My House: Preston Fitzgerald, an art and antiques collector who's turned his home into a pop-up exhibition space for young artists

 
Steve Hogarty
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Words: Preston Fitzgerald, as told to Steve Hogarty (Source: Greg Sigston)

I’ve been living in London with my partner for 21 years now, having moved here from New York City. I had come from a sales background, but left that behind when I went back to school to get my postgraduate degree in art history. When I began working at Sotheby’s in furniture and contemporary design, I got the bug for working in the art world rather than in finance.

Now our house is filled with art and antiques, containing more than 90 paintings and 45 objects collected over the last 18 years. We were first drawn to the place by the really high ceilings and gradually we put pictures up. Later we started running exhibitions, too. We’ve had shows with Flow Gallery in Notting Hill, and The Cynthia Corbet Gallery. I’ve also curated and judged the Maylis Grand Young Masters Ceramic Prize.

I work with young emerging artists – particularly in ceramics and glass, and in particular students from the Royal College of Art – helping to curate shows and get their careers launched. My home becomes a pop-up exhibition once a year, where I bring in curators, dealers, galleries and collectors to try to help students get to the next level. I’ve always had a love of contemporary art and craft design, even back when I worked in antiques at Sotheby’s auction house. Every year I go to the graduate student exhibitions, where I can buy work from young artists and incorporate it into the flat. It shows that you can exhibit contemporary art in a home environment rather than in just a plain white box.


The south facing drawing room on the ground floor allows for plenty of light

It’s great to see how up-and-coming artists respond to and experiment with this environment. The second year students are especially interesting, as they’re developing a look and style that they’ll adapt to make site-specific pieces that eventually become the type of work they do in their graduate exhibition.

This place lends itself beautifully to art and to artists. I can hardly imagine how empty it will feel when we pull all of our stuff out, but it will be a lovely blank canvas for someone to do the next thing with.

Wetherby Gardens in South Kensington is on sale for £2.95m. Visit struttandparker.com

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