Spotlight By Sharman Andersen
©Alex Webb, Courtesy Robert Klein Gallery
The Fine Art of Photography
Since 1980, Robert Klein, MBA’79, has owned and operated the Robert Klein Gallery, an extensive and ever-changing inventory of fine art photography.
Though the gallery is based on Boston’s fabled Newbury Street, Klein’s clientele extends to places such as Stockholm, Sweden; Odessa, Ukraine; and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He travels frequently for appraisals, auctions, art fairs, and trade shows.
Dealing in art is not like dealing in commodities, says Klein. “The collector is buying into history, an idea of the evolution of human thought.” Galleries promote artists—living or dead—who are in demand or who are the subject of current museum shows or of newly printed books of collected works. Galleries also help determine the market by participating in art fairs; for example, Klein has exhibited at the influential Paris Photo, Art Basel in Switzerland, and The Armory Show in New York.
When looking for new artists to represent, Klein seeks originality. “Everyone is capable of making a good photograph. However, it is extremely difficult to make a body of work that is indelibly identified with a particular personality,” Klein says. “The strength of that vision is what distinguishes a photographer of consequence from a weekend snapshot-taker.” What is important, he adds, is that the art is innovative, expresses an original idea, and elicits an emotional response. The 1979 Alex Webb shot (above), San Ysidro, California, says Klein, “is pure photojournalism artistically captured.”