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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Artist
Style
Medium
Price
Size

Twilight Guardian

36" x 24" / 91.4 x 61cm
Charcoal, shellac, oil on panel

Crane d’Oiseau

37" x 38" x 112" / 94 x 96.5cm x 284.5cm
Wood and polychrome

Intertwined

9.5" x 11.875" / 24.1 x 30.2cm
Oil on canvas

Eifka’s World

9.5" x 11.875" / 24.1 x 30.2cm
Oil on canvas

Wonderment

9.5" x 11.875" / 24.1 x 30.2cm
Oil on canvas

Serenity

12" x 12" / 30.5 x 30.5cm
Mixed media on Dibond

Composure

12" x 12" / 30.5 x 30.5cm
Mixed media on Dibond

Act III: Ride that River

9.5 x 8 in

PURCHASE

Chewed Up, Spit Out

5" x 5" / 12.7 x 12.7cm
Graphite, oil paint, and cold wax media

The Stalwart Prince

5" x 5" / 12.7 x 12.7cm
Oil on paper mounted on board

Specimen Seven: Beatification

10" x 7" / 25.4 x 17.8cm
Graphite on wood putty-covered illustration board

Specimen One: Sanctuarium

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

Serene Sense

8" x 16" / 20.3 x 40.6cm
Watercolor on Aquabord

John’s Letters

8" x 16" / 20.3 x 40.6cm

Dear John

8" x 16" / 20.3 x 40.6cm
Watercolor on Aquabord

Serenity

20" x 20" / 50.8 x 50.8cm

Aida and Agnes

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

Little Sister

" x 30" x 40" / 0 x 76.2cm x 101.6cm
Oil on canvas

Picnic Party

36" x 48" / 91.4 x 121.9cm
Oil on canvas

Boating

30" x 24" / 76.2 x 61cm
Oil on canvas

Gone Fishing

30" x 36" / 76.2 x 91.4cm
Oil on canvas

Emerald Dress

24" x 30" / 61 x 76.2cm
Oil on panel

Judgement Zone

24" x 24" / 61 x 61cm
Oil on canvas

Harmony

31.5" x 28" / 80 x 71.1cm
Oil on aluminum panel

Faith

24" x 24" / 61 x 61cm
Oil on aluminum panel

Hi Vis

20" x 24" / 50.8 x 61cm
Oil on canvas covered panel

Scarpi

16" x 16" / 40.6 x 40.6cm
Oil on canvas covered panel

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