Gallery name: Galerie Holthoff-Mokross
Owner: Thomas Holthoff
Speciality: Paintings and prints
With the seventh edition of Affordable Art Fair Hamburg taking place shortly, we met with Thomas Holthoff of Galerie Holthoff-Mokross to learn more about the business, and why he is returning to the fair for the sixth time!
At what point did you decide to set up an art gallery?
The key moment was six years ago - at the time, after working for 3 years for an art collector, it was time to decide what my next logical step should would be. So, In 2013 I founded Galerie Holthoff-Mokross with Katharina Mokross. Art is a large and diverse market which I entered feeling quite humble, but full of joy as I started the adventure - knowing that (in fact) I don't know (that) much! You constantly have to engage yourself with the arts and all its participants which was a challenge since I don’t have a background in art history. But the more I immersed myself, the more success I had in the quality and standards of the gallery. My personal ambition for the gallery is to continually develop and support my 12 artists.
Aside from representing your artists, how do you support their practice and career?
We want to make our 12 artists known to the public, and we have had the most success by curating group and solo exhibitions, plus presenting their work 3 art fairs a year. Additionally, twice a year we organise artist talks to help our customers get to know them better. Our artists are from Leipzig, Berlin, München, Düsseldorf and Hamburg and I try to visit them as often as possible. Of course, I wish I could have even more involvement in their artistic processes, supporting and accompany their careers, but this is difficult to do on top of running a gallery. In the gallery a lot of activities take place simultaneously – which means I’m not as in touch as much as I would like – it is an area I plan to improve on!
What is the most challenging aspect of your work?
Well, the most challenging part of the gallery is to show great art and build an audience who wants to buy while still having fun and staying relaxed. The idea of an art gallery is very romantic, but it is still a business which depends on success and sales. To keep a gallery successful, you need - apart from a sound concept - a lot of fresh work, the development of a network and trust with customers and collectors. The goal is to win 10 new art collectors a year and to have 100 collectors after approx. 8 years who accompany us. This is difficult but that is the goal we set ourselves and so far it is going good! So, we go one step at a time towards paradise as Rio Reiser would undoubtly say. We are on the right path. In addition to our gallery, we are also showing art in the ruins of a synagogue (Tempel 1844) and support a large law firm (Taylor Wessing) which is an exciting project.
Which two artworks are you most excited about bringing to the fair?
Oh I’m really excited about to show Peter Beuchler’s work! We took one of his pieces to Berlin Art Week and it received a huge amount of attention and comments from the visitors. The name of the work we are bringing to Affordable Art Fair Hamburg is “John” (pictured). Peter’s work is based on found objects, which are transformed into artworks that communicate a completely new message and meaning. I love the different layers to his work.
The second work of art is Katharina - my congenial business partner at the gallery. She isn’t for sale, but she’s very very precious.
Do you collect art? Which artwork can’t you live without?
Yes of course I do, and I can’t live without any of them. Each piece of art I own represents a moment in time – a sort of diary. Looking at each picture I remember the story that goes with it.
For six years you have been a regular exhibitor at Affordable Art Fair Hamburg. What are the advantages of participating in art fairs, and how do they influence your gallery after the fair has ended?
As with everything, there are been victories and defeats. Some art fairs were fantastic, while others, not so much. But I keep coming back to the Affordable Art Fair because I like you. It is an important fair in Hamburg. The fair attracts an great audience and helps to establish Hamburg as an artistic hub. The visitors are the reason we are come back year after year!
Join us at Affordable Art Fair Hamburg, 14 - 18 November where you can meet Thomas on stand C2.
Claudia Rößger, Königin (Queen), 2011, oil and egg tempera on canvas, 40 x 40 cm, 2.100 Euro, Galerie Holthoff-Mokross.
Featured art from first to last:
Thomas Holthoff, co-owner of Galerie Holthoff-Mokross, courtesy of Helga Lorbeer.
Annette Meincke, Nagy Frau mit gelbem Oberteil, 2017, cellulose, quarzsand, pigmente, 69 cm, 4.800 Euro, Galerie Holthoff-Mokross.
Peter Buechler, John, 2015, found portrait on wood panel, 109 cm, 5.500 Euro, Galerie Holthoff-Mokross.