of now (and expensive)!
If you could steal one work of art without getting caught, what would it be?
There is a white Robert Ryman work that I saw many years ago. I often see it in my dreams.
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