Fine Art Collection Spotlight > Brett and Micol Karras of Kaysville, Utah, thoroughly enjoy the experience of collecting art together.
Micol caught the art bug early: when she was little, her grandmother owned the Parker Brothers board game Masterpiece: The Art Auction Game. She eagerly admired its paintings by such masters such as Degas, Van Gogh, and Matisse, and was, she recalls, “particularly drawn to Mary Cassatt’s ‘The Child’s Bath’, as there is something so tender and beautiful about a woman washing a child’s feet. Even then, I recognized the emotional connections that art can foster.”
Together Brett and Micol have purchased paintings, ceramics, and other artworks from galleries, fairs, charity events, co-ops, and the artists themselves. Most were made by artists who live locally, many of whom the couple have come to know. “On several occasions,” the Karrases add, “we have had the opportunity to host open houses for which the artists bring works to show our friends in an intimate setting.”
These events have been organized in cooperation with Jane Bell Meyer, who manages three leading galleries in Utah (Authentique, Illume, Mission). All of the get-togethers have offered “wonderful opportunities to speak with the artists and to explore their interests beyond art. The conversations have greatly increased our enjoyment of particular pieces as we learn the stories behind them and can share them later.”
The Karrases have also enjoyed meeting artists at galleries and exhibition openings; some — like John Berry — have become friends, and J. Kirk Richards once invited Micol to pose for one of the many figures in a painting.
Among the living artists represented in the Karras collection are Steven Lee Adams, Rhett Ashby, John Berry, Colleen Howe Bleinberger, Lorenzo Chavez, Travis Crowther, Keith Dabb, Rose Datoc Dall, Mark Fehlman, Aaron Fritz, Carole Gray, Jerry Hancock, Jeff Hepworth, Trenton Higley, J. Brad Holt, Brian Kershisnik, Emily Fox King, Todd Orchard, Kevin Parsons, Jeffery R. Pugh, Lori Putnam, Sandra Rast, J. Kirk Richards, Marty Ricks, Julie Rogers, Jack Sloan, Gary Ernest Smith, Steve Songer, Kathryn Stats, Mac Stevenson, Scott Wallis, Simon Winegar, and Joan B. Zone.
In addition, Micol and Brett have purchased paintings, sketches, etchings, pastels, jewelry, ceramics, and woodcarvings in Australia, Austria, France, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Mexico, and elsewhere.
The Karrases note that “we do not necessarily share the same taste.” Micol gravitates toward abstract images (like those by John Berry), while Brett prefers the more traditional, especially landscapes. “We have learned to compromise and take turns during our selection process,” they explain. “If one of us feels reluctant and the other absolutely loves it, it goes into the collection, and now we have so many paintings that we are expanding into other mediums.” Indeed, they once purchased a sculpture by J. Kirk Richards as a Christmas gift to themselves.
Today, “The collection seems to grow and have a life of its own,” Brett says. “We enjoy curating ‘gallery walls’ in our home, though — as for so many collectors — there is not nearly enough space.” Micol adds that their recent move to a new house was a great experience because “it was like having new paintings. Hanging them in a different space made us revisit what we love about them. Perhaps moving our artworks around every year is a good idea!”
Whatever their wall-hang may be, Micol and Brett Karras treasure the happy memories that every artwork brings, now and always.
This article was originally published in Fine Art Connoisseur magazine
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