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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In My Mind – Limited Edition Framed Print

36 x 48 in | 91.4 x 121.9 cm

PURCHASE

Spell

30" x 40" / 76.2 x 101.6cm
Acrylic on Linen

Winter Solstice

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

Cascades

56" x 37" / 142.2 x 94cm
Charcoal and Water on Deep Mounted Canvas

Jareth

38" x 56" / 96.5 x 142.2cm
Charcoal and Water on Deep Mounted Canvas

Expectation – Limited Edition Unframed Print

10 x 10 in, 25.4 x 25.4 cm

PURCHASE

Winter Storage

48" x 54" / 121.9 x 137.2cm
Oil on Canvas

Talking to a Hummingbird

20" x 16" / 50.8 x 40.6cm
Watercolor on Aqua board

Spring Blossom

8" x 8" / 20.3 x 20.3cm
Watercolor on Aquaboard

When the Love Blooms

Watercolor on Aquaboard

Primavera

9" x 12" / 22.9 x 30.5cm
Watercolor on Aquaboard

Revoada (Diptych)

12" x 48" / 30.5 x 121.9cm
Watercolor on Aquaboard

The Ecolosion of a Butterfly

12" x 24" / 30.5 x 61cm
Watercolor on Aquaboard

In Full Bloom

16" x 20" / 40.6 x 50.8cm
Watercolor on Aquaboard

Shades of Black

8" x 8" / 20.3 x 20.3cm
Watercolor on Aquaboard

Barbershop (Triptych)

89" x 267" / 226.1 x 678.2cm
Mixed Media on Canvas

Singer Sewing Machine

36.5" x 50" / 92.7 x 127cm
Charcoal on Stonehenge Paper

Yashica Movie Camera

24" x 34.5" / 61 x 87.6cm
Charcoal on Stonehenge Paper

Vintage Cash Register

42" x 36.5" / 106.7 x 92.7cm
Charcoal on Stonehenge Paper

Vintage Scuba Helmet

38" x 27" / 96.5 x 68.6cm
Charcoal on Stonehenge Paper

Rooney (Juvenile Great Horned Owl)

15" x 22" / 38.1 x 55.9cm
Charcoal and Water on Deep Mounted Canvas

Wonton (Eastern Screech Owl)

22" x 15.5" / 55.9 x 39.4cm
Charcoal and Water on Deep Mounted Canvas

Wynter (Snowy Owl)

22" x 22" / 55.9 x 55.9cm
Charcoal and Water Mounted on Deep Canvas

Vernal Bloom

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

Scarlet

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

Sapphire

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

Jade

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

1917 Indian Motorcycle – Limited Edition Unframed Print

44 x 88 in | 111.8 x 223.5 cm

PURCHASE

Without Measure

20 x 24 in | 50.8 x 61 cm

PURCHASE

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