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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Topography of a Face V

11.8" x 7.9" / 30 x 20.1cm
Oil with Gold Leaf, Copper Leaf, Oxidized Silver Leaf on Linen Canvas

Topography of a Face IV

11.8" x 7.9" / 30 x 20.1cm
Oil with Gold Leaf, Copper Leaf, Oxidized Silver Leaf on Linen Canvas

Topography of a Face III

11.8" x 7.9" / 30 x 20.1cm
Oil with Gold Leaf, Copper Leaf, Oxidized Silver Leaf on Linen Canvas

Topography of a Face II

11.8" x 7.9" / 30 x 20.1cm
Oil with Gold Leaf, Copper Leaf, Oxidized Silver Leaf on Linen Canvas

Topography of a Face I

11.8" x 7.9" / 30 x 20.1cm
Oil with Gold Leaf, Copper Leaf, Oxidized Silver Leaf on Linen Canvas

Trick Roper

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

In the Distance – Limited Edition Hand Signed Framed Print – A/P

36 x 36 in | 91.4 x 91.4 cm

PURCHASE

Sailor’s Knot

19" x 22" / 48.3 x 55.9cm
Oil on Canvas

The Winds of Water – Limited Edition Unframed Print

30 x 20 in | 76.2 x 50.8 cm

PURCHASE

Undercurrents – Limited Edition Unframed Print

20 x 30 in | 50.8 x 76.2 cm

PURCHASE

Lila (Eurasian Eagle Owl) – Limited Edition Unframed Print

31.8 x 20 in | 80.8 x 50.8 cm

PURCHASE

Lore

6.3" x 6.3" / 16 x 16cm
Oil on Wood Panel

Fenna

6.3" x 6.3" / 16 x 16cm
Oil on Wood Panel

In the Distance – Framed Limited Edition Print

20 x 20 in | 50.8 x 50.8 cm

PURCHASE

Athena – Limited Edition Unframed Print

27.3 x 20 in | is 69.3 x 50.8 cm

PURCHASE

Bubo Scandiacus – Limited Edition Unframed Print

32.4 x 20 in | 82.3 x 50.8 cm

PURCHASE

Guthrie – Limited Edition Unframed Print

20 x 32.7 in | 50.8 x 83.3 cm

PURCHASE

Kingston – Limited Edition Unframed Print

30.4 x 20 in | 77.2 x 50.8 cm

PURCHASE

Wilson – Limited Edition Unframed Print

31.5 x 20 in | 80 x 50.8 cm

PURCHASE

Magoo – Limited Edition Unframed Print

26.7 x 20 in | 67.8 x 50.8 cm

PURCHASE

Saroo – Limited Edition Unframed Print

20 x 36 in | 50.8 x 91.4 cm

PURCHASE

Jareth – Limited Edition Unframed Print

20 x 29.25 in | 50.8 x 74.2 cm

PURCHASE

Lila – Limited Edition Unframed Print

27.2 x 20 in | 69.1 x 50.8 cm

PURCHASE

Argus – Limited Edition Unframed Print

20 x 20 in | 50.8 x 50.8 cm

PURCHASE

In Silence Known – Limited Edition Unframed Print

25 x 20 in | 63.5 x 50.8 cm

PURCHASE

Dawning – Limited Edition Unframed Print

25.5 x 20 in | 63.5 x 50.8 cm

PURCHASE

The Strand – Limited Edition Unframed Print

25 x 20 in | 63.5 x 50.8 cm

PURCHASE

Dream Chaser – Limited Edition Unframed Print

25 x 20 in | 63.5 x 50.8 cm

PURCHASE

Seasonal Change

8" x 7" / 20.3 x 17.8cm
Scratchboard

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