Giles Baker-Smith has been working at the heart of the London art world continuously for 30 years, initially in the secondary market, specializing in nineteenth and twentieth century British and European painting, and then the contemporary. On leaving Oxford, he joined a long-established Bond Street dealership, where he received a thorough grounding in all aspects of the international art market. In 1993, he left to found the Blue Gallery.
The contemporary market then was not the frenzied headline-grabbing Leviathan of today. Aside from the few major dealerships, London offered a modest, if eclectic, scattering of contemporary galleries. The initial intention of the Blue Gallery was to offer a platform for younger artists, often recently out of college, in a period when it usually took many years before any sort of recognition would be accorded, let alone financial security. The gallery and its programme quickly proved conspicuous; as early as 1997, three of the short-list for the once prestigious, now defunct, NatWest Painting Prize were Blue Gallery artists, including the winner. It was one of the earlier galleries to embrace photography as a legitimate artistic medium in its own right; and it also showed a willingness to explore new aesthetic avenues: in 1996, with the assistance of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Giles curated an exhibition of large-format photographs from the Hubble Space Telescope. Its remarkable success (at a time when Professor Brian Cox was still blithely tinkling the ivories for D:Ream), both in terms of its audience and the attendant press interest, was such that the gallery was approached by the National Academy of Sciences in Washington DC and NASA to curate a comparable exhibition there in 1999.
By 2006, the Directors, both now happily saddled with families, felt the rewards forthcoming were not exactly in an acceptable ratio with the energies expended. (This may, of course, have had not a little to do with their predilection for building new gallery spaces!) And so after a brief flirtation in St James’ and with the clouds of impending economic gloom gathering on the horizon, for one the ancestral seat beckoned and for the other, GBS Fine Art……….
Just as so many of those Blue Gallery artists have blossomed into mid-career success stories, so GBS Fine Art continues to offer a platform for artists, who, irrespective of fad and fashion, produce work of clarity, accomplishment and resonance.
In the course of 30 years doing anything, one would like to think one might become quite accomplished at some aspects of it……or at the very least have met any number of people who are remarkably accomplished in their own specialized fields…..
So GBS Fine Art:
– can assist in the initiation and/or development of a coherent art collection.
– can purchase or sell at auction on a collector’s behalf or simply advise as to condition, value or auction strategy.
– can offer a comprehensive restoration and conservation service, working with a variety of experts appropriate to the medium.
– can advise on and undertake any sort of framing requirement from the modest to the more elaborate carved antique.
– can assist and facilitate the hanging or installation of any kind of artwork or collection.
– can undertake research on works of art or collections, as rigorous and comprehensive as required.
– can advise on insurance and probate valuations.
All these services are bespoke and chargeable as agreed in advance.