“Art you can live with and enjoy”—that’s the hallmark of Laura Rathe Fine Art, according to Laura Rathe herself. The gallery is decidedly friendly and unpretentious, with personable staff who want to make the process of viewing and collecting art “not only interesting but fun,” says Rathe.
Having lived her calling as an art dealer for 18 years, Rathe has transitioned from working out of her home to owning three galleries—two in Houston and one in the heart of the Dallas Design District on Dragon Street.
“I think in the past, many galleries were intimidating to people,” adds Rathe. “I have changed that paradigm. My staff and I are extremely personable, and we like to educate. We want the process to be not only interesting, but also engaging.” When you walk into Laura Rathe Fine Art in Dallas, you’ll meet Janice Meyers, the gallery director who has worked in the art world for more than 28 years. She and Auriel Garza will show you around the gallery as you peruse paintings, sculptures and mixed media art by contemporary— living—professional artists at the height of their careers. While the gallery’s stable of artists is a dynamic group, their common thread is their technical skill. Rathe explains, “I feel like no matter if they’re a collage artist, a painter or a sculptor there has to be a certain level of technical skill that’s visible in the work.”
Some of the most well-known artists Rathe represents are Hunt Slonem, Lucrecia Waggoner, Meredith Pardue, Roi James and Matt Devine. Whether these names are familiar or completely obscure to you makes no difference to Rathe and her staff. They feel it is your personal reaction that should drive you to purchase a work of art.
“I don’t believe that art should have to be explained to you,” Rathe argues. “I feel like you should be able to look at a work of art, and it should just strike and deeply resonate with you. And you should absolutely love it. That should be the basis of why you collect and bring it into your life.”
When you find something that captivates you, the staff will bring it to your home for you to try on approval.
“We believe the best way to make a decision is to be able to view the artwork in your home,” says Rathe. She and her staff consult clients on the scale, frame and lighting, but always defer to the client for the ultimate decision.
Laura Rathe Fine Art is also a great resource for designers, who make up about half of the gallery’s business. “Designers are extremely educated,” she explains. “We’re their partner in helping them find art that complements the aesthetics they have established with their clients.”
Not only is Laura Rathe Fine Art a place for people to view and collect art, but it is also a place for people to learn about art. About every six weeks the gallery hosts an artist reception that features a new body of work by an artist. Also, once each quarter, Laura Rathe Fine Art hosts an educational program called “Create, Curate, Collect.” The gallery brings in a prominent artist, a designer and a museum curator to shed new light on each field and how they intersect. “We bring all three together in one evening to talk about all of the different angles of the art world,” says Rathe. It’s just one more way Laura Rathe Fine Art works to make art relatable, attainable and engaging.
Krista Franks Brock is a Dallas-based freelance writer and editor who enjoys writing about art and design. For more information, visit kristafranksbrock.wordpress.com.