AFAC's Select Shows for Fall

I recently attended a panel discussion including a seasoned collector, a curator, a dealer and a conservator. When the question of connoisseurship came up, they all agreed on the importance of enthusiastic looking. The more you look and discuss what you're seeing the better. One panelist commented that connoisseurship is "a practice", not a state of being. One doesn't simply "have an eye" or not, it all comes down to a commitment to, and passion for looking. Looking...looking...and more looking. In that spirit, and now that we are well into the fall season, when the art world is full swing, here are a few exhibits to take in. Happy looking!

Art League Houston’s Texas Artist of the Year at Rice Gallery 

One of the state’s most celebrated and influential contemporary artists, Trenton Doyle Hancock draws on personal experience, art’s canon, and myriad pop culture references to construct a fantastical narrative that spans his artistic career. This exhibition of Hancock’s work, titled “Texas: 1997-2017”, features more than fifty works in a diverse range of media, including mixed-media, painting, drawing, sculpture and printmaking. His complex amalgamations of characters and plots speak to universal concepts of light and dark, good and evil, and all the grey in between. On view through November 17, 2017. 

Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960–1985 at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles 

This show examines the experimental works produced by a range of female artists during a key period for both Latin American history and contemporary art. More than 260 works, including photography and video, were produced by 116 artists, from emblematic figures, such as Lygia Pape and Ana Mendieta, to the lesser-known, including Cuban-born abstract artist Zilia Sánchez and Colombian sculptor Feliza Bursztyn. On display through December 31. 

 Dalí / Duchamp at The Royal Academy of the Arts, London 

Examining the unlikely friendship between the father of conceptual art, Marcel Duchamp, and larger-than-life Surrealist Salvador Dalí, this original exhibition brings together around 80 works, including some of Dalí’s most inspired and technically accomplished paintings and sculptures and some of Duchamp’s groundbreaking assemblages, along with correspondence and collaborations between the two artists. Closes January 3, 2018. 

 Rodin at The Met, New York 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art celebrates its historic collection of nearly 50 works by Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)—representing more than a century of acquisitions—on the centenary of the artist’s death. Bronzes, plasters, and terracottas by Rodin are on display in the newly refurbished B. Gerald Cantor Sculpture Gallery through January 15, 2018. 

30th Anniversary Exhibit at The Menil Collection, Houston 

In celebration of its 30th anniversary, the Menil is highlighting 30 significant works from its permanent collection, which have been chosen to represent the museum’s origins and evolution. The featured paintings, sculptures, and drawings include Native objects, Byzantine icons, Surrealism, and contemporary art. They are specially labeled and distributed throughout the galleries and the campus which is a wonderful way to revisit the entire collection. The works remain on view through January 28, 2018. 

Julie Mehretu HOWL, eon (I, II) at SFMOMA, San Francisco 

The main staircase of SFMOMA’s soaring Haas, Jr. Atrium is newly flanked with a stunning, site-specific diptych by Julie Mehretu, once a resident of the CORE Program, Glassell School of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The two vast abstract canvases were created as part of SFMOMA’s new art commissioning program. An expansive exploration of the American West, the work deals with the Bay Area’s history of colonialism, capitalism, class conflict, social protest, and technological innovation and how these forces have transformed the social and physical landscape. Ongoing. 





Disaster Preparedness for Art Collectors

Hurricane Harvey exited the Texas Gulf Coast at the end of August, after producing record rainfall, widespread flooding, and other damage that affected more than 50 Texas counties. The storm displaced tens of thousands of residents in the Houston area alone. Whether you’re one of the many now recovering from property damage or someone looking for ways to be better prepared for the next hurricane or extreme rain event, Arnoult Fine Art Consulting offers these tips for protecting works of art before, during, and after such disasters. 

Before a Major Weather Event 

Establish Value:  Have an up-to-date inventory of the artwork you own that includes photos of the individual works and purchase receipts. In addition, it’s ideal to have a professional appraisal (which should be updated every five-to-ten years, depending on the type of work and the artist).  

Know About Your Insurance Coverage:  Discuss your art collection with your insurance agent. Home insurance typically does not cover art collections. 

