When you dig a little every good Art Dealer has a nice personal story to tell that explains
his/her commitment to Art. But the story Gallery owner and Art dealer, Sonce Alexander
was going to tell me was by far the most original I ever heard; just like she is, original,
charismatic, one of a kind.
A good sense of curating
When entering the gallery #2634 South La Cienega Boulevard in Los Angeles, I am
once again amazed by the show. Sonce has that rare ability to know what and how to
hang the art like she would do in your living room, ready like she says for “an aesthetic
exchange“. It should be ordinary for a gallery, but I can tell it is not. She and her
wonderful Deputy Director, Ann Harezlak, know what curating means.
The show was called “After Living in
the Room of Réalités Nouvelles” It was
referring to the Parisian salon where
abstract paintings are selected and
shown annually. The idea at Sonce
Alexander Gallery was to give the artists
the possibility to re-create the same kind
And actually, the paintings and works
have been carefully selected to fit all
together. None of them overwrote the
other not even the big size and colorful
painting by Linda Geary (below). Not
even the powerful targets by Christophe
Leroux (left) hanged close to a white
or almost white Zoe Crosher. It was
Art to better breathe
The tour of the show with Sonce Alexander was unique. Sonce shares a genuine
excitement with you. Her words not only come out iwith purpose, they come from a
deeper layer I would learn later. When Sonce is in front of a painting looking at it, she
has the same look a mother would have for her child. It’s not a stupid unconditional love,
it is better than that. The kind of relation she has with art is that unconditional, genuine
and long lasting dialog that leads to a deeper and stronger love. When asked about
such a passion, Sonce admits that art is a necessity, it makes her breathe better. And
she started to tell me a bit of her story.
Art instead of dolls
Sonce was born and brought up in Paris, France, both her parents are American. She
is a true American in Paris. She traveled and lived alternatively in both countries: Los
Angeles, California and Paris, France. At the age of five a young girl is supposed to go
to the park and play with her dolls and friends, instead Sonce was taken to all of the
museums, in most countries.
For example, she told me a funny anecdote,“I knew by heart Le Louvre because I was taken there repeatedly and my treat was a postcard. Of course in order to get the best image possible I was focused on the Art for the card I would get.”
Obviously I understood where and why she got such a keen eye. When you read biographies of great art dealers like Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, Wittgenstein and many others, their story began at Le Louvre staring at art for hours to understand it. A one on one story with each painting, each sculpture. There’s no secret there, to get that “absolute eye” you have to exercise it, but at the age of five. I might say this is extra-ordinary.
When a 6 feet tall size can take you to become an art dealer…
The story didn’t end there. How did you become an art dealer?
Sonce Alexander: As a child, I had not yet been thinking about what I wanted to do with my life. Being an art dealer just happened. Listen: what do you do when you are a 13 year-old girl of already 6 feet tall with legs of more than 36” inseam? I can tell you: instead of buying clothes that would never fit or never even exist, I started to buy art! Art became my thing because as I told you, it’s like I was raised at the Louvre. With such an extensive art education, I knew what to buy. And my friends became more and more curious, more interested about the art I bought. They began to want to buy it, so I began to want to sell it. This is how I became an art dealer. I learned from experience.
I told you Sonce Alexander’s story was not an ordinary one. Then, nineteen years ago, she decided to open her own gallery in Santa Monica close to a young gallery “Blum & Poe” who decided to revolutionize the LA art scene by moving from Melrose to a brand new place, Santa Monica (Broadway Gallery Complex). Sonce decided to close the gallery after one year, after extreme financial success, because she says, “I wasn’t ready for it.” She decided to continue what she was good at, being a private art dealer in both Europe and the United States.
Ready for next chapter
Since then she never stopped to successfully develop a large clientèle of selected private collectors that made her wealthy and ready for next chapter. After 17 years of that “homework” like she says, she decided she was fully prepared to open a gallery, obviously successful this time, at the same place, on La Cienega Boulevard.
Obviously successful this time, on the new Seminole gallery row of La Cienega in the Culver City Arts District, across the street from Blum & Poe. One year after the very first opening, Sonce Alexander Gallery is: a blooming program of 6 excellent artists, one exhibition every two months, more than 500 people coming to the openings, and tremendous support from the museums: MOCA, LACMA, the Getty, and the Hammer curators, excellent group shows with a good sense of curating, one catalog published per exhibition, videos of each exhibition online for her nonlocal and international collectors, and many editorials and reviews from reputable sources such as The Huffington Post, LA Times etc. Yes, it sounds like it was the right timing.
Beatrice Chassepot, Los Angeles, February 8th, 2015
In order to understand what makes Los Angeles so unique, Beatrice Chassepot has started to conduct interviews with Gallery Owners from Los Angeles to draw a “Series of portraits of Gallery Owners from Los Angeles”. She already wrote the portraits of Louis Stern, Stephen Cohen