BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors

Gordon Elliott

The Elliott Eyes Collection - Sydney, Australia

Michael Eyes and Gordon Elliott holding portraits by Juan Ford and Euan Macleod, with works by Terry Stringer (left) and Euan Macleod (back). Image: Christopher Pearce
Michael Eyes and Gordon Elliott holding portraits by Juan Ford and Euan Macleod, with works by Terry Stringer (left) and Euan Macleod (back). Image: Christopher Pearce

How important is having the title of “collector” to you?

I think the title of “collector” gives a feeling of achievement. It also allows others to see you in a different light. Galleries tend to see you as a continuing client which also has its benefits at times. By being known as a collector you are sometimes offered works that you would not have been able to access if not being a collector.

Does your collection follow a specific theme or particular artists?

Our collection is predominately a figurative collection. Paintings and sculptures generally reflect this interest. There are other works within the collection that veer from this and as the collection evolves then other themes may take greater importance.

Terry Stringer, ’A matter of perspective’, 2014. Image: Christopher Pearce
Terry Stringer, ’A matter of perspective’, 2014. Image: Christopher Pearce
Bathroom (installation view) with works by Noel McKenna, Anne Ross and Peter Churcher (reflected in mirror). Image: Christopher Pearce
Bathroom (installation view) with works by Noel McKenna, Anne Ross and Peter Churcher (reflected in mirror). Image: Christopher Pearce

Do you have a personal relationship with the artists you collect?

Where possible it is always great to meet the artists and have them come and see their works within our collection. It is good to get insight into their art practice and technique. I try and visit their studios to see where the works are created, which also establishes a stronger relationship between us as collectors and the artist as the creator of the work. They can also tell you stories about the works you own, which otherwise you would never know.

By having a relationship with the artist it has also lead to an “artist swap” – one of their works for a work from our collection. This is unique in so many ways. The artist felt they got a work from the collection of someone that supports them and their work and for us it was that feeling that the artist saw us as an equal.

Is there an artwork that you love but can’t live with due to size, medium, or value?

Antony Gormley is one of my favourite artists and I have a large collection of his “BOOKS” as they are the only thing I can afford. I also have an editioned work which is a brass, laser cut, postcard-sized work. I would love one of his figurative sculptures, but the price is well out of my budget. When I travel I will research if he has a work near by and I will make the effort to go and visit it and take some photos for my files. At least it is better see them even if I cannot afford them.

In your opinion, what mistakes do young collectors commonly make? And what mistakes did you make when first starting on your collecting journey?

If I had my time again and knew what I know now I would have started thinking as a collector earlier. Also the mistake most people make is that they don’t think “THEY” can be a collector. Anyone can – you just have to start. Perhaps when I was starting off I would have liked someone to tell me: to buy less in quantity, but more major works; to not be afraid to ask others lots of questions; and to visit lots of galleries.

The initial reason to collect was a definite decision to only have original art on our walls, when I first purchased our current home some 21 years ago. Our thoughts are “once an artwork goes into a private collection it is never seen unless you are invited to see it” … we decided to invite the public in to see our collection and share it along with us.

The other idea was to put a major bronze work by Terry Stringer (NZ artist) in our small front garden so that the children passing on their way to school and those that walk up our street to the railway would be able to see the work and think about art on a daily basis.

Adam Stone, ’Fall from grace II’, 2017. Image: Gordon Elliot
Adam Stone, ’Fall from grace II’, 2017. Image: Gordon Elliot

What has the reaction been like from visitors of your collection since making it publicly accessible? Does this reaction impact you and what you collect?

The reaction of those that come and visit is very varied. The main thing in common is that they are totally unaware that a small terrace house can actually house so much art. The other comment is that you live here with all the art. We have shown the collection to a large number of visitors now, yet it is still a real treat to be able to share the collection and our stories about the art and the artists. In some ways by showing the collection to the public, it has made them think more about the way we hang the works. I am more likely to place the same artist’s works together so that visitors can see the works at the same time. This does not happen with all artists and depends on the available wall space. It also allows me to think about how artworks by different artists can be placed near each other, to set up a dialogue them.

How has the attitude to collecting changed since you began?

The biggest change is the amount I am prepared to pay for an artwork. With the co-operation of the artists and the galleries we have been able to pay off works over longer periods of time which means we can acquire more major works from these artists. The theme of the collection has developed and the artists we follow has also changed.

Which publicly accessible private collection would you recommend visiting?

In Sydney there is White Rabbit Gallery which is amazing. It is themed on contemporary Asian art. In Melbourne there is Lyon House Museum, Ten Cubed and Justin Art House Museum. All are excellent and a MUST to visit. Each of these private collections are very different in focus, display, opening hours etc. The owners of these collections can either be hands on or have the luxury to employ staff for their visits. Our aim is to promote collecting for everyone so the stories about how we acquired our work is an important part of our tour. The “art budget” of each of these private collections also varies, with our budget being the smallest of all. Some of these other private collections have been very helpful when we were setting up our visits. This has been extremely kind and generous of them and is very much appreciated by us.

