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, with 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 can be daunting 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 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.
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".
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.
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.
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.
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.