Seek Shelter:  If you think you are at risk of flooding—and if there is time—move works to a climate-controlled space, such as a storage facility or the home of a friend or family member. 


If You Have to Evacuate 

Move to Higher Ground:  Move artwork to the highest point possible inside the climate-controlled part of the house. 

For Paintings - It’s okay to lay a painting on a flat surface (like a table), face-down on top of a sheet of plastic—or glassine, if possible—to protect the surface. Consider removing canvases from their stretchers if it will make them easier to store or to remove from the house. Remove the entire canvas from the stretcher bars and roll it up, paint side out. Wrap in paper or plastic. 

For Works on Paper - Framed works on paper are best stored upright. Lean the pieces against each other, right-side up, arranged face to face and back to back. 


After an Extreme Wet-Weather Event 

Dry Out:  Try to get artwork away from water and into a climate-controlled area as soon as possible. Big temperature and humidity fluctuations are hard on artwork, especially if they happen repeatedly. For framed works on paper that have gotten wet, find a framer to take them out of their frames to dry as soon as possible.  

Assess Damage:  If any works of art are damaged, find a reputable fine art conservation and restoration professional to evaluate them. Most damage can be repaired.  


And Throughout... 

Remember the Power of Art:  It’s wonderful to be able to enjoy art every day, but the power of art is perhaps even more profound during difficult times. As Picasso said, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” It’s a quote I often think of when art offers solace in the midst of tragedy. And it’s this quality that makes our roles as caretakers of fine art all the more vital.


For more advice about any of these recommendations, contact Elise Arnoult Miller of Arnoult Fine Art Consulting ,, 832.483.5360. 


Sculpture Installation in Austin

It took some doing, but this beautiful Texas limestone sculpture finally settled into its permanent spot overlooking the Colorado River.

Voyage Houston Interview

I'm thrilled to have been selected by Voyage Houston to be featured in their online magazine. Read the complete interview below.

Today we’d like to introduce you to Elise Arnoult Miller.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I’ve always been fascinated with art, and I believe my true talent lies in the ability to connect artists and their work, and those who collect as a kind of “matchmaker”. It’s extremely rewarding to find a great fit between a work of art and collector and to know I had a hand in creating a long-lasting relationship.

After high school I lived in Paris for a year and studied the arts at the Sorbonne. After graduating from U of H in 1996, I worked in auction house, museum and gallery environments until launching my own consultancy in 2010. I wanted the flexibility to offer my clients anything from anywhere and since I’ve been independent, I’ve developed an international network of well-respected artists, galleries, and dealers. I’ve also been appraising art since 2009 and completed my appraiser’s education through NYU. I am an accredited member of the Appraisers Association of America.

My business has been growing quickly over the past few years and I feel so very fortunate to be doing work that I truly love and find so compelling. There is something new to look at every day.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It’s scary to take that leap and start out on your own. The uncertainly can be unsettling, but it was well worth those first rocky couple of years to get where I wanted to go.

Please tell us about Arnoult Fine Art Consulting.
I’m an art consultant/advisor, specializing in modern and contemporary paintings, sculpture and works on paper.

I find relationships with private collectors especially rewarding and I think my clients feel that I provide very individualized and comprehensive services. Each collector is unique as far as vision and aesthetic sensibility. I spend time getting to know the client and their space so that I am able to offer the best possible options of the highest quality within the client’s budget range. I will never compromise on quality. The work must be good and in good condition for me to offer it to a client. I won’t offer an artist whose work is “trendy” without merit.

I’m proud of the fact that I handle each project personally from beginning to end. I want to be sure every detail is executed to the highest standards, from preliminary research on a work to framing and installation.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My favorite memories from childhood have to do with growing up in a house filled with music and fun. Although we had very modest means when I was little, there was always music playing (usually classical or jazz), and there was often an occasion to celebrate. My father is an excellent chef, and my mother had her own ballet studio, so I think the arts were part of my life from the beginning. I’m thankful to my parents for this, and for their encouragement as I pursued a career in art.

