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Only In America, Or Maybe Not? By Howard Rehs

May 16, 2013
howard rehs - Only In America

Howard Rehs

Only in America, or Maybe Not? By Howard Rehs – I was recently asked if I would contribute to the Art, Antiques and Luxury Design Blog … so here is my first post: some of my favorite questions and comments we get at shows.  For those of you in the business, I know some of these will make you laugh, and I am sure you have your own favorites.  To be honest, I still laugh when I read them:

Our gallery started participating in art and antique shows more than 25 years ago, and over that time, I have heard some of the most amazing (sometimes humorous and at other times ‘hard to believe’) comments from people visiting our booth.

I am delighted to be contributing to AAD for the first time, and I thought that a few ‘observations from the Show floor’ would make for a nice introduction. Doubtless, many of us have these classic rare and unusual moments/stories from the floor, and I very much look forward to reading your experiences … So, without further ado, here are the 2013, Only in America (or Maybe Not), Howard Rehs, greatest hits from the Show floor so far this year!!!

That painting is worth more than my house!
Uncle Howard says:

Believe me, most dealers know that some of the works they offer for sale are more expensive than most homes; not much we can do about that. And you should be aware that most serious private collections exceed the value of the homes they are in.

I would have to sell my house to buy that painting!
Uncle Howard says:

Well, if comment one is correct, then even if you sold your house you could not afford it!! This is one of those comments that are better left unsaid.

Did you paint all of these paintings?
Uncle Howard Says:

Come on … most of us have wall tags with the names of each artist, along with their birth and/or death dates — stressing DEATH DATES! Please take a few moments to read the tags before asking that question.

These are not old paintings, they look too new!
Uncle Howard says:

If a work of art is properly cared for, it can look as good as the day it left the artist’s easel. And if the paintings you own do not look as good, maybe they have issues that need to be addressed.

I have no more wall space!
Uncle Howard says:

Look, give me a few hours in your home, and I will rearrange your works so that you can hang at least another 20 paintings. If I need even more wall space, I know a carpenter who can quickly cover your windows with 2 x 4s and sheetrock!

I like that painting, but if I bought it a few parts need to be painted out!
Uncle Howard says:

What! Seriously? Look, after you buy a work, you can do whatever you want; but I do not want to know about it.

That is a nice work, but I have a better one at home!
Uncle Howard says:

I highly doubt it … but then again beauty is in the eyes of the beholder (or in this instance, the owner). Thanks for coming, missing you already!

Are you selling the frames or the paintings?
Uncle Howard says:

I know you are all saying … no way someone said that! Well, yes, they did, and it happened at a show in Chicago. To make it even worse, the individual was wearing a press badge and videotaping our works. Now, here is my answer: Yes, we are selling the frames, and as a bonus, you get the painting at no additional charge!

When I win the lottery, I will be back!
Uncle Howard says:

We hear this one at every show, and with the typical lottery odds, it is more than likely that you will not be back. Let me say this … I hope I hit the winning numbers first – then I can go sit in a little hut on a beach in Tahiti and not listen to these comments!!!

I would love to buy something but you just do not have what I am looking for!
Uncle Howard says:

The real question is – do you really have any idea what you are looking for? Probably not … so this is another one better left unsaid.

I’ll know it when it hits me!
Uncle Howard says:

I am not a violent person, but don’t tempt me! I have always wanted to hit someone with a painting just to see if they would buy it.

Do you buy paintings?
Uncle Howard says:

No, we just sell them. Come on, people get with the program. Of course, we buy paintings … otherwise, we would have very little, or nothing, to sell.

I don’t have a house for a frame like that!
Uncle Howard says:

A rarely used, yet ingenious excuse, and one which I did hear at a show in Baltimore recently. Now just in case anyone else wants to try this one, please note: we are always happy to either change a frame, or we can sell you the painting without one!

When I sell my mansion in heaven, I will come back and buy that painting!
Uncle Howard says:

Really? Couldn’t you have just left my booth without saying anything?

What is your best price?
Uncle Howard says:

Look, a dealer’s best price is far more than the work’s current price. I find that most people who ask this question end up just walking out of the booth and never returning. We all know there is usually a little wiggle room in everything, and if you are going to ask for a lower price, be prepared to make a deal. Try not to waste the dealer’s time.

My next article will delve into Things Dealers Do Not Want To See People Do At A Show.

Uncle Howard says:
Have a great week everyone!
All best wishes from NYC.