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Q&A with Mary Coxe

Director, Martin Lawrence Galleries

Photographed by Cheryl Gerber

How did you get into the business? 26 years ago a friend asked me to come and work in a gallery. I have never looked back. It never grows old, I never stop learning and I deal with people under the best circumstances. I feel very fortunate.

What does a collector look like? Everyone is a potential collector. All you have to do is fall in love with a piece of art.

How much does it cost to be a collector? We have wonderful pieces here for $450. People are always surprised how affordable collecting can be.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to buy a piece of art? While we have extremely valuable pieces here by modern masters such as Chagall, Warhol and Picasso, you should buy art based on the way it makes you feel. You have to love it.

Tell us a trade secret? You can buy an unsigned Picasso for a few thousand dollars and even signed sketchings are more affordable than you think.

That’s a good one; tell us another? Be careful buying Warhols, a lot of his work has been rescreened and reprinted. Make sure you trust your dealer.

Any others? There have been problems with people buying art at auctions on cruise ships. The same laws don’t apply at sea. Again, it’s all about having confidence and a relationship with the person from whom you’re buying.

Do you mind people just coming in to browse the works on display or do they need to be able to buy? We love people coming in. We say that no one comes to buy; you come to look and then one day something speaks to you.

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