More Information on Elliott Eyes Collection

Collectors (77)

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Olivier Chow

The Olivier Chow Collection – Lausanne, Switzerland

Valeria Napoleone

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Matteo Novarese

SOF:ART – Bologna, Italy

Martin Steppacher

Gallery Durchgang – Basel, Switzerland

Carmelo Graci

Graci Collection – Mantova, Italy

Dr. William Lim

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Nicola Erni Collection – Steinhausen, Switzerland

Lukas Jakob

Jakob Collection – Gundelfingen, Germany

Claus Busch Risvig

Bech Risvig Collection – Silkeborg, Denmark

Joseph Awuah-Darko

The Terra Collection Of African Contemporary Art – Accra, Ghana | London, UK


Ingrid and Thomas Jochheim Collection – Berlin, Germany

Michał Borowik

Michał Borowik Collection – Warsaw, Poland

Bernardo Paz

Instituto Inhotim – Centro de Arte Contemporânea e Jardim Botânico – Brumadinho, Brazil

Tony Salamé

Aïshti Foundation – Beirut, Lebanon

Nadia & Rajeeb Samdani

Samdani Art Foundation (SAF), Dhaka, Bangladesh

Lord David Cholmondeley

Houghton Hall – King's Lynn, Great Britain

Galila Barzilaï-Hollander

Galila's P.O.C., Brussels, Belgium

Martin Margulies

The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse – Miami, United States of America

Christine and Andrew Hall

Hall Art Foundation - Reading, USA & Derneburg, Germany

Qiao Zhibing

TANK Shanghai and Qiao Space - Shanghai, China

Christen Sveaas

Kistefos Museet, Jevnaker, Norway

Noemi Givon

Givon Art Forum – Tel Aviv, Israel

Michael Buxton

Buxton Contemporary - Melbourne, Australia

Seth Stolbun

The Stolbun Collection – Houston, USA

Jochen Zeitz

Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) - Cape Town, Africa

Dominique & Sylvain Levy

DSLCollection – Paris, France

Andrea von Goetz

Sammlung Blankenburg – Hamburg, Germany

The Vague Space

Christian Kaspar Schwarm on the first solo presentation of his collection at the Weserburg Bremen

Anita Zabludowicz

Zabludowicz Collection – London, United Kingdom

Anastasios A. Gkekas

The Office Collection - Nicosia, Cyprus

Rik Reinking

WAI - Woods Art Institute, Wentorf bei Hamburg, Germany

Maria Didrichsen

Didrichsen Art Museum – Helsinki, Finland

João Carlos de Figueiredo Ferraz

Instituto Figueiredo Ferraz (IFF) - São Paulo, Brazil

Julia Stoschek

Julia Stoschek Collection – Dusseldorf, Germany

Maurizio Morra Greco

Fondazione Morra Greco, Naples, Italy

Christian & Karen Boros

Sammlung Boros – Berlin, Germany

Timo Miettinen

Salon Dahlmann – Berlin, Germany

Marli Hoppe-Ritter

Sammlung Marli Hoppe-Ritter – Waldenbuch, Germany

Désiré Feuerle

The Feuerle Collection – Berlin, Germany

Gudrun & Bernd Wurlitzer

Wurlitzer Pied A Terre Collection – Berlin, Germany

Corbett Lyon

Lyon Housemuseum – Melbourne, Australia

Geert Verbeke-Lens

Verbeke Foundation – Kemzeke, Belgium

László Vass

Vass Collection – Veszprém, Hungary

Daisuke Miyatsu

Dream House – Ichikawa, Japan

Samara Walbohm & Joe Shlesinger

Scrap Metal Gallery – Toronto, Canada

Charles Riva

Charles Riva Collection – Brussels, Belgium

Venke & Rolf Hoff

KaviarFactory – Lofoten, Norway

Alain Servais

Servais Family Collection – Brussels, Belgium

Ivo Wessel

Sammlung Ivo Wessel - Berlin, Germany

Ramin Salsali

Salsali Private Museum – Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Vittorio Gaddi

Collezione Nunzia e Vittorio Gaddi – Lucca, Italy

Miguel Leal Rios

Fundação Leal Rios – Lisbon, Portugal

Gertraud and Dieter Bogner

Kunstraum Buchberg – Gars am Kamp, Austria

Bob Rennie

Rennie Collection at Wing Sang – Vancouver, Canada

Heiner Wemhöner

Sammlung Wemhöner – Herford, Germany

Lin Han

M WOODS – Beijing, China

Kenny Goss

The Goss-Michael Foundation – Dallas, USA

Karsten Schmitz

Arbeitswohnung Federkiel – Leipzig, Germany

Devon Dikeou

The Dikeou Collection - Denver, USA

Thomas Olbricht

ME Collectors Room Berlin/Stiftung Olbricht – Berlin, Germany

Mera & Donald Rubell

Rubell Family Collection – Miami, USA

Pétur Arason

Safn – Berlin, Germany / Reykjavík, Iceland

Steffen Hildebrand

G2 Kunsthalle – Leipzig, Germany

Frédéric de Goldschmidt

Frédéric de Goldschmidt – Brussels, Belgium

Daniel Teo

The Private Museum – Singapore, Singapore

Claudio Cosma

Sensus – Luoghi per l’arte Contemporanea – Florence, Italy

Michał Borowik

Michał Borowik Collection – Warsaw, Poland

Herbert Gerisch

Herbert-Gerisch-Stiftung - Neumünster, Germany

José Berardo

Museu Coleção Berardo – Lisbon, Portugal

Bärbel Grässlin and Karola Kraus

Sammlung Grässlin - St. Georgen, Germany

Joëlle and Eric Romba

Rocca Stiftung – Berlin, Germany

Myriam and Amaury de Solages

Maison Particulière – Brussels, Belgium

Friedrich Gräfling

Sammlung Fiede - Aschaffenburg, Germany