How Christine ‘Cricket’ Taplin, the Driving Force Behind The Sagamore Hotel, Found Her Love of the Arts

'Cricket' and her collection are the focus of the latest sale from artnet Auctions.

Spencer Tunick, Miami Beach 4, Sagamore (2007–08).

Today, art-themed hotels are everywhere. But two decades ago, that wasn’t the case. That’s what made The Sagamore Hotel in Miami so special: it was one of the first to take on an artistic identity, showcasing a coveted collection of contemporary painting, sculpture, and especially photography.

artnet Auctions’s newest sale celebrates the history of The Sagamore and one of its intrepid owners, Christine “Cricket” Taplin. Titled “Seen at The Sagamore: Selected Works From the Taplin Collection,” the sale includes prints from some of the biggest names in 20th-century photography, including Helen Levitt, Elliott Erwitt, and Walker Evans. (You can preview and bid on these works here.)

An installation of Elliott Erwitt photographs on view at The Sagamore. Courtesy of The Cricket Taplin Collection.

Cricket is a passionate Miami art collector, curator, and patron to both emerging and established artists around the world. However, she would simply identify herself as a lover of art in a myriad of forms.

Cricket’s love of art blossomed in Miami in the 1980s, alongside her late husband Marty Taplin and his close friend Martin Margulies. Together, they shared lively discussions about art, its acquisition, and how to bring art into the public and private spheres. The trio opened the Margulies Taplin Gallery in Miami in 1988.

The gallery became an apprenticeship for Cricket as she began building her own collection, initially with advice from Margulies and subsequently by following her own instincts.

By the mid-1990s, Cricket was a directing force at the gallery and her collection had grown to include works across all mediums, highlighting photography. The Cricket Taplin Collection found its initial home in her waterfront home in Surfside. Inspired by the idea of sharing art and the ensuing discussions, Cricket began to share her collection with friends and later curated exhibitions. Sharing art was always at the heart of her focus as a collector and curator.

An installation of Lewis Hine photographs on view at The Sagamore. Courtesy of The Cricket Taplin Collection.

Cricket and Marty Taplin reopened the iconic Sagamore Hotel in Miami Beach in 2001 after a major restoration and re-conceptualized it as a boutique art hotel, transforming it into one of Miami’s most successful experiments at the intersection between art and spectator, public and private.

The hotel’s art collection is not a casual amusement; it derives from Miami’s role as a center of the contemporary art world. A new relationship between commerce and art was forged there, and contemporary art has since become part of the capital and currency of the city.

Many of the collection’s works were acquired specifically for the hotel, and certain works were built in. Beyond the hotel function, The Sagamore became a vessel for collecting, assembling, and preserving art, and for curating and exhibiting it as well. In this space, the duality—the tension—between everyday function and the exotic plays out. Marty Taplin sold The Sagamore Hotel in 2016.

In honoring Cricket’s passion of sharing and collaborating around incredible artworks, she now shares her art with you.

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