Antiques Trade Gazette writer Anna Brady featured Susan Mumford in the weekly print edition’s popular “10 Questions” interview. A transcription and image are below. To find out more about the ATG, read available online resources and subscribe, click here.
1. What do you do?
I own three art world businesses that compliment one another. These are the Association of Women Art Dealers (AWAD), the Be Smart About Art Academy and Susan Mumford art projects + consultancy. A
2. How long have you been dealing?
3. What was your first job ?
In my first year at university, I was the photographer for The Profile, a weekly student newspaper.
4. Best and worst thing about being a dealer?
Best, seeing fantastic works of art, often when visiting the restorer, framer or photo lab. Worst, when clients don’t tell you yes or no to a purchase. All dealers like to know where they stand with a potential sale.
5. What has been your best buy and biggest mistake?
Best buy, a painting from a couple who was downsizing. It was a risk, however I found a buyer for it after just a few months. Biggest mistake, going into my first art business without a sound understanding of how to run a small business. It is owing to my own experiences of this and recognizing that such training is lacking within the industry that I have set up the Be Smart About Art Academy.
6. What is your dream object ?
An original Laszlo Moholy-Nagy painting.
7. What is the biggest threat, in your opinion, to the trade at the moment?
Lack of transparency and collaboration. The world has moved on, and so must the art world. We experience increased success when we work together and share experiences.
8. Guiltiest pleasure?
Eating the remaining cookie dough in the bowl.
9. Any advice for those starting out in the trade?
1) Get an experienced mentor from the art world who has a successful business and is happy to give you advice on an ongoing basis;
2) Bring in a financial controller (different from the accountant) from day one and pass important financial decisions by that person;
3) Focus on a niche area; and
4) In the long-term, contemporary dealers should consider dealing in the secondary market.
10. Michelin Star or greasy spoon?
Greasy spoon for Saturday brunch.