Customer in the spotlight: Samuel Vanhoegaerden

From Warhol, Bacon and Lichtenstein to Panamarenko, Dotremont and Ensor. Those who like to savour modern art should visit Samuel Vanhoegaerden in Knokke . In his gallery you can regularly admire exhibitions of the greats of the world. Not infrequently, those exhibitions are accompanied by an equally handsome art book. And not infrequently we get to print that!

Whence your fascination with modern art?

Samuel Vanhoegaerden: “In itself, I never intended to get into the art world. I studied economics and wanted to work in banking. Until I was introduced to modern art through my former father-in-law. Twenty years ago, I then started buying up small pieces myself. Initially I worked without a gallery, but after about four years I settled in Knokke. There you reach the right audience and have the opportunity to build long-term relationships.”

What determines whether or not to include an artwork in your collections?

Samuel Vanhoegaerden: “Because I purchase everything myself, I must first and foremost like a work myself. I always choose based on my own taste, historical importance and aesthetic value. Only when those three parameters are met do I include a work or collection in my gallery.”

A lot of solo exhibitions are accompanied by a beautiful matching catalog: why this love of art books?

Samuel Vanhoegaerden: “When I organize an expo, I want everything to be right. From the framing to the invitations, it was all very well thought out. When I exhibit a fine solo collection, I also often find it adds value to catalog those works. That approach also appeals to many people. The Codex Panamarenko from a few years ago, for example, is a sought-after book now. Just the other day it was offered for sale for 700 euros on an online auction site.”

How important is a good print partner to you?

Samuel Vanhoegaerden: “I myself know very well what I want. On every art book I have my own vision, but I also really like to be guided by people with expertise. I have known Buroform for more than twenty years now and know what to expect. There is that little extra possible. You can’t make many choices as an outsider if you don’t have a graphic design background. At Buroform I know that the work is professional and customer-oriented, which means that much more is possible. There is a very nice work ethic. A kind of sense of honor that I find in everyone involved in the printing process, from the designers who handle the layout to the people behind the printing press itself. Every employee is genuinely proud of their work and radiates it. That works very inspiring.”