NEW YORK – Young professionals from the worlds of real estate, finance, fashion and tech gathered at Soho House for a family-style dinner, wine and lively conversation about contemporary art and collecting. The 25 February event was the first of what will be a regular series of such informal gatherings, where specialists will share their expertise about collecting everything from fine art to fine wine. 


EMILY KAPLAN AND ALLAN SCHWARTZMAN DISCUSS COLLECTING CONTEMPORARY ART.

The evening was also an opportunity to introduce Allan Schwartzman, who recently joined Sotheby’s as Chairman, Global Fine Arts. A well-known curator and critic, Schwartzman has for the past fifteen years advised some of the world’s most significant collectors of modern and contemporary art. “Collections evolve out of conversations,” said Schwartzman. “Great art isn’t easy to get to know or understand.”

Schwartzman selected highlights from Sotheby’s upcoming Contemporary Curated auction, and with Emily Kaplan, director of the sale, offered insights into the works and their significance. Among these were a 1969 wedge-shaped sculpture by important but lesser-known Los Angeles Minimalist Peter Alexander – “it looks like it could have come right out of an artist’s studio today,” Schwartzman noted – and Moonlight by Alex Katz, an artist, he said, “whose work I’m not sure how I feel about, which to me means it’s interesting.”


ELI RODRIGUEZ OF SOTHEBY'S WINE POURS POL ROGER CHAMPAGNE.

Also on hand was Eli Rodriguez, who had selected bottles from Sotheby’s Wine Retail to serve with the seasonal menu of roasted beets, grilled salmon with farro and butternut squash risotto. After starting with Pol Roger Champage, Rodriguez poured what he calls “accessible, high quality wines,” including a 2013 Bourgogne Blanc Dominique Lafon (“a great entry-level classic Chardonnay”) followed by two reds, a berry-noted Santenay Beauepaire Pinot Noir and a darker 2005 Bordeaux from Croix de Beaucaillou. “Pitting together two very stylistically different wines is a great way to demystify them,” says Rodriguez.

“Once you know a little bit about something it’s that much more accessible,” said one guest, and Schwartzman himself noted that even experienced collectors will always have questions. “And as you learn, your taste will change,” he added. “What will interest you in five years isn’t what interests you now.”


SOTHEBY'S SUPPER CLUB GUESTS IN THE VINYL ROOM AT SOHO HOUSE.