Art Collector Anatol Pedan

I feel some sort of vibe, some sort of radiance coming from the picture. When a work comes to me, I put it in front of me to a special place to figure out whether it’s going to be on the wall or going to the storage. And I watch it for days, some even for months. It’s not like I’m studying it with a magnifier... No, I am just watching it, trying to understand what kind of emotion it is arousing. It happens that I am waking up in the middle of the night, because the vibe coming from the painting is so powerful I can’t even sleep. And this vibe can be either positive or negative.

A friend of mine, a dowser, says that it is very important not to store oil paintings horizontally, because not everyone is able to stand energy coming from paintings.

Aleksei Bogoliubov. View of Palermo. 1855. Oil on canvas. Collection of Anatol Pedan

Why not horizontally?

Presumably, in this case, the radiation emanates the wrong way. This effect mostly refers to the works in oil technique. Graphic art, pastel works and aquarelles can be stored in maps, yet all the paintings in my collection right now are kept vertically.

Well, sometimes I wake up somehow anxious from this vibe – it is not necessarily negative, but very strong. A Latvian collector Janis Zuzans, our Latvian Tretyakov, a man of taste and generous spirit, is someone I discuss such things with, and he once told me that works can be covered by a cloth for the night, the same way you cover a parakeet cage. And I swear, this is true – a true masterpiece in some delicate way directly interacts with a human.  

Once I purchased the work of Konstantin Visotsky named “Bisons”, which was restored for me, same as many other works, by Natalia Kurganova, Highest category restorer from the Museum of Foreign Art. So, I have put it on the wall, planning to keep it there for few days and then to replace it with something else. I tried to change it, I have put different other works there, but brought it back in few days. Sometimes a strong interaction with the paintings happens to be. Other works, again, keep changing.

Has your professional life always been tied to collecting?

In Soviet times any kind of collecting was not welcome at all. I was a member of Riga City Collectors’ Society, the official organisation, and still collecting could only be viewed as a leisure activity, outside of working hours. I received a technical degree and spent many years in the energy engineering industry: I have worked for quite a while in Latvenergo. Already when Latvia had regained its independence I have made a decision to fully commit to art. At first, I did the expert evaluation of art pieces until mid 1990-ties, then I realized that it is the best for me to work alone and not being distracted by anyone else. At that time the vector of my collecting began to set.


Janis Plepis. The Event. 1931. Watercolour on paper. Collection of Anatol Pedan

I have to say that already before that, in Soviet times, fate brought me into contact with large scale collectors – not middlemen, not art dealers, but true collectors. One of them was, for example, Alexander Perelman from Leningrad, the collector of playing cards and card games attributes: we all have been keen of playing card battles. He had rather many paintings on that subject. A. Perelman was working as the chief of the technical division of  “Aurora” publishing house which released classy art catalogues, I usually received those from him. Later his collection was donated by his spouse to the Benois Family Museum in Petergoph. This museum doesn’t even have to be sponsored by state since there is persistent interest towards this collection.

Aleksandr Kramarev. Poster for Maikapar Tobacco Factory (2nd version). 1923. Tempera on cardboard. Collection of Anatol Pedan

During one of the meetings I got acquainted with Ilya Silberstein, whose motto “True collecting is creating” has also become a core motif of the book dedicated to my collection. I. Silberstein is the venerable collector, doctor of arts, he established the Museum of  Private Collections in Moscow, next door to the Pushkin Fine Arts Museum. He told me back then: “Young man, you should collect only the pieces you like.” This resonated with what I thought myself. >>