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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Don’t Ask

24" x 20" / 61 x 50.8cm
Oil on Linen

Out For A Walk

14" x 11" / 35.6 x 27.9cm
Oil on Canvas

Jacinta Y Sus Tres Alegres Comadres

14" x 11" / 35.6 x 27.9cm
Oil on Canvas

The Nice Visitor

14" x 11" / 35.6 x 27.9cm
Oil on Canvas

The Scented Breeze

11" x 14" / 27.9 x 35.6cm
Oil on Canvas

Girl With A White Flower

14" x 11" / 35.6 x 27.9cm
Oil on Canvas

The Wind Dearer

14" x 11" / 35.6 x 27.9cm
Oil on Canvas

The Scared Owlet

14" x 11" / 35.6 x 27.9cm
Oil on Canvas

Regal

12" x 12" / 30.5 x 30.5cm
Oil on Canvas

Lady of the Yellow Suns

14" x 11" / 35.6 x 27.9cm
Oil on Canvas

Mi Hermano el Historiador

84" x 75" / 213.4 x 190.5cm
Soft Black Pastel, Graphite, Guesso on Mylar

Beyond the Invisible (Triptych)

24" x 68" / 61 x 172.7cm
Acrylic on Masonite

Within

36" x 24" / 91.4 x 61cm
Acrylic on Canvas

Guthrie

42" x 68" / 106.7 x 172.7cm
Charcoal and Water Mounted on Paper

Study For The Minotaur

30" x 22" / 76.2 x 55.9cm
Oil on Canvas

Pont de la Tournelle, Paris

30" x 61" / 76.2 x 154.9cm
Archival Digital Pigment Print

Zanyell

44" x 32" / 111.8 x 81.3cm
Oil on Linen

Argus (Barred Owl)

22" x 22" / 55.9 x 55.9cm
Charcoal and Water on Mounted Paper

Athena (Burrowing Owl)

41" x 29.5" / 104.1 x 74.9cm
Charcoal and Water Mounted on Paper

Magoo (Northern white-faced Scops Owl)

42" x 56" / 106.7 x 142.2cm
Charcoal and Water on Mounted Paper

Lila (Eurasian Eagle Owl)

90" x 56" / 228.6 x 142.2cm
Charcoal and Water on Mounted Paper

On Guard

10" x 15" / 25.4 x 38.1cm
Acrylic on Canvas

Undercurrents

26" x 39" / 66 x 99.1cm
Colored Pencil on Bristol Board

Pulse High

35.4" x 46.9" / 89.9 x 119.1cm
Oil on Paper on Dibond

Against the Wall

24" x 18" / 61 x 45.7cm
Oil on Canvas

Off-White x Air Jordan 1 Chicago

16" x 20" / 40.6 x 50.8cm
Oil on Canvas

AF1 Low Cactus Jack

20" x 16" / 50.8 x 40.6cm
Oil on Canvas

Everything is Connected

16" x 20" / 40.6 x 50.8cm
Oil on Linen

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