We are excited to present you this week’s Frank Talk with Antonio DeJesus, who is the Head of the Fitting Department for Lowy. Lowy is America’s premier fine art services firm that has been a leader in framing, conservation and collection care needs since 1907. Antonio comes from a family of art conservators and began his career as a conservation framer in the Netherlands. Antonio has developed several unique conservation framing techniques and is happy to share his knowledge with those of us in the fine art world. Please enjoy this week’s Frank Talk with Antonio below!
What was your first job in the Arts?
Being raised by a family of luthiers, paper makers and art conservators I was related to certain art forms since my childhood but I officially started my career as a conservation framer in a small shop in the Netherlands in 2001.
What was the most useful or important thing you learned at that job?
The most important thing I gathered in that position was detail orientation and team work.
Tell us a little more about yourself. When did you realize you wanted to pursue a career in this industry?
The story embedded in every piece of art, and being part of preserving its legacy that will transcend generations to come, and for the understanding of the human soul through art is reason enough for being motivated to get involved in conservation framing.
What do you do now?
I currently work at Lowy as a conservation fitter in the fitting department.
Where are you from?
The Dominican Republic.
What is the arts community like there?
A little bit of everything! Art is more focused on colorful paintings that depict our social life conditions.
Has where you come from shaped what you do in the arts today?
What actually shaped my approach in the industry was the need for proper preservation of the pieces my father used to paint and/or draw on handmade paper in his shop and the temperature changes in the Caribbean are rather fluctuating and unpredictable.
What is one of your greatest accomplishments in your career so far?
The creation and development of a few hinging systems which allow paper pieces to expand and contract freely on adverse or sudden changes in outside environments. Among them — Kodiak, shitake and edge mounting.
What has been a challenge for you?
Becoming the fitting department’s manager of one of the oldest and most relevant framing and restoration companies in the industry, adapting to its demanding quality standards and understanding every department’s needs and processes in a short period of time.
What is something you do every day at work?
Managing the Lowy database so that the myriad of incoming art, frames and their components are always properly accounted for.
Tell us about how you got into what you do?
I went to visit some relatives in the Netherlands….
What is one of the things most crucial to your practice?
A good translation of the salesperson’s requests and suggestions on any given project. Caring and respecting each and every work of art as if it were one of a kind and never cutting corners on this regard.
What is something that you would like to share about working in your field?
This is a wonderful journey, working directly with unique creations makes me very proud of what I do.
Are there any tips you can give people working in the department you do?
Staff members are subject to the staff rules and regulations which provide for employee standards relating to integrity and professionalism. Basic understanding of other department’s ways makes for a better communication whenever understanding is required.
What is the best exhibition you have seen in the last year?
Joan Miró The birth of the world at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Lastly, if you could own a work by 5 different artists, who would be in your collection?
Lucian Freud, Gustav Klimt, Joan Miró, Vincent Van Gogh, and Fernand Léger.