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

If I Must Die

86" x 54" / 218.4 x 137.2cm
Mixed Media on Canvas

Dancing Couple

19" x 16" / 48.3 x 40.6cm
Work on Paper

Jazz Lovers

20" x 16" / 50.8 x 40.6cm
Work on Paper

The Conflict

48" x 36" / 121.9 x 91.4cm
Oil on Linen Canvas

Grace

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

Fishing

14" x 18" / 35.6 x 45.7cm
Oil on Cotton Canvas

Friends

24" x 30" / 61 x 76.2cm
Oil on Linen Canvas

The Foxes

20" x 30" / 50.8 x 76.2cm
Oil on Cotton Canvas

Mardi Gras

36" x 46" / 91.4 x 116.8cm
Oil on Linen Canvas

Jewel Box Review

16" x 28" / 40.6 x 71.1cm
Oil on Cotton Canvas

Endangered Species

36" x 48" / 91.4 x 121.9cm
Oil on Linen Canvas

American Hotel

48" x 30" / 121.9 x 76.2cm
Oil on Linen Canvas

Save Our Babies

30" x 24" / 76.2 x 61cm
Oil on Cotton Canvas

Vintage Roller Skates

31" x 45" / 78.7 x 114.3cm
Charcoal on Stonehenge Paper

Football Helmet

36" x 45" / 91.4 x 114.3cm
Charcoal on Stonehenge Paper

Vintage Kodak Camera

44" x 30" / 111.8 x 76.2cm
Charcoal on Stonehenge Paper

Cowboy Boots

38" x 31" / 96.5 x 78.7cm
Charcoal on Stonehenge Paper

Antique Revolver

30" x 44" / 76.2 x 111.8cm
Charcoal on Stonehenge Paper

Antique Snowshoes

50" x 45.5" / 127 x 115.6cm
Charcoal on Stonehenge Paper

Stack of Wood

32" x 42" / 81.3 x 106.7cm
Charcoal on Stonehenge Paper

Stack of Teacups

42" x 32" / 106.7 x 81.3cm
Charcoal on Stonehenge Paper

Stack of Books

32" x 42" / 81.3 x 106.7cm
Charcoal on Stonehenge Paper

Film Reels

35" x 47" / 88.9 x 119.4cm
Charcoal on Stonehenge Paper

Antique Boxing Gloves

68.5" x 42" / 174 x 106.7cm
Charcoal on Stonehenge Paper

Tessa Virtue’s Olympic Skates

33" x 50" / 83.8 x 127cm
Charcoal on Stonehenge Paper

Buckaroo Bank

38" x 26.5" / 96.5 x 67.3cm
Charcoal on Stonehenge Paper

Vintage Baseball Catcher’s Mask

25" x 22.25" / 63.5 x 56.5cm
Charcoal on Stonehenge Paper

Vintage Lantern

42" x 30.5" / 106.7 x 77.5cm
Charcoal on Stonehenge Paper

Mazzoni Accordion

46" x 42" / 116.8 x 106.7cm
Charcoal on Stonehenge Paper

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