VALERIUS – Interview with Gérard Valerius
How did you become the director of this art gallery?
In 2017, I became the director of my own art gallery located on Theater Square in Luxembourg thanks to my passion for painting. I have been a collector all my life, since high school, where I started buying works of art.
Opening my own art gallery was a very rewarding decision for me. It allowed me to discover new artists, work with passionate collectors, and share my passion with gallery visitors. Following my heart turned out to be an excellent decision that allowed me to live my passion every day and, above all, share it.
How would you describe the style and artistic direction of your gallery?
Our gallery mainly focuses on contemporary art and emerging artists who are still unknown to the network of large art galleries in order to help them promote their work to the general public.
Regarding our direction, we mainly exhibit painting and also showcase sculptures.
Additionally, every two years we participate in the "European Month of Photography", which is an opportunity for us to highlight photographers and showcase their work in Luxembourg.
What are the challenges your gallery faces in the globalized configuration of the art market? How do you position yourself as a Luxembourgish gallery?
In fact, we consider that the development of the internet is an advantage for the art market and our gallery.
Indeed, thanks to the increased visibility we have through the internet, we can reach a wider and more diverse audience that would have been difficult to reach otherwise. We can promote our artists and exhibit their works to collectors from around the world, which was unthinkable just a few years ago.
Furthermore, we consider our geographic location at the heart of Europe to be a major asset for our gallery. We are located near major European capitals, which allows us to attract visitors from around the world and participate in internationally renowned art fairs.
How does your gallery work with artists to establish sustainable partnerships and support their Luxembourgish artistic development?
Our art gallery has always considered artists as key partners in our business. We place great importance on maintaining a friendly and family-like relationship with them, as it allows us to better understand their work and collaborate effectively to promote their art in the long term.
through our network of contacts and our presence on social media.
We also use art fairs to promote their work and establish contacts with other art professionals and international collectors.
What criteria do you use to select the artists you showcase in your gallery?
The selection of artists we showcase in our art gallery is a process that requires a lot of attention and reflection. We have several criteria that we use to evaluate the quality of the artists' work.
Firstly, we carefully observe their work and examine their professional background. We review their CV to understand where they come from, their artistic history, and their education. This step allows us to better understand their artistic approach and their development as artists.
By visiting them in their studio, we carefully examine their work to determine if it corresponds to our artistic vision and if we are impressed by their artwork. We cannot praise an artist's merits if we are not ourselves convinced by their work.
Finally, if we are convinced by the artist's work, we try to present their work in an exhibition at the gallery. We want to work with artists whom we believe have strong potential and whose work is in line with the vision of our gallery.
How does your gallery engage with the local and national artistic community?
Our gallery is very involved in the Luxembourgish artistic community. We work with a large number of Luxembourgish artists whom we showcase in our gallery and in pop-up events that we occasionally organize.
We also participate in key events in the Luxembourgish art scene, such as the Luxembourg ART Week fair. In 2021, we created the Young Luxembourgish Artists platform, which showcases young artists from Luxembourg who are studying abroad.
As part of this initiative, we organize a major annual exhibition in a large space outside of our gallery to give maximum visibility to these artists, whom we then integrate into group exhibitions or solo shows in the gallery.
Another initiative we undertake to give visibility to Young Luxembourgish Artists involves the publication of an annual book that we self-produce and which is dedicated to these young artists.
And although all these book productions receive no external or state aid, we are convinced that this approach is essential to support our involvement in the development of the Luxembourgish art scene.
How does your gallery work with collectors to help them develop their art collection?
As a gallery, we believe that an art collection should be open and reflect the artistic and emotional aspirations of the collector. We work closely with our clients to understand their tastes and collection goals, guiding them towards artists and works that best align with their interests.
We believe that diversity in a collection is important. For example, contemporary pieces can be combined with tribal art. Therefore, we encourage collectors to be open-minded and explore different genres and artistic styles.
Our positioning allows us to work with young collectors, as we offer high-quality pieces at very affordable prices. We also remain highly accessible to help our clients better understand contemporary art and market trends.
Ultimately, our approach to working with collectors involves building long-term relationships.
How do you organize events and exhibitions to attract collectors and encourage them to visit the gallery regularly?
We use different strategies to organize events and exhibitions that attract collectors and encourage them to visit our gallery regularly.
First and foremost, we strongly believe in the importance of personal contact with our audience. We regularly organize events and opening nights to introduce new exhibitions and create a friendly environment to meet collectors and discuss their interest in art.
We also use social media, such as ARTSY, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook, to promote our events and exhibitions to a wider audience. We share images of the artworks on display, videos of our events, and interviews with the artists to provide a glimpse into our activities and spark the interest of collectors.
In addition to these online and offline contacts, our downtown location is a major asset in attracting visitors to the gallery. The regular foot traffic in front of our gallery often encourages art enthusiasts to come and take a look at our exhibitions. We are also known for our collection of art books, which regularly attracts visitors interested in deepening their knowledge of art.
What upcoming events and exhibitions would you recommend to collectors and investors to discover new artists and artistic trends?
We recommend that collectors and investors attend major art fairs where they can find works by established artists as well as discover the production of new artists in dedicated areas.
We also encourage them to visit our gallery to discover new artists and artistic trends while benefiting from our expert guidance.
In any case, developing one's eye is crucial for collectors and investors, as it will allow them to distinguish quality art from less qualitative art. It is important to have contact with many different productions to develop a deeper understanding of art and to develop one's own taste.
Therefore, by visiting our gallery, attending art events, and following artists on social media, enthusiasts can develop their powers of observation and their ability to judge the quality of contemporary productions.
We give you the opportunity to present an artist you represent, who would you like to present to collectors and investors?
If you don't mind, I would like to present two very talented artists that we currently represent.
Firstly, Natacha Mankowski, a young French artist who lives and works in Amsterdam, and with whom we will be organizing a solo exhibition in June. Her style is stunning, and her technique is very particular, consisting of working and producing her own pastels based on natural elements that she collects herself in nature.
She produces captivating contemporary work while incorporating an approach that aims to create a bridge with art history and the ancient techniques used by old masters to produce their own pigments. We are convinced that collectors will be seduced by the production she offers, and we invite them to take a closer look at her work.
The second artist I would like to talk about is Monique Becker, for whom an exhibition will be mounted in our gallery in November, and she will have a solo exhibition at the Caraffa Museum in Cordoba, Argentina, beginning in early December.
This artist has a very expressive style with beautiful gesturality. She mainly works on large black and white formats. Some of her paintings are part of the collection of the MUDAM, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Luxembourg. We published a book on Monique Becker's work in 2021, which shows her development.
Monique Becker is a very talented artist who has great mastery of color and form and deserves the attention of collectors and investors.
How does your gallery work with other galleries, museums, and art institutions?
Our gallery works in collaboration with other galleries, museums, and art institutions to expand our network and to give greater visibility to our artists.
We have established relationships with galleries such as JARMUSCHEK + PARTNER Gallery in Berlin and BETTERGOSOUTH in Stuttgart and Berlin. In collaboration, for example, we have presented Luxembourgish artists Eric Mangen and Val Smets in their spaces.
We believe that by developing our exchanges with other galleries and art institutions, we can create a synergy for contemporary art that will offer an enriching experience to art lovers and collectors.