Rosemont Art Advisory was pleased to sit down with Pandora Mather-Lees just right after the SuperYacht forum where we were kindly invited to participate at the Art on Yachts panel next to Helene Moore and Tillman Kriesel.
This interview is part of series of artist interview, released every month in our newsletter.
1. What do you love about your job?
It is really the mental stimulation from the people I meet, the places I visit and working in a creative industry. I am so lucky to have been able to make a career out of being an art historian. Art History is a fabulous subject to study, but the options after leaving university can be hard to find. To work in the art world with like-minded people is fulfilling and enriching. Moreover, it has also been very stimulating to be able to combine my work in fine art with work in related areas such as interior design and the marine environment. These are areas where fine art, sculpture and design feature heavily, so it is a natural transition, however it also demands that one learns about new markets, new players and a whole new set of industry regulations and considerations.
2. What was your motivation in moving your art advisory and your cultural Savoir-Faire towards the Yacht industry services?
It was partially this need to find further stimulation and a fresh area to explore. Projects in strategic development for clients in the luxury and private client sector naturally took me to Paris and the South of France. I am a Francophile and grasped every opportunity to visit France and improve my French! I was on the Cote d'Azur working with Hedley's Fine Art Logistics and realised how many valuable objects were being moved around and how vulnerable they could be. I set about meeting people and learning. Then it dawned on me that I had a unique set of skills, experience and interests which I could use to help the yacht industry. I was visiting Monaco yacht show and noticed the lack of training opportunities for crew to learn the basics of fine art. Most art dealers and advisors want to reach the owners and to sell, but nobody thinks about what happens to the painting after that. How will it be delivered safely, how will the condition be maintained, how will the crew know what they are dealing with and many other considerations.
3. What is it that we can learn when taking a class with you?
The most important lesson is to be aware of the value of what is around you, to appreciate fine art. The course is not just about art handling and preservation, it covers different aspects of the art world, the art market, the art collector and there are additional modules on art history. The value is in delivering a complete overview of the market for those with no prior knowledge so that they can then explore any aspect further in their own time. There are some 10 modules which are selected according to the needs and interests of the participants. It changes according to location too. Thanks to Hazel Anderson of the VIP Service School in Palma we have a programme where we include a lunch and visits to the local contemporary art museum and a culture centre. This really brings the material to life!
4. Do you offer your classes worldwide? Can clients sign in online?
Yes, I am very flexible and typically need to travel to wherever the client needs me! I teach the course through ACREW, a membership association for captains and crew with an incredible reach and a commitment to training at all levels and aspects of yachting. This involves various locations, depending on where they run events, it might be Palma Yacht show or another time it could be a shipyard in France. We have developed an excellent relationship and next month I will be in St Martin in the Caribbean at the ACREW Rendezvous for captains and crew. ACREW and Pandora Art Services have partnered to deliver an INSIGHTS event in Monaco in April. In addition to the school in Palma I also work with JJ Yonnet Formations in France. Through Jean-Jacques Yonnet, we can facilitate in French and we can also secure funding for French companies through his coaching and training organisation.
I don’t have an online option, it is a really personal approach and all classes are taught individually by me.
5. Who is your favourite artist and what was the last exhibition you saw?
That is an impossible question to answer, it changes as one discovers and learns more about any artist! I love early 20th Century abstraction and the work of colour field painters like Mark Rothko. Studying The Surrealists and German Expressionists gave me an appreciation of the works of artists such as Paul Delvaux, Schmitt-Rottloff, Kandinsky, Klee and then later the Bauhaus movement. I knew John Hoyland and visited his studio - his work is incredible. There is an amazing artist still alive coming out of this school, Derek Balmer, who was President of the Royal West of England Academy and I am always interested to follow his stylistic development. I am drawn to large canvases, abstraction, colour and energy!
As for the last exhibition, the Vienna Tourist Board invited me to produce and conduct a tour of the Klimt/Schiele Exhibition at the Royal Academy for members of a private club. I had always loved Klimt, but not Schiele. To me he has always been an ‘artists’ artist’. Having to talk about his work forced me to understand him better, to delve deeper and find correlations with his work, Klimt and predecessors in art history. This was challenging but ultimately very rewarding and I now look upon Schiele with a different eye!