by Donna L. Poulton
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In October, 2014, David Dee quietly opened David Dee Fine Arts. True to his personality, the vision for the gallery is understated, deliberate and impeccable. The gallery, small but fine, is not glitzy and has no street presence. But the beauty and brilliance lie within. Carefully curated, the paintings have been assembled with a particularly keen eye and with knowledge garnered from a lifetime studying and working in the arts. First as a curator, then as director of the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, David Dee instituted the Utah and Western Art Program at the museum and left a legacy of prestigious programming, including the unforgettable blockbuster, Monet to Picasso.
Understanding that an art collection is an asset created by passion, David Dee has designed a collecting strategy which includes early Utah art, art of the American West, and Regionalist work originating from the 1930s. He observes, “I hope that by offering these works, I can help others to create a focus and narrative around their collection, and to build and shape personal collections that enrich their lives, that of their families, and of our community. The historic connection to broader American Art history is a facet I look forward to developing.”
Paintings on his walls include Franz Bischoff’s masterpiece of a Zion farm, Watchman, Zion National Park, Utah, 1928; Maynard Dixon’s Small Home, Carson, Nevada, 1933; and James Everett Stuart’s significant early work, The Grand Geyser, Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone, 1885. All have a genre quality – they tell fascinating stories and give us a glimpse of silent historic moments which we are privileged to observe. As an educator, Dee is especially excited about the next generation of collectors who are starting small but hope to create significant collections, and who are capitalizing on a new trend which mixes a contemporary look with period pieces – a look that works particularly well with Regionalist art.
Dee also specializes in Japanese art of the 19th and 20th centuries, a niche uncommon to Utah which should interest a number of collectors. He notes: “I believe collectors will respond positively to the interplay of influences in modern Japanese woodblock prints.”
David Dee Fine Arts is located at 1709 E. 1300 South, Suite 201 and is open by appointment only – but don’t let that stop you. He loves to talk about art and welcomes any and all visitors. “There is a special quality about this period that conveys a sense of place and identity, and that is central to who we are in the West, to our culture, and our historical and family roots.”
This article appeared in the June 2015 edition of 15 Bytes.