Icons of American Art with Jason Schoen

A passionate Art dealer in the pursuit of National Treasures

Sonia Tita Puopolo talks to Jason Schoen


 I have been traveling, researching, and looking for so many years; people trust me. I keep everything confidential, including the name of my clients, and I handle artworks priced from several thousands to eight figures.

Jason Schoen, a veteran art dealer and art consultant of American Art from 1850 to 1950 is widely recognized for his level of connoisseurship and expertise in American Art. Galleries, museums and collectors worldwide have consulted with Schoen to build art collections and locate significant works of art for more than 25 years.

Currently, Schoen’s passion is to share his expertise and advise others in the pursuit of American Art Treasures, using one of the largest privately owned American Art libraries in the United States, at his fingertips.

SP How do you work as an art consultant and private art dealer?

JS I work closely with all my clients and I currently advise several collectors who are building important museum quality collections of American Art. My collector base is located throughout the United States, and I have an ever changing inventory of museum quality American Art available for acquisition. I also offer an art advisory service where I locate works which fit the perimeters of an art collection best. This includes locating works prior to being on the open market and advising on artwork at auction. I work within a collector’s framework and consistently have available high quality, historical material presented with a fresh sensibility.

SP Where do you acquire or find great works of art?

JS That is my secret. I have been traveling, researching, and looking for so many years; people trust me. I keep everything confidential, including the name of my clients, and I handle artworks priced from several thousands to eight figures.

SP What do you think of acquiring artworks at auctions?

JS Auctions are popular because it is about the thrill of the chase and the action it presents. Auctions are about opportunity, they are not about a relationship. Many works that appear at auction have issues, and they are not readily apparent. This is why it is important to work with an art consultant before and during the sale.

For example, I have a client who collects African-American art. I was able to identify a condition problem of a painting he wanted to acquire at auction. I recommended to him not to bid on it because the work had a condition problem that was not restorable. The private collector loves me! This particular time. I saved him $50,000 and charged him only a consultation fee. Now, he buys through me and I have managed to find him paintings both in the private and open market. We have a great relationship of trust and confidence which is pivotal.

SP What are your thoughts regarding the current art market as an investment?

JS The contemporary art market is very hot, and many people in the know feel that there is a higher element of risk, speaking in broad terms. One area of contemporary art that I specialize in is African American Art, vintage and contemporary, and while on one hand, I believe that currently there is a huge upside potential in it.

On the other hand, historical American art represents perhaps a greater value and more solid investment. For example, the artwork from the American Scene movement is now being collected nationwide. There has been intense activity from the museums, who are usually the “behind the scene collectors” who often acquire artworks they feel they will not be able to afford in a later date. American art 1930-1950 (including regionalism, surrealism, magic realism, social realism) has significant upside potential as the work is in the history books and has been receiving national and international recognition due to its very unique American subject matter.

SP What exactly is the American Scene Movement?

JS It is an umbrella term, which defines an art movement of national significance that focused on painting America from 1930-1950. The movement was very diverse in styles of painting and some of our most important American artists are identified with the era, Thomas Hart Benton, William Gropper, Charles Burchfield, Raphael Soyer, Grant Wood, Paul Cadmus, Alexandre Hogue, Charles Sheeler, to name a few. There is a great diversity of styles as epitomized by Magic-Realism and Surrealism. There is a home grown version of surrealism which has a distinct American identity.

SP Can you give our readers an idea of the costs of some of these works? I am familiar with Edward Hopper from the American Scene movement and his exhibition at the Tate Museum in London last year. Our readers may not be familiar with this group of artists as a national movement.

JS There are many important artists who may not currently have the name recognition of Edward Hopper, yet will have much more recognition in the future. Doris Lee for example according to Life magazine was the forth most popular artist working America in the 1930s. Remember during that period there was a national renaissance and a rebirth of the craft of painting. Though major Edward Hopper paintings are now $20 million and higher in price, you can still find museum quality paintings by American masters from $35,000 to $800,000. This will change in the near future and those paintings will become much harder to locate and more valuable.

SP How specifically can you identify those areas which are growing in stature and value?

JS The assessment of and valuation of American art is multi-faceted. It involves the historical importance of the artist and his standing in an art movement, as seen through the lens of the connoisseur and art historian. Further aspects to look at, include: how the artist is perceived by the museum establishment, his inclusion in museum collections, publications sponsored by museums, the scale and exhibition history of the artist, how an artist exhibition has been historically reviewed by art critics, art historians and the public. Another area which is growing is historic Florida art. The values have increased in some cases 100 fold in a short period of time.

SP Do you have an open gallery space?

JS As a private art dealer and consultant, I have a secured location where I show art by appointment. My client base is nationwide and my search is worldwide so I travel a lot. Yet, I am available by both telephone and email.

Jason Schoen LLC, Fine Art is located at Union Planters Bank Building, 1221 Brickell Avenue, Suite 900, Miami Florida 33131. Office phone number: 305.858.4887, direct: 305.335.7162. jasonschoen@aol.com.www.jasonschoenfinearts.com. By appointment only.