Developing a personal art collection

Monica Kalpakian | Artvising
4 min readNov 24, 2021

While the art I have acquired over the years is diverse and has changed over time, one thing has remained consistent: I’m attracted to works of art that engage my mind, prompt intellectual inquiry, and create an emotional shift. I’m especially drawn to artists that explore complex and challenging feelings through their work. As a young girl I would seek out art that I thought beautiful and chose items based on their visual beauty. Now, I generally collect items that provoke me mentally.

Today, my art collection covers a broad form of media, from video installation to sculptures and paintings, photographs, and design furniture and objects. Here, I share some pieces from my personal collection, which exemplify the art I have grown to love on my journey as a collector. It is a passion of mine which I delight in sharing with my clients.

Every piece I add to my collection and choose to live with has a unique meaning to me, below I have selected a few of the pieces to explain why.

William de Kooning — Untitled draws me in as in the late 1950s, de Kooning’s work shifted away from the figurative work of women and he instead began to display an interest in more abstract, less representational imagery. l admire his departure and creativity, as well as his boldness in exploring a new brushstroke style. The strong colors in this artwork “Untitled” are vibrant. It evokes energy and excitement, something which I can relate to.

Louise Bourgeois — Femme sparks dialogue — is it a tongue or perhaps a woman’s body? It is up to the viewer to decide. I love how it is elegant, sensual, and feminine. Louise Bourgeois explored several themes over the course of her career, including domesticity, family, sexuality, and the human form. Seeing her works I can understand how she poured her internal conflicts into her artwork, confronting them rather than hiding from them. By doing this, she explored difficult and complex emotions and made them into beautiful objects.

Do Ho Suh — Specimen series, New York City apartment features a life-size sculpture made from polyester and silk thread, Do Ho Suh explores the idea of space, home, and displacement. He is interested in the malleability of space in both its physical and metaphorical forms, and examines how the body relates to, inhabits, and interacts with that space. Do Ho Suh is particularly interested in domestic space and the way the concept of home can be articulated through architecture that has a specific location, form, and history.

Do Ho Suh believes that the spaces we inhabit contain psychological energy, and in his work he makes visible those markers of memories, personal experiences, and a sense of security, regardless of geographic location. I am mesmerized by the use of sheer fabric, which is carefully sewn and embroidered, in this sculpture and the level of detail in each home object. At my home I display his representational parts of his home, from kitchen sinks to lamps and electrical fuses, all made to perfection.

I have admiration for Alexander Rodchenko — Spatial Construction №17 as his interest in mathematical systems reflects the scientific bent of the Russian constructivists, artists who aspired to create a radically new and rational art for the society that came into being with the Russian Revolution. Spatial Construction no. 17 from 1950, is a stage in Rodchenko’s progress away from conventional painting and toward an art taking place in space — ultimately, an art of social involvement. The work has no clear top or bottom, and no base to rest on. It is virtually weightless, with suspension and movement replacing mass. In short, it was designed to be everything traditional sculpture was not, to reimagine art from ground zero. The artist later reflected, “We created a new understanding of beauty, and enlarged the concept of art.” This artwork was made in the 1950s, yet it feels like it could have been created today, thanks to its modern and forward-thinking aesthetic.

Furniture by George Nakashima and Jean-Michel Frank’s furniture design is an important extension of my personal tastes as a collector. Artwork can also be functional, and furniture designers such as George Nakashima and Jean-Michel Frank demonstrate this aptly.A leading innovator of the 20th century, Nakashima’s design pieces expertely fuse art and function. The intention, expression and beauty of pieces like Nakashima’s minguren wood Japanese table cannot be missed. Many designers have copied his designs that he created some 50 years ago.

Another item of furniture that fuses art and function together is a treasured Jean-Michel Frank sofa. Made in 1920, the structure is still elegant in its line and form, and its red leather demonstrates a bold design aesthetic, especially considering the piece is more than 100 years old.

My personal experiences benefit me with an enhanced appreciation for my clients’ needs, and how an individual’s art journey tends to develop over the years as their relationship with art grows. As a collector I have prioritized acquiring artworks that challenge me, be it emotionally or intellectually, and I recognize the desire that my clients have to seek out works of art that provide this for them.

Over my 30-year career I have helped art enthusiasts start or add to an existing collection with thought-provoking artworks just like the works of art in my home. I deeply understand the thrill of finding a piece of work you connect with, and developing your own voice as a collector. I work tirelessly to introduce my clients to pieces they will treasure, and in turn secure these acquisitions for them so that their dream collections become a reality.

If you would like advice on acquiring sought-after works of art or how you can further enhance your private art collection, then please email



Monica Kalpakian | Artvising

Art collector for 30 years | Art Patron I Member @ Tate Modern, International Council @ Tate Modern | & Founder of Artvising