We sat down with Senior Vice President and Department Head of European Art & Old Masters David Weiss to answer our burning questions (you may recognize him from Antiques Roadshow). Read on to learn about his path to Freeman’s, what book he’s currently reading, and his favorite art period.
Introduce yourself! Your full name (embarrassing middle names and nicknames included), and job title:
David Mitchell Weiss, Senior Vice President
How long have you been at Freeman’s?
Since autumn 2002
What was your path to getting here? (Where did you work/study previously)
I attended a graduate art program in the UK post-college, went to law school (for one year). I worked for an art dealer, and then for another auction house for over 10 years.
What first attracted you to your current field? Was there a specific work of art that initially sparked your interest?
I was accepted to art school, but did not attend. I always loved fine art, and after college, found myself more attracted to the business/transactional/commercial aspect of the art field.
Where do you live (city/neighborhood)? If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I live in Center City, Philadelphia. If I could live anywhere in the world? Probably London.
Favorite artwork Freeman’s has sold?
“Blue and Opal – The Photographer”, a watercolor on paper by James Abbott McNeill Whistler, sold for $469,000. A gem of a picture by one of the most important figures in 19th century painting.
Favorite artwork you own? How did you acquire it?
I do not have a favorite. I have a potpourri of eclectic works in various media, most dating from the second half of the 20th century.
Have you ever bought anything at an auction here at Freeman’s?
Yes, a pair of ‘C-print’ photographs by contemporary Japanese photographer Katsuhiko Hibino.
If you didn’t work in your current department, in which other department at Freeman’s would you most want to work? (Applicable skillset not a prerequisite!)
American Art & Pennsylvania Impressionists
What’s the last great exhibit you saw? (When, where)
“Max Beckmann in New York” at the Met
What book are you currently reading?
“The Orange Balloon Dog: Bubbles, Turmoil and Avarice in the Contemporary Art Market” by Don Thompson
Favorite book (fiction or non-fiction) about art?
“Breakfast at Sotheby’s: An A-Z of the Art World” by Philip Hook
Favorite museum in Philadelphia?
The Philadelphia Museum of Art
Favorite museum anywhere in the world?
Musée du Louvre
You’re hosting a dinner party, and can invite any three celebrities (artists, authors, actors, etc.), living or dead. Who do you pick?
Ambroise Vollard, Pablo Picasso, and Sigmund Freud (and David Bowie if I can add a fourth)
A friend is visiting Philadelphia for the first time and only has two days. What sights—museums, galleries, restaurants, shopping—do you recommend?
A visit to the Barnes Foundation, a meal at Volver restaurant, cheesesteaks from Pat’s, and, of course, you have to see the Liberty Bell.