A conversation with art collector Robert Mollers

Pleasure, curiosity, intellectual stimulation, and a bit of insanity are keywords in Chicago-based collector Robert Mollers’ art collection. It all started with daily visits to the local art museum during the lunch breaks in his college days in the 1960s, which soon after led him to purchase his first artwork. Since then, his collection has been in constant movement, formed by the drive of his curiosity.

Name: Robert Mollers
City: Chicago, USA
When did you start collecting: Mid 1970s
Number of artwork in collection: 250

Joyce Pensato
Joyce Pensato

What is your earliest memory of art, and what led you to start collecting it
Visiting the art museum almost daily during my lunch break while working at a law firm during my college days. A fellow graduate student worked at a gallery and suggested we should visit it. We acquired our first contemporary work from that gallery a few months later.

What is the main motivation behind your collecting?
Pleasure, curiosity, intellectual stimulation, and a bit of insanity.

Is there a unifying element in your art collection?
We acquire works by living artists that will be placed in museum collections.

Is there a piece in your collection you have a particularly strong attachment to?
My wife’s portrait by Ed Paschke painted in 1975.

Ed Paschke
Stanley Whitney
Stanley Whitney
André Butzer
Jon Pestoni

How important is it for you to meet the artist behind the artwork?
It is not very important but something we do not avoid it.

Are there any particular artists who play a significant role in your collection and whose development you have followed closely?
Araki, Wolfgang Tillmans, Ruff, and so many others

How is the online art market evolving in your eyes?
Increasing in importance but it cannot replace viewing work in person

Where do you think the future of the art world is headed?
Mega galleries will continue to dominate sales, expansion of internet usage will increase while there will be a decrease of printed art magazines, journals, and reviews, and way too many additional art fairs.

Josephine Pryde
Wolfgang Tillmanns
Sadie Benning

TOP 3 

Describe your collection in three words
Colorful. Happy. Sexy.

Top three pieces of advice for new collectors
1. LOOK at art as much as possible, meet artists and dealers while visiting galleries and museums, and possibly join a museum collector group in your community.
2. LEARN by using art websites, get on email lists from galleries to receive announcements and invites, and expand your experiences by going to other cities and art fairs.
3. ACQUIRE a work and live with it.

Top three art destinations
New York, London, and Cologne

Three inspiring artists to watch
Paul Housley, Michael Bauer, and Jonas Weichsel.

Marit Følstad
Spencer Finch
Claude Viallat