Working in the Arts: Gallerist Alexander Duve

Posted by Emma Restall in Blog

June 4th 2019

Last month we had the pleasure of talking to Gallerist Alexander Duve. Last year he moved his gallery Duve Berlin to his loft live-work space, showing exciting exhibitions in a salon style environment.

 

So, Alexander Duve, where do you work: 
In Berlin, in my salon gallery DUVE Berlin.

What is your job title:
Well, Owner?! Or also Director. Both work for me.

What time did you wake up and what are you usual working hours:
I usually wake up early at 6-6.30. Then I go to the gym at 7-7.30 and start working at
9. My working hours really vary. I try to finish work on the computer
by latest 7, but job and pleasure also often overlap in the gallery business, so it often
happens that you work late … so there are no real working hours. The whole life is work
and at the same time pleasure. I love what I do.

What are your key tasks: 
There are so many, as a gallery Director who more or less runs his gallery on his own.
As I do not represent artists any more I am continuously scanning the exhibition circus
to find artists I would like to work with … that is actually very joyful. Then preparing
the shows. Shipping, consignments, selling the art. We are still a commercial gallery …
I have a great assistant, Sam, who works on the homepage, who does lots of graphic
work for the gallery. Without him it wouldn’t work out. But I am also travelling a lot,
to Art Fairs, where it’s easy to meet people from the business. It’s very compressed.
You meet other dealers, collectors, press, curators …. I also visit collectors and travel
to see museum shows … you need to be moving!

What was your career path to this role:
My father started collecting post war German art in the early 70’s, many of the
‘Informellen’ are in my parents collection. My father acquired his first canvas in 1971
from German artist Raimer Jochims, who at that time was dean of the Städelschule in
Frankfurt. A fantastic colour gradient canvas. This was very influential in my
professional development . Before working in the arts, I worked as an advisor in
advertising for one the most amazing agencies in Hamburg, Kolle Rebbe. In 10 years
the agency was always under the top 8 German creative agencies and we won many
international prides like the DAAD. My two bosses were two of the most amazing
personalities I ever met in my live.

What are the best and worst things about your job:
One of the best things being an art dealer are the varying personalities you work with.
The most different characters, artists, museum people, writers, curators and
collectors. That makes the job so diversified and never boring. It’s so inspiring. Also
that my job is my passion makes things very easy. Bad things about this job? I can’t
think of anything bad.

What careers advice would you give to your 18 year old self with the benefit of
hindsight:
Do it exactly as you did.

Have you had a secret job that is not on your CV :
MY LIFE IS FULL OF SECRETS.

 

Thank you to Alexander for taking the time to talk to us and look out for future insights into the art world.

Picture credit: Adam Naparty

Gallerist Alexander Duve standing in his studio, staring out to the right hand side