Design & Decoration S04 ep14 : Mark Weiss, Weiss Gallery, [London]

Interview with Mark Weiss

The Weiss Gallery is the leading dealer in Tudor, Stuart and North European Old Master portraiture, and it is a pleasure to welcome you to our website where you will find an unequalled selection of historical portraits for sale. We would also encourage you to visit our splendid gallery, which is located at 59 Jermyn Street, in the heart of prestigious St James’s. Over the past decades, The Weiss Gallery has made many notable sales , which now grace distinguished private and public painting collections around the world. One of the gallery’s main strengths is its dedication to research. Indeed the many catalogues that we have produced over the years have become essential reading for scholars and collectors alike.


The Weiss gallery is my gallery, I'm Mark Weiss and I've been a specialist dealer in early
British portrait art ever since I started the gallery in London in 1985, but I've been an art dealer
some forty years now. 01:12

I started work with my parents, age nineteen. They are artists who became art dealers and it was
a family business, never thought about anything else and I had no intention of ever doing
anything else.This is what I was born to do. 01:31

I have a frustrated painter who through my business is able to enjoy a passion and the portraits
and the paintings that I deal in. I'm a very personal person, I enjoy people, art dealing is a very
social business so many of my clients become my friends, you know, I enjoy entertaining, I am
a great wine collector, I've got a collection of some sixteen thousand bottles. I travel
everywhere with wine. I'm quite renowned for my entertaining.02:04

My father also taught art at Art College, so I've just growing up around paintings. My father
was, you know, an intuitive art dealer as well. That's where I learnt my skills from him initially
and then developed my own skills and the business we see today is something that reflects
entirely my personality. 02:32

Henry Dunay Jewellery

These reflect the periods which I specialize in, which is English studio and portrait art. I will
say I deal in important master painters as well.02:52


The portrait that I find most interesting as for the period I deal in is the potential for discovery.
There are so many different entries for portrait. It could be obviously the sitter itself, it could be
the costume picture, it could be the history, the providence of the painting, it could be the artist.
For me there's been such scope for discovery, that's led me to make a lot of money out of the

Misidentify the sitter, misidentify the artist, for example, Henry the 8th there, I discovered the
providence of that which transformed the painting. Potentially it was worth a few hundred
thousand, now it's worth several million. The painting was painted for Elizabeth the 1st Great
favorites and champions for Henry Lee, for his house at Ditchling and Ditchling is famous as
the home of one of the great collections of historical portraits and we have the Ditchling list
with the first and actual portrait gallery and this is the Ditchling Henry,the 8th. 04:05

Henry Dunay Jewellery

A dealer can afford to spend a lot of time, well say afford, but by the nature of his skills, he
should spend a lotof time doing research, digging away, finding the history of a painting. Not
only those discovers comes from art archives, they also comes through the restoration, quite
often these pictures are being heavily over- painted over the centuries and in cleaning them, you
discover old inscriptions that may have been painted, olden dates, coats of arms, pictures could
be quite radically transformed and yea, that enables discovery.We have a very important early
portrait of James Seymour over there, which I bought at an auction; they thought it was a 19th
century copy. It looked heavily repainted and underneath all of those centuries of re-paint was a
picture dating from 1540. 05:08

That I knew from the providence of painting, that in all likelihood the picture would have been
that original. 05:24


That I specialize in mostly North European portraits art,so it's like a Dutch, Flemish, French and
English. 05:36

Henry Dunay Jewellery

I was very fortunate last year to handle one of the greatest painters of all time. A masterpiece
byFrans Hals, which again was a bit of a discovery and which was a huge success for me. It was
a portrait of a young man on panel and the most pristine state of preservation, completely
unrecorded, discovered in France, a little bit tried to buy, they had was to raise the funds. I
stepped in and acquired the painting and then we sold it to an American collector.06:14

The French have a system that takes several years for them to raise money and the owner wasn't
prepared to wait all that time to find out whether or not they would raise the money or not, so
he, we struck a deal.06:38

Success breeds success, so as our business grows, you know, we become more well known for
being successful in what we do, so more people approach us with paintings.

Henry Dunay Jewellery

But we were very fortunate couple years ago to have acquired a very important painting by Sir
Anthony Van Dyke mastered in San Sebastian which when discovered was a missing painting
from the Spanish Art collection, Escurial and we were very proud that the Spanish government
got back the picture back from us.

Like many art dealers we do like to discover Rembrandts that are unrecognized, oh yes,
absolutely, as we discovered with the Frans Hals, you know, there are still paintings out there
that are unknown and waiting to be discovered. 07:50

OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Mark Weiss, Weiss Gallery, London