Jay Rutland turned his passion for contemporary art into an international empire. As the Creative Director of Maddox Gallery, he places a focus on both supporting emerging artists and championing street art, as well as presenting works by leading names.
Here, he shares his favourite artworks, his current wishlist and top tips on creating a notable art collection.
What was the first work you purchased and do you still own it?
A print by Banksy, Flying Copper (Blue), way back in 2004. My older sister’s husband Richard was a prolific collector of Banksy at the time and I would admire his ever-growing collection every time I visited their house. The next thing I knew I was buying one myself and the love affair with art had began. And yes - I still own it.
What was your most recent purchase and why?
Droopy Dog Abstraction, a small print work by George Condo. I am big fan of Condo and have been wanting to add his work to my collection for a while. I have the perfect space in my office at our chalet in Gstaad, so I am very much looking forward to it going up this week. I also just purchased a work called Twins by David Yarrow, showing a mother elephant with two baby elephants. My wife just recently gave birth to our second daughter, so it felt particularly relevant and my wife loves it.
Which works or artists are you hoping to add to your collection in 2021?
Well in 2021 Maddox will be hosting solo exhibitions by Jerkface, The Miaz Brothers, Igor Dobrowolski, The Connor Brothers and Joseph Klibansky so for sure I will be adding further works by each of those artists to my personal collection.
In regards to emerging artists, I'm not much of a planner so it will depend on which new artists I discover this year. As for the more established blue-chip artists, there are a number that I am looking to purchase over the next few months. I am particularly keen to add some Keith Haring and Andy Warhol original works to my collection - not only do I love both of their work, but I also think there is going to be a major move in their markets over the next few years.
Is there a work you regret purchasing?
Good question - there's a much longer list of works that I regret not purchasing! There isn't a work that I regret purchasing per se, but there is one piece - and of course I can't tell you who the artist is as that would just be wrong of me - that I collected quite early on in my journey. It is a beautiful work, but the image is a little odd, so I have never actually hung the work in my home. However, when a museum did a retrospective of the artist’s work, I shipped it to be exhibited and it was one of the star pieces of the show. It's a stunning work but I've just never really found a home for it.
What work do you wish you had bought when you had the chance?
Oh, there is absolutely no doubt about this one. About eight years ago I had the opportunity to purchase a large Girl with Balloon work on Canvas by Banksy. For reasons that I don't even remember now I dithered, and the work was sold to someone else. I've always regretted it because not only has it gone on to become the most iconic and sought after work by the artist, but it has also increased in value tremendously from the price that I could have bought it for.
What advice would you give to a first-time collector?
Buy what you love. It’s the old cliché but so very true. Whilst we always hope that the value of a piece of art will increase over time, the biggest investment is the joy you get from owning the work. For example, I still remember how I felt the first time I saw Stik's work. I found the pure simplicity of it fascinating and not only do I still own the work that I purchased that day, but it also still brings me the same joy.
If a piece of artwork touches you emotionally and you feel like you would regret not buying it, then you shouldn't pass on it. During lockdown, many of my clients called me from home to say they were tired of looking at blank walls and asked for artwork options. I think in these strange times a lot people want something more brightly coloured to brighten their home and in this new era of social distancing, perhaps even an impressive background for a zoom call! It's been very interesting to see how what happens in the world affects the way people desire and view art.
What is the most expensive piece of art you own?
I guess that would be a Warhol Chanel from Ads original that takes pride of place in the bedroom at our home in London.
Is there a particular type of art that you love or tend to gravitate towards?
I have always been fond of artworks that incorporate text. Since the beginning of time, language and art have collided and intersected. And from the modern era onward, artists have employed words and language to diverse effect. Favourites of mine are Harland Miller, The Connor Brothers, Ed Ruscha, Jean Michel-Basquiat, Mel Bochner and Christopher Wool.
Are you a big collector of sculpture?
A big collector? No, but I have started to add sculpture to my collection more in the last couple of years. I have always admired the work of Ugo Rondinone and then more recently I have been purchasing some of Joseph Klibansky's sculptures - the closest thing I have seen to Jeff Koons in terms of quality.
Who would you recommend as the top three blue-chip artists to invest in now?