Rafael Valls

Opened in 1976 by Rafael Valls and his wife Carole, the gallery was first established in Bury Street, later moving to Ryder Street. It then settled on Duke Street where it is still today. From the very beginning, Rafael Valls focuses on Old Master Paintings – Dutch, Flemish and Spanish paintings from the 16th to the 19th centuries. The gallery is a member of The Society of London Art Dealers.

Rafael Valls

Opened in 1976 by Rafael Valls and his wife Carole, the gallery was first established in Bury Street, later moving to Ryder Street. It then settled on Duke Street where it is still today. From the very beginning, Rafael Valls focuses on Old Master Paintings – Dutch, Flemish and Spanish paintings from the 16th to the 19th centuries. The gallery is a member of The Society of London Art Dealers.

Practical info

Antique Art

11 Duke Street, St. James’s
London SW1Y 6BN
United Kingdom

+44 207 930 1144
[email protected]

Brimo de Laroussilhe
Saint Francis in the Deser

Giovanni Bellini (ca. 1430/35-1516)
Circa 1476 – 1478
Oil on panel
Panel: 124,6 x 142cm (49 1/16 x 55 7/8 in.)
Frick Collection (1915.1.03)

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Interview with Toby Campbell ~ Director

Marie-Amélie Carlier. Brimo de Laroussilhe

Toby Campbell in Rafael Valls Ltd.

For about 25 years, Rafael Valls puts an emphasis on museum-quality Master Paintings. Besides the expensive works that have built its strong reputation, the gallery also offers more affordable and still lovely pieces to meet the demand of young collectors. I have spoken with Toby Campbell, Director of the gallery, about his background, the gallery and the antique art market.

artfairmag: Toby, for those who don’t know you, who are you and how did antique art come to you?

Toby Campbell: I am a Director of Rafael Valls Ltd and have been there for over 20 years. I first worked for Rafael Valls in my gap year having gained a passion for Art at school and realised that this was what I wanted to do.

artfairmag: The gallery’s offer within the Old Master Paintings is quite broad. In addition to your core specialty – Dutch, Flemish and Spanish paintings – you often present English and French 18th and 19th century works. How do you choose the paintings you sell?

T. C.: You are right, we do have a very eclectic taste over our core areas. We like to choose paintings we would happily like to own ourselves. Another key ingredient to them is condition and quality. We do not worry if the artist is not well known. If the painting appeals to us and it falls within our criteria then we will try to buy it.

artfairmag: The gallery has built an enviable reputation by its high-quality paintings that have all been carefully selected. Who can afford them? Are they private collectors or institutions?

T. C.: We are lucky to deal with private collectors from many countries around the world as well as many large and smaller institutions. We try to be affordable to anyones budget who is looking for a good painting.

“We like to choose paintings we would happily like to own ourselves. Another key ingredient to them is condition and quality.”

artfairmag: You organise once a year an exhibition to present artworks under £15.000. Can you explain what motivated this brilliant initiative?

T. C.: As I mentioned before we are not afraid to buy something by a very minor painter if it is exceptional and this is what motivated this idea. We felt that too many really good paintings go ignored because they are not by a recognised name. It is also trying to encourage anyone to look (established and new collectors) and see what we have and to feel that they can afford or are buying a really good painting.

artfairmag: Speaking of exhibitions, are the works presented in your thematic exhibitions – such as Sex & Sensuality in 2018, for example – all from your own stock or do you use loans?

T. C.: We try to use our own stock as the genesis of the idea of the exhibition and then bolster it with loans from colleagues. We used to try and obtain loans from institutions, but it has become too costly to continue with that sadly.

artfairmag: On your website, visitors can explore the gallery, discover selected works and see paintings from past exhibitions. You seem to be in phase with the digitalization that is taking place in the art market with the current health crisis. Do you think the profession of art dealer will have to evolve in the next few years?

T. C.: Digitaliztion has always been an important part of our business and this crisis has only increased the pace of development. I am convinced it will develop further in the coming years. I don’t think though that digital art fairs will ever replace the physical art fair.

artfairmag: Last but not least, could you present a painting that is special for you?

T. C.: I have always loved Giovanni Bellini’s St Francis in the Frick. It is a jaw dropping painting so full of incident and beauty you can stare at it for months and still find something new every time.

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Tomasso Brothers Fine Art is specialized in high-quality European Sculpture from the early Renaissance to the Neo-Classical period, with a strong focus on Renaissance bronzes.

Brimo de Laroussilhe

Founded in 1908 and now directed by Marie-Amélie Carlier, Brimo de Laroussilhe is a Parisian gallery which focuses on the arts of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

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