Leonard Joel

The Half Century Rule


Recent private collections at Leonard Joel revealed something to me that I have never really thought about before, and that is that great collections really do require time to mature and crystallize the elements that make them ultimately so attractive. Half a century of committed collecting tends to ensure the fickle nature of the pursuit is resolved.

The Porter Collection in Adelaide revealed a fascinating example of world-collecting with a life of international travel. What this brought to the collection was just that. An international survey of furniture, jewels and objet that appealed to a broad taste and demographic.

While The De Stoop Collection, where three important Modern Australian paintings emerged, represented a perfect example of the benefits of connoisseurship. Where the collector is refined enough of eye to spot the best available, undistracted by the discounted options. This meant, half a century on, that the works were not just art market discoveries of immense public interest but, crucially, collector interest. And finally, The Hose Collection of Clocks reveals not just an example of giving oneself time to collect, but how that enables, with unwavering focus, the ability to collate a highly focused collection worthy of the description “historical retrospective”. In simpler terms, commit to collecting one type of thing well and for long enough and you will enjoy the status and attraction that comes with a collection that almost has a museum-quality about it.

All these three collections matured and grew over more than half a century and what they collectively say is that a global view, a commitment to connoisseurship and an unrelenting focus on the art of collecting, inevitably produce not just beguiling collections but valuable ones.


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