Dallas Art Fair and Nasher Sculpture Center

DAF Entrance

It was a gorgeous weekend to visit Dallas!  The Dallas Art Fair is always impressive and this time was no exception.  95 galleries were in attendance, 40 of them international.  Exhibitors must be invited to participate which results in a very well-curated event. 

Here is a sampling of some works that caught my eye :


I also took a bit of time away from the fair to visit the Richard Serra exhibit at the Nasher Sculpture Center featuring his prints and drawings.  The textures of these works are incredible.  They must be seen in person to fully appreciate the subtleties of "black".


For more information on specific artists, please contact me.


The Armory Show: New York

Armory View.JPG

Now in its 23rd year, The Armory Show is a leader in the global art fair circuit, highlighting the most prestigious artists and galleries in the world. With 200 galleries and 65,000 visitors annually, there is much to see.  Here are a few of my favorites from the fair including a Calder and a Frankenthaler.


I also visited the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum which had two outstanding exhibits: Visionaries: Creating a Modern Guggenheim, and the Thannhauser Collection featuring many lovely Picasso works as well as Impressionist masters.  It was exciting to see some early works by the masters of Modernism.


A few of the highlights from my gallery visits in New York were a small Braque with sunflowers as an homage to Van Gogh, a charming Degas drawing, and a stunning, early Man Ray painting.


For more information on specific artists, please contact me.


Studio Visit: Trenton Doyle Hancock


Recently I had the opportunity to visit Trenton Doyle Hancock in his studio.  Seeing his complex works during the creation process was inspiring.  Over the course of two decades, Hancock has built his own universe complete with a creation story, villains, heroes, and a host of recurring characters such as his autobiographical Torpedo Boy (pictured at right), who all find themselves toiling in his colorful and emotional tales of good vs. evil. 

Hancock is an outstanding draftsman as well as a gifted painter, which is evident in his mastery of color, perspective and pattern.  He deftly collages bits of his own discarded canvases into new compositions.  His studio was like a giant adult toy box where his imagination roams free.

In 2014, a seminal exhibition of his drawings traveled from the Contemporary Art Museum, Houston to the Akron Art Museum in Ohio and finally to the Studio Museum in Harlem.  His work is in prestigious museum collections worldwide.  It was an honor to spend some time with him in his studio.

Torpedo Boy is Hancock’s autobiographical character which he first conceived in the fourth grade.

Torpedo Boy is Hancock’s autobiographical character which he first conceived in the fourth grade.

Hancock’s completed work: Coloration Coronation, 2016 Acrylic and mixed media on canvas 90 x 132 inches

Hancock’s completed work: Coloration Coronation, 2016
Acrylic and mixed media on canvas
90 x 132 inches




If you had the opportunity to visit the outstanding Degas exhibition at MFAH earlier this year, you may also enjoy Christopher Benfey’s book, Degas in New Orleans.  Benfey’s book covers a seminal time in the artist’s life not often mentioned in standard biographies.  In the fall of 1872, Degas spent time in New Orleans with his mother’s family, the Mussons (while there, painting the scene from the Cotton Exchange included in the exhibit).  The book describes the influence of New Orleans in general as well as of writers Kate Chopin and George Washington Cable. 1872 found New Orleans in the Reconstruction era, - a time of great change in a city still recovering from the economic, physical, political and social ravages of Civil War. 

Christopher Benfey Book.jpg

"Degas, A New Vision" at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston


I hope you had a chance to see Degas: A New Vision at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.  It was a stunning display of the breadth and span of the artist’s career from the expected paintings to the more seldom exhibited prints and even photographs taken by the artist late in life.  The didactic texts were brilliantly specific and plentiful. 

Over 200 works were assembled from collections around the world; from the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. to Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, and from Museu de Arte de São Paulo to Musée d’Orsay, Paris.  It was truly a comprehensive accumulation of the life’s work of an iconic and ground breaking artist.

If you are interested in learning more about Degas’ landscapes, on the left is a link to MFAH’s director Gary Tinterow giving some background to the works.  On the right, you will find a short video teaser for the exhibition that shows some of the more well known works in the show.