Something that Keith and I do a lot, and always enjoy, is making a housecall. If at all possible, we visit the premises where one of our sold pieces will be installed, when it is installed, to give it a once over, make certain there’s been no damage in transit, and wax what needs to be waxed and polish what needs to be polished. As long as we’ve been in business, we’ve never installed anything where the homeowner, no matter how busy, grand, or vaunted, was not there to greet us. I’m not letting my ego run away with me here- this has very little to do with anyone’s desire for time with the Chappell visage, but more probably with the level of intimacy established between dealer and buyer.
The why of this, ostensibly, is that one has sold something that will be on display in an intimate space- the buyer’s home. Even the most public of people still consider their own homes to at least some degree their sanctum sanctorum. From clothes closet to foyer, the notion of a person’s home being their castle encompasses what is a basic touchstone. And that one’s possessions articulate with that psychically castellated space functions to make home and furnishings an outward manifestation of one’s personality. This starts to sound like all our clients are megalomaniacs, but, frankly, in our experience, none of them are. In fact, when we make a housecall, as we did this last week in Houston, the powerful lady and gentleman homeowners were supremely gracious, and eager to discuss their collecting passions and objectives. As their purchases from us were adjuncts to their already established collecting foci, we had lots to talk about. This is what’s known as ‘common ground’.
But it’s substantially more than that- it has to be, as discussions and concomitant relationships with clients go on for years and years. In this age of the internet where it may only be the first purchase that is consummated in our galleries and subsequent purchases made online, one would assume that the connection between dealer and collector would wane. To date, I’m happy to say, it hasn’t. While we love what we do, and are fascinated by the objects we sell and feel a connection with the material culture in which they were wrought, this is all very much part of a continuum that involves that part of the bilateral relationship manifested in the housecall.