Cynthia Rowley

We sat down with designer and Exhibition A co-founder Cynthia Rowley to discuss collecting contemporary art. Here, she tells us about her very first score.

Art has always been a huge part of my life. I grew up in a family that encouraged creativity (we weren’t allowed coloring books because the lines were already there) and went to art school. I loved to learn about the history of art, and later, the sensational New York contemporary art world – the museum shows, the galleries, the works and the artists. When it comes to my own work, art is invariably a big inspiration when I’m designing collections.

What’s funny is that collecting art felt out of reach even to a junkie like me. I knew that I’d love to live with art, but I had no idea how to actually start bringing it into my home.

My first art purchase was the definition of an impulse buy, at a charity event a friend brought me to. There were three pieces that I loved up for auction, and one—by an artist I had long admired—that I couldn’t resist. I bid what I could afford and then, because I wanted it so much, I bid just a hair more…and won! It was a very small but oh so beautiful Louise Bourgeois sculpture. That was seven years ago, and the piece is now worth more than 15 times what I paid for it. If only I could part with it…

Dozens of works later, I’ve learned that collecting art is actually easy, an investment, and addictive (in a good way).

-Cynthia Rowley

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