Richard J. Demato: Collector Profile

Richard J. Demato: Collector Profile

RICHARD J. DEMATO thinks back to his youth and observes, “Art was the only subject I got straight A’s in.” Today he is still scoring high in the art world, though it took many twists and turns to bring him to this point. Born in Brooklyn, he was raised on Long Island and then in Southern California. At UC Irvine, he double-majored in art and biology, ultimately entering a Ph.D. program in molecular biology and biochemistry. Alas, that arena did not fulfill his desire for creativity, so Demato entered the apparel industry; within four years, he was running his own women’s sportswear firm. While working for a European textile mill, he relocated from Los Angeles to New York City, a perch that allowed him to travel abroad and exercise his aesthetic eye in the world’s great museums.

After 24 years in fashion, Demato found a new calling creating awareness and funding for nonprofit organizations by helping them sell art, and by guiding the artists with whom they collaborated. This led organically to his 2009 opening of RJD Gallery in the charming town of Sag Harbor, on the eastern end of Long Island. Not surprisingly, a portion of the gallery’s proceeds benefits charities supporting victims of domestic abuse, abused animals, and people living with mental illness. Looking back over his unique career path, Demato notes, “Fashion has much in common with fine art; both depend on timing, design, composition, color, and media.”

As a collector himself, Demato’s first purchase occurred in 1974 in Ensenada, Mexico, where he bought a giant papier-mâché parrot by Sergio Bustamante, and also a well-executed copy of one of Winslow Homer’s Caribbean storm scenes. Together these constituted a harbinger of his lifelong eclecticism. Over the years, therefore, he has acquired items as diverse as lithographs by Thomas Hart Benton, John Steuart Curry, and Grant Wood, two original works by Jamie Wyeth, and many antiques.

Yet Demato’s real passion is contemporary figurative realism. He is thrilled that “the rest of the art world has declared it as the great new trend, though it has long been a priority for me.” He says, “I collect and promote emerging and mid-career artists who make well-executed works that challenge me to discover more than the obvious, who share their voices and bare their souls, who tell stories that may sometimes provoke us. My paintings are about people. I think people who love people collect artworks depicting people.”


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Illuminate II

36" x 48" / 91.4 x 121.9cm
Acrylic on Canvas


48.5" x 65" / 123.2 x 165.1cm
Oil on Canvas

7 a.m.

40" x 40" / 101.6 x 101.6cm
Acrylic on Canvas


30" x 24" / 76.2 x 61cm
Charcoal, Colored Pencil, Gouache, Watercolor on Rag Board

The Coop (Fourth in a Suite of Untoward Occurrences on Monhegan Island)

45" x 30" / 114.3 x 76.2cm
Oil on Canvas

Arnold Schwarzenegger 1977

45.5" x 36" / 115.6 x 91.4cm
Charcoal on Cardboard

Locomotive of Kenyon

96" x 96" / 243.8 x 243.8cm
Oil on Canvas


40" x 30" / 101.6 x 76.2cm
Oil on Canvas


40" x 30" / 101.6 x 76.2cm
Oil on Canvas


84" x 127" / 213.4 x 322.6cm
Oil, Mixed Media

Dog Day

40" x 30" / 101.6 x 76.2cm
Oil on linen on birch

La Promesse

36" x 36" / 91.4 x 91.4cm
Oil on panel


40" x 40" / 101.6 x 101.6cm
Acrylic on Canvas

Kravn to stay free and live

71" x 61" / 180.3 x 154.9cm
Acrylic on Canvas

Listen Here Cuzzo

14" x 14" / 35.6 x 35.6cm
Acrylic on Canvas


14" x 14" / 35.6 x 35.6cm
Acrylic on Canvas

Chasing The Moon – Limited Edition Hand Signed Print

39 x 46 in, 99.06 x 116.84 cm


The Sailor and The Desiring Soul

30" x 40" / 76.2 x 101.6cm
Oil and Beeswax on Canvas

Motions of Grace

86" x 60" / 218.4 x 152.4cm
Oil on Linen

The Artist’s Wig II

68" x 50" / 172.7 x 127cm
Acrylic pastel and charcoal on paper mounted on canvas


40" x 40" / 101.6 x 101.6cm
Oil on Linen


17" x 30" / 43.2 x 76.2cm
Colored Pencil on Paper


19" x 28" / 48.3 x 71.1cm
Colored Pencil on Paper


30" x 20" / 76.2 x 50.8cm
Colored Pencil on Paper


28" x 19" / 71.1 x 48.3cm
Colored Pencil on Paper

The Standoff

24" x 18" / 61 x 45.7cm
Oil on wood panel


10" x 8" / 25.4 x 20.3cm
Oil on linen panel

Black Gold

52" x 33" x 10" / 132.1 x 83.8cm x 25.4cm
Portrait painted in oil on wood panel. Constructed wooden box frame, fabric, leather, 23k gold leaf lettering, brass hardware, authentic 1900’s coffee grinder

Bantu Belle

58" x 41" / 147.3 x 104.1cm
Portrait painted in oil on wood panel, wood and metal constructed box frame, brass hardware, gold leaf frame, cloth fabric, antique tailor scissors, stained wood

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