Dealer Spotlight: Meet Helicline Fine Art, a Private Gallery Run by a PR Pro and a Doctor
The successful private art gallery operates out of the couple's home.
Keith Sherman and Roy Goldberg, the two men behind Helicline Fine Art, must be extremely busy. They co-run a private gallery—but that’s not their “day job,” so to speak. Sherman runs a PR company and Goldberg is a physician. The gallery is their passion project, a natural extension of their 30 years of collecting together.
Helicline is operated out of the duo’s home. They have more than 300 works on display at any given time and—not coincidentally—virtually no open wall space. The gallery specializes in American and European art from the 20th century, with a particular focus on social realism, mural studies, industrial landscapes, and Regionalist painting from the 1930s and ‘40s.
artnet spoke with Sherman about why he and his partner came to become collectors, how the gallery evolved into what it is now, and what they have planned for the future.
Tell us about your background in art and what led you here.
We’ve always been collectors. As children, it was baseball cards and comic books. As a teen, my parents asked what sort of souvenir they should bring me from their trip to Europe. A shirt? A hat? No, I wanted a painting. And with that, a lifetime love of art was born.
Roy and I have been passionate art collectors for the 30 years we’ve been together. We now live with more than 300 works, split between two homes and two offices, and there are 20 more paintings stacked on the floor of our home upstate. Our passion knows no bounds. Well, except for one: we have completely run out of wall space! And yet we keep acquiring more artwork.
What is the first artwork that captured your attention?
I have this memory of having a poster of an El Greco masterpiece on my college dorm room wall. One of my first PR jobs was representing Radio City Music Hall, which is filled with Art Deco and Machine Age art. Roy had a Richard Estes poster in college.
What type of art does your gallery focus on?
Helicline Fine Art offers 20th-century American and European Modernist paintings, sculptures, and works on paper. The gallery specializes in American scene, Modernism, social realism, mural studies, industrial landscapes, regionalism, and more.
How did you settle on your specialty, and what makes your gallery unique?
We didn’t settle on our specialty, per se; it found us. When we moved into our first apartment, we both had dark brown furniture left over from college. Without any sense of taste or style, we headed to the Strand Book Store and discovered Art Deco, the Machine Age, industrial design, and the WPA. Going to New York’s leading art and antique shows, along with attending museum exhibitions, helped us refine our eye.
Our gallery is unique in that we have a niche focus. The core of Helicline’s offerings are works from the second quarter of the 20th century. We have older and newer pieces too, but works from the 1930s and ‘40s are our specialty. In fact, the majority of our offerings come from our personal collection—Helicline is, after all, a private company. We offer personal one-on-one service.
How do you select the artists you represent? When does your personal taste play a role in your selection?
We have followed the basic axiom of collection since the beginning: we just buy what we love. We believe that if we love it, others will as well.
Where are most of your buyers from? Which countries?
Our clients come from all over the US, but New York City is the core.
What is the most important thing your gallery can do to gain exposure? Is it attending art fairs? What kind of online presence is important?
We’ve relied on social media, email blasts, and traditional publicity to get the word out. At some point, we plan to participate in art fairs too, but not right away.
What has been your most memorable experience in the art world?
We cherish all our art adventures! Whether it’s unearthing works from children and grandchildren of long-gone artists, or the delight of picking up a phone and seeing a direct message on Instagram from celebrities making offers. Our efforts come from the passion of living and working with art.
What advice can you give to a first-time collector?
New collectors should ask lots of questions before pushing the button. They should have a comfort level about the provenance, reputation of the artist, and know that the price they are paying is fair. Ultimately, it’s about trust and falling in love.
If you could own any artwork, what would it be and why?
If we could own any artwork, it would be the next one on our radar that’s slightly out of reach. There are always several of those at any given moment.
If you were not an art dealer, what would you be doing?
If we weren’t art dealers, I would be a publicist and Roy would be a doctor. And in fact, we are those things, too. We are both hyphenates!
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