Arts August 14, 2008

SVGA Celebrates 25 Years

Arts Forum marks anniversary

An internationally acclaimed artist, a passionate art collector, and an esteemed art consultant will gather here this summer to help celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Sun Valley Gallery Association (SVGA).

“The Association has come a long way in 25 years,” says Barbi Reed of Anne Reed Gallery. “As an original member of the SVGA, I would never have imagined that the galleries and the art scene in the Wood River Valley would mature to the point where we would be able to attract someone such as world-renowned artist, Françoise Gilot. To have Gilot, along with art collector extraordinaire Steve Wynn, and highly respected art consultant Barbara Guggenheim all wrapped into one wonderful weekend event is truly amazing.”

SVGA hopes the summit in the mountains, scheduled for June 23 to 25, will result in a broadened public appreciation of the visual arts here.

“We decided to create a special event that would be of regional and national interest for our anniversary,” says Gallery DeNovo’s Robin Reiners.

“This is a way to give back to the community and create a reason to come to Sun Valley for those people who might not be aware of the incredible visual art scene this area has to offer.”

“This will be a visual arts event unlike any other,” agrees Kneeland Gallery’s Carey Molter. “Viewing sculpture in the beauty of the outdoors—particularly that of this Valley—is a unique opportunity for anyone who appreciates art.”

From her literary background, Gilot moved on to express herself through painting and other art forms, and since 1951, she has had one-woman shows in prestigious galleries throughout the world.

Gilot met Pablo Picasso during the German occupation of Paris, and for nearly a decade shared her life with him, working as his model and giving birth to two of his children, Paloma and Claude. Their partnership yielded not only exclusive insights into the life and art of this master as noted in her acclaimed biography Life with Picasso, but also led to a unique glimpse into the personalities and art of several of the great artists of the era, including Matisse, Giacometti, Miró, and Chagall. Gilot later married Jonas Salk, developer of the polio vaccine.

“We are truly privileged to have Françoise talk to us about her art and about living and creating during one of the most fruitful periods in art history,” says Frederic Boloix, of Frederic Boloix Fine Arts.

An internationally known collector, Steve Wynn has long supported the arts in the Wood River Valley. Picasso’s “Le Rêve” resides as the centerpiece of the Wynn Las Vegas, and Wynn also owns works by Vermeer, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Warhol, and Matisse, as a result of his passion for art, entrepreneurial skills in real estate, and sought-after hospitality in the desert mecca.

Barbara Guggenheim advises clients on art purchases and sales. Although her client list leans toward the rich and famous, she is no art snob. Her recent book, Decorating on eBay, is a memoir of decorating a home completely from the online swap meet. A partner in Guggenheim, Asher Associates, one of America’s most respected art consulting firms, Guggenheim regularly writes on art for W and Elle magazines.

The diversity of experience among the speakers SVGA selected for this first forum is intentional, says DeNovo’s Reiners.

“Our goal is to provide an exciting arts weekend with speakers and exhibitions that will both inspire and educate,” she says. “The event may someday include all the arts in the Valley—visual arts the first year, performing arts the next, and so on. For now, SVGA will put on the forum every other year.”

Carol Waller, of the Sun Valley/Ketchum Chamber & Visitors Bureau, plans to help promote the event. “We are very excited to have a new arts event in our Valley that supports and promotes the world-class caliber of our many galleries, and showcases our incredibly rich art scene to both loyal patrons and those who may not have discovered it yet.”

This article appears in the Summer 2006 Issue of Sun Valley Magazine.