We collect art that speaks of human-to-human connection.
“Capturing micro-expression requires the highest level of technical skill, but also a still mind, and freedom from time pressure.”
From birth, humans are wired to observe the micro-expressions in other people’s faces to read their thoughts and emotions—sadness lurking behind a brave smile, for instance. Besides self-awareness, this understanding of others is key to human-to-human connections.
Our thesis is that only artists with sharp observation, a keen understanding of human nature, and superb painting skill can notice, process, and express the micro-expressions of their subjects.
Capturing micro-expression requires the highest level of technical skill, but also a still mind, and freedom from time pressure.
This is why our collection supports artists of proven technical skill and gives them the financial means, time, and mental space to create deeply meaningful works that capture all it means to be human.
How does a super-realistic oil painting differ from a megapixel photograph?
For starters, the point is not the sharpness of the image. The 5 million cone receptors for color vision and 100 million rods for monochrome detection in the human eye make for a resolution of at least 576 megapixels of vision, which sounds like a lot but is far less than many advanced devices.
More importantly, since our eyes constantly flick around and our brain stitches the received stimuli together into images, the human eye works very differently from a still camera—perhaps comparable to a panorama-generating software, but on a much more sophisticated and complex level, with all the pros and cons that come with that.
In terms of still-shot sharpness, the human eye only has a resolution of about 7 megapixels: our eyes cannot distinguish between a 300dpi and a 150dpi photo when printed at “6×4″ and viewed at arm’s length.
Therefore, when viewing the world, many other physiological and neurological factors play a role in, say, accurately reading a face in real life, and next in committing that face to a canvas, and then again in the viewer reading it.
Anyone that has seen a super-realistic painting up close, will have felt the difference from a photo. The energy and the emotional impact are incomparable and can move the viewer deeply.
We call the techniques and themes that unite our collection ‘IBEX Realism’.
The world has not seen this level of skill and this magnitude of works since the Renaissance. We even dare assert that our collection in fact bests the best of masters and works from that period, as is simply natural in a world where specialists—be they athletes, scientists, or artists—stand on the shoulders of the giants before them, jumping higher, digging deeper, and traveling further with each generation.
Founding collector and artist-at-heart Albrecht von Stetten, fellow collector and cross-cultural connector Kiki Kim, and collector and business consultant David Willson organically grew into the current team of equal owners and builders of the collection over time, with Kiki occasionally consulting, then formally joining Albrecht’s undertaking, and David offering his advice to them, and then being invited to join as a partner as well.
More than headhunters of important artists, they consider themselves farmers of artists, creating the sustaining conditions that enable these masters to bloom and bear fruit to their fullest potential.
The IBEX Collection is the largest active private collection of contemporary, figurative, super-realist paintings in the world.
Owned by three individuals with a passion for art and artists, the collection is composed of paintings by carefully selected master painters versed in the intricate art of capturing human micro-expressions and creating authentic and moving works of art that speak of human nature, the human condition, and human connection.
After reviewing thousands of artists and meeting with more than 400 of them all over the world, in March 2014 the IBEX Collectors offered the best 24 entry into the IBEX Masters Project.
We believe our art patronage model is unique in its depth, width, and length, as we offer our selected artists our deepest trust, wide artistic freedom, and long-lasting financial support, so they can truly devote themselves, for years if needed, to creating their grand personal masterpiece.
No deadlines or milestones. No monetary tit-for-tat. No artistic constraints with regard to subject matter. Once we have chosen our artists, and they have chosen us, we give them free rein.
For the first six months of the project we didn’t even ask, let alone see, what they were painting or otherwise doing to prepare for their painting.
Now we do. We invite them to step out of their comfort zone, be it physically or conceptually, for instance by traveling with them to exhibitions and cultural experiences on the other side of the globe to be exposed to refreshing stimuli that may show on their canvas.
Never patronizing patrons, we’d like to call ourselves “matrons of the arts” to convey the level of care and support to bring out the best in the masters we’ve found and to which we have committed our resources, from funding to networks, to on-going concern.
“The IBEX artists’ exhaustive methods are a direct affront to the often-slapdash images and objects rampant in today’s consumerist celebrity-driven market.”
“I would venture to say that their works, each a brilliant representation of the kind of figurative art that turned heads back in the 1500s, are also destined to make real history in the art world with a modern-day Renaissance of their own.”
“The IBEX Collection offers direct patronage to selected artists based on their technical skills, granting them the opportunity to paint their personal masterpieces without any time, financial or subject constraints.”
“Co-owned by three collectors with a passion for art and artists, the collection features works by carefully selected master painters versed in the intricate art of rendering micro-expressions that capture human emotion.”
“Besides providing financial support and artistic freedom, represented artists are given as much time as they need with their works. So painters, such as Italian-based Marco Grassi, can perfect every stubble or wrinkle and make a painting ‘come alive’.”
“This story is not strange if it was in the age when royal families were patrons of the arts, but now, it is a dream-like story.”
Are you an IBEX Master?
Do you feel your work should be part of the IBEX Collection?
If you have any questions about the Ibex Collection, please feel free to fill out the form below.
If you would like more information or have questions about the collection, please fill out the form below.