Kallos Gallery

1. Tell us about Kallos Gallery. 

Kallos Gallery is the world’s only commercial gallery to specialise exclusively in the art of the ancient Greek world. Founded in 2014 by Baron Lorne Thyssen-Bornemisza. Kallos Gallery offers for sale some of the most arresting and best-preserved artworks from the ancient Greek world, of a quality rarely seen outside the world’s greatest museums.The gallery takes its name from the ancient Greek word for ‘beauty’.

2. How does the Gallery come by the greatest available masterworks of Greek Antiquity ?

The gallery’s founder, Baron Thyssen, is himself a renowned collector from a family of celebrated collectors. His extensive experience and wide-ranging private contacts among high-end collectors facilitated the sourcing of the world-class artworks with which the gallery opened, and continue to provide important avenues for new acquisitions. As the gallery’s director, I build on these relationships with private collectors, well-established dealers, and leading academics from my own fields of expertise, to maintain a formidable network for securing the very best, museum-quality pieces.

3. Out of everything the Kallos Gallery ever displayed in its space, which piece was the most iconic ?

Our collection currently includes an exquisite Geometric Bronze Horse Votive — a real masterpiece in miniature. It is an iconic piece for the gallery as our logo is a stylised Geometric horse, chosen to emphasise the beauty, formal elegance, and power that characterise ancient Greek art. Another favourite of mine is a majestic Archaic Korē (maiden) sculpted and fired in terracotta. This is a cult statue, and it preserves remnants of the original rich colour, giving us a rare glimpse of ancient vibrancy. She has a real presence and embodies timeless beauty.


4. Give us some insight into the current state of the Ancient Art market ?

Many collectors are enticed by the chance to own a piece of history, and to delve into the fascination of a bygone culture. A substantial proportion begin as collectors of modern and contemporary art and later discover an appreciation for the ancient, and have the vision to juxtapose these different times and disciplines in their homes and lives.

" Museum-quality works of ancient art are available to these collectors for a fraction of the cost of top-flight modern and contemporary one. Some are savvy enough to take advantage of the market while it remains so relatively undervalued. "

5. Do you see this trend changing in the next 5 to 10 years? If yes, why ?

We live in challenging times, and the circumstances for collecting or dealing in ancient art are likewise anything but simple. The western museums that have cut themselves out of the market for the past forty-odd years seem finally, however, to be growing tired of the outmoded thinking and flawed ethics that led them to that position.

" I anticipate a significant shift to come in museum politics, and hopefully in global politics as well — a pragmatic shift towards a more realistic approach to treating the ‘found’ objects of our shared past, and to conserving cultural heritage together rather than as individual nations. "

This can only be a good thing for the market, as museums re-join private collectors in acquiring the most important ancient objects.

6. What would you say are the difficulties when it comes to dealing with Ancient Art ?

Ancient art is often thought to have a steeper learning curve: not everyone is a specialist or a student of ancient history, and many think — wrongly — that they need to be in order to appreciate these beautiful objects. But beauty is timeless, and learning can only ever enhance our appreciation of it. All dealers have also to face the political concerns of our times, and questions of the modern provenance of their objects. We for instance, work closely with organisations such as The Art Loss Register, and police art-theft teams and registries in this country and others, to corroborate the provenance for the objects we acquire. Both in these matters and in those of connoisseurship or authenticity, we do extra due diligence with our connections to independent experts and specialists and to those in leading academic institutions.


7. Does the possibility of forgeries remain of high concern ? 

The vast majority of wonderful objects in legal circulation are what they seem, but collectors of any kind of art always need to be cautious of forgeries. Authenticity is a serious issue, but that is where a trusted dealer ought to earn his keep. Dealers have the opportunity to handle more objects in a year than many academics will in a lifetime; and the best double verify their own connoisseurship and expertise by having their objects examined by other leading experts, and where possible materials-tested for authenticity.

8. The Kallos Gallery is dedicated to hosting educational events and discussion forums. What have been the highlights of your event program so far ?

We are committed to bringing ancient Greek art to wider public attention and exploring its relevance to our contemporary world. To celebrate our exhibition this past autumn, Amaranthine: Flowers of Hellenic Adornment, we hosted a fantastic discussion between the world’s leading expert in ancient jewellery, Dr Jack Odgen, and the contemporary jewellery designer Ines Nieto, who takes her inspiration from the classical world. It was a wonderful way to explore the enduring elements of ancient Greek design and how the techniques and market for jewellery have changed over time. Our other key events have included a range of musical performances, plays, academic lectures, and invited dinners and receptions around our exhibitions.

We also run a unique outreach programme inviting schoolchildren and adult learners to engage with these incredible artworks, and with the cultural heritage of ancient Greece. Our Education and Outreach Officer, Paul O’Mahony, hosts a busy calendar of school groups at the gallery. We provide the opportunity to get close to ancient art, to handle some rare and extraordinary artefacts, and to learn about the craftsmanship, history, and mythology behind each of them. Fostering the continued appreciation of ancient Greek art and history amongst a new generation of enthusiasts is a hugely rewarding part of what we do.

Image: Kelmscott School Visit © Alex Brenner 

9. How do you see the future of the Kallos Gallery ?

We are very excited to showcase our collection for the first time at Frieze Masters this October. In the future we intend to exhibit at a number of European fairs, with a goal of bringing a steady stream of new audiences to the gallery and to the wonders of ancient Greek art, alike.

Dr Glenn Lacki, Director of Kallos Gallery
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