We sat down with art dealer, advisor, and self-confessed auction devotee Sarah Fletcher at her eclectic, perfectly imperfect Melbourne home, to ask her how she approaches collecting, and what she is looking for next.

Sarah’s Schneider glass lamp sits on her desk alongside an armchair also sourced at Leonard Joel

Could you tell us a little bit about your consultancy service Fletcher Arts?
At Fletcher Arts, we connect artists with space, working with architects, property developers, interior designers and private collectors to enliven their spaces with art. We sell the individual works of artists we believe in, which are current and of very high artistic merit. We charge an old school percentage on works, much less than commercial galleries, so that these artists can survive and continue to work. This is very important to us.

How do you approach selecting a piece of art for a space or client?
The space itself often dictates this. I particularly like the contrasting of periods. Placing a contemporary artwork within a period space, for instance, creates extraordinary dynamics. It brings a dialogue that makes one consider the vastness of time and difference, and yet displays the qualities that each have in common. Time is not so much the issue, only quality and depth. Each makes the other shine.

A chess set by Peter D Cole and Richard Stringer’s “Architectural element”

What is your approach to collecting – what do you look for when you add a piece to your home?
I have never thought of it as collecting, as such. I follow the Leonard Joel Auctions online and visit regularly. Although I may think I need a chair, I may fall in love with a mirror. Artists, furniture makers, and all artisans put their life into the making of their work. It is often breathtaking what people have invested; they shred flesh to add something beautiful and meaningful to the world. In some ways, we respect that in acquiring their work and giving it a home. I like that idea.

What do you love about buying at auction?
Of course, there is something of the chase, but there is also the disappointment of a loss. On occasion, you see something in a work that no-one has spotted; much of that is a personal connection which is not always logical.

A stone angel sourced at Leonard Joel alongside a collage by Carlo Golin and “Neon Cross” by Sanja Pahoki

Your home is a visual feast! Tell us a bit about your decorating process. 
It is something in continual movement. It is about living with the works, it’s not a fixed museum but something with a life of its own.

What is one piece in your home that is particularly meaningful to you?
I am particularly fond of this Schneider glass lamp from the early 1900s that I discovered at Leonard Joel. It appears to be a dolphin, but the form doesn’t matter, as an object – a lamp on my desk – it works for me. It has lyrics, it is quiet, and it is beautifully made. To me, the key is finding the right piece that can just relax into the right space.

Is there anything you are currently on the lookout for to add to your collection?
I would love a Hermès library ladder with studded leather binding – they pop up at Leonard Joel here and there. They are so beautifully hand crafted and iconic, it is a kick-yourself/why-didn’t-I moment that I know I am going to have one day!

What advice do you have for those looking to add new artworks to their collection?
Trust yourself now. You will always change and grow but this cannot happen unless you sit with artwork and let it speak.

July 2021