An Affair to Remember: Masterpiece Publishing Pulls out All the Stops for Art Collectors at an Exquisite End-of-the-Year Holiday Gala

Article excerpt

In a year seemingly filled with more bad news than good, Masterpiece Publishing decided to put a positive spin on things by helping fine art enthusiasts end 2009 on a high note.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

In early December, the leading fine art publisher pulled out all the stops with an exquisite holiday gala at the company's southern California headquarters. Seven of the top galleries the company works with, 60 established collectors and 20 prospective collectors attended the event and relished in the rare opportunity to wine and dine with some of the world's top artists and gain insight into their inspirations. Many, including Sofia Michelle Ansari, a collector from Dallas who attended with her husband, Dr. Bob Ali, were still buzzing about the two-day affair well after it ended.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

"We thought the event was spectacular," Ansari says. "It was a phenomenal event from beginning to end. It exceeded our expectations."

Masterpiece Publishing owners and founders Daniel Winn and Randy Slavin had many goals in hosting the event, among them building loyalty with galleries and collectors, introducing collectors to artists that their galleries might not yet represent and establishing the provenance of both the company and its artists.

A sophisticated Saturday evening cocktail party at Masterpiece's showroom in Irvine, Calif., kicked off the gala. Guests were escorted to the affair in stretch limousines that picked them up from their upscale hotel--the five-star St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort in Orange County, Calif. The "wow" factor kicked in the moment the limos pulled up to the showroom, as spotlights streamed golden beams across the sky, marking the entrance. A red carpet lined with string musicians, uplit glass-vased flowers and striking sculptures on pedestals and models posed as statues in front of the showroom's oversized, glass-enclosed, art-filled window displays led guests into the party.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Immediately inside, Canadian artist Andre Desjardins' breathtaking oil paintings greeted guests, many of whom paused to admire the works. A nearby bar served fine wines and leche martinis--the featured cocktail--and delectable bit-sized but-lered apps circulated the gallery floor.

"This is fabulous," said actress Loni Anderson, who attended the event with her husband, Bob Flick. (A former art teacher, Anderson has had a lifelong passion for the arts and owns pieces by Masterpiece Publishing artist Tuan.) "Masterpiece's events are always good, but this one is wonderful. Daniel (Winn) takes presentation to a whole new level."

Throughout the evening, guests were free to browse the art, and most of Masterpiece Publishing's artists were on hand to discuss their works. Nearly 70 percent of the artwork (paintings and sculptures) debuted at the gala, giving guests an exclusive sneak peek at the company's 2010 collection. A 20-minute live performance by a local theater group based on the artworks at the show entertained guests with musical numbers midway through the evening.

Larry Dickson, a collector from Ohio, attended the gala with his daughter and said he enjoyed the chance to meet with the artists.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

"It was nice to view new art but even better to be able to meet the artists and discuss their vision of the work," Dickson said.

One of Masterpiece Publishing's top collectors, Dickson owns a broad collection of pieces by the company's artists, including Snowden sculptures, a Tuan acrylic, a Garcia oil painting and a Boban sculpture. "I tend to collect art that I like, and I seem to lean toward the artists at Masterpiece Publishing," he said. "They are all quite talented and represent the best of the best."

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

At the gala, he added another piece to his collection--a Desjardins painting that his daughter liked. …