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Meet a Collector

Meet a Collector

Susan Swartzman

AC Founder, Erika Floysvik, toured the stunning home of Toronto-based Designer, Susan Swartzman, to view her collection of artwork and to chat all things art, architecture and design. Susan shared the inspiration behind her eclectic interiors and the driving force behind her art purchases. 
Photography by Tony Hicks 

The Self-Portrait

/ What was your first art purchase? Where did you happen upon it?

I bought my first piece of art on my Honeymoon 10 years ago. It was a wood block carving by Picasso entitled “Grand Velin D’Arches” and part of a limited edition (number 49 of 80).

At our wedding, a guest gave us money to put toward a work of art. I wanted our first purchase as a couple to be a special and memorable piece, and one that would remind us of our trip for many years to come.

/ How has your aesthetic changed or grown over time?

I still love all styles and periods however my tastes have grown from heavily classic to include contemporary and modern.

 / Describe the design of your home. 

Our home is a mix of old and new world – an eclectic mix of styles and periods. In designing and decorating our home, I used a mix of metals, textures, wood and marble. I’m interested in architectural shapes and structures, both classical and modern.

/ The signature painting over your living room fireplace is by Toronto artist, Amanda Clyne. What drew you to her work?

In speaking with Amanda and learning more about her practice and inspiration, I was taken with the idea that the portrait was inspired by a historical figure and interpreted in a new way. Visually, the colours evoked happiness. I see pure beauty in this piece.

/ How has installing artwork changed the tone & feel of your home?

In the case of Amanda’s work, it added a big burst of colour and a lightness to our living room. I don’t shy away from drama! Generally, the art that I’ve collected and installed makes my home feel finished.

/ What advice would you give collectors who are just starting out or considering buying their first piece?

Go with your feelings. Not everything has to be considered for monetary investment; emotional investments are just as important.

/ How important is investment value to you when buying art?

The investment value of art is somewhat important, but it’s not the driver of my decisions. A child’s painting is just as important to me as a famous work of art. Most importantly, it must transport me back to where I was when I saw the piece and remind me of how I felt at that time.

A good example is the portrait installed at the foot of my staircase. I purchased it several years ago and while it’s not a family favourite, I loved it at first sight! I was sourcing at a local Toronto store known for it’s reclaimed relics. Among a pile of old frames was this painting. The owners had purchased it for it’s 1930’s frame. They intended to throw out the painting, but I rescued it for $5 and have been researching its origin since.

/ Why do you feel art matters?

Art is a form of communication and captures the expression of the moment.

Other Artworks

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