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Ritums Ivanovs. Portrait. 2008, oil on canvas, 115 x 108 cm

I must admit that in this time of electronic communications, the process is simple. When a certain piece is of interest, an agreement of acquisition follows.

Have there been situations when you didn't get a longed-for piece of art?

There have been times when agreement couldn't be reached; sometimes, a person understands only at the last minute that they are not ready to part with their piece. Of course, I would have wanted this piece... You see, the more contact you have with art, the more you look at it – the more it tells you. There are times, when looking at a picture, you can feel the author's emotions at the time of the work's creation, the state of his soul. Especially looking at J. Pauļuks' works, you can tell if the artist was depressed, in positive ecstasy, or maybe just drunk. But, if you can't get the piece, you just don't...

Is this “feeling” of the artist's emotions the deciding factor in the acquisition of the work of art in question?

Mostly, it's whether the work speaks to you, or it doesn't. Of course, art as an investment factor has weight as well. In economic crises, a work of art doesn't loose its value. But at the same time, if something happens, you won't be able to carry the work with you, not very far anyway... Just as significant is the collector's way of thinking. Sometimes a piece may not speak to you, but you know that it is needed to create an anthology of the represented artist's work. Taking this factor into account can lead to the decision to acquire the piece.  

Which piece do you believe is the masterpiece of your collection, and why?

A clear answer is hard to give. Personally, the Riga Artist Group's working period is closest to me. My collection has very rare pieces from the works of Uģis Skulme and Voldemārs Tone. I take great pride in these pieces. They are worthy of museum exhibits.

In turn, from the postwar period artists I have three favorites – Boriss Bērziņš, Jānis Pauļuks and Auseklis Baušķenieks. Each one is completely different. (On the walls of Jānis Zuzāns' office, where the interview is taking place, are works by A. Baušķenieks and B. Bērziņš).

Which of your latest acquisitions are you most happy about?

A recently acquired work by Ivars Poikāns – ironic, a little cynical and amusing.

What are the emotional and artistic forms of expression that always speak to you directly?

It's different with every artist. One plays around with form, another with color, another with tonality.