Heritage Auctions has announced that longtime dealer, gallery owner and private collection curator Brian Roughton has joined the company as Director American and European Art. He has been an important fixture in the art business for more than four decades, and will bring that extensive experience, across all markets, to bear on his role at Heritage.
He will operate out of the company’s Design District Annex at 1518 Slocum Street, where regular previews and auctions are held.
“In life and especially in business, opportunity and a perfect fit are a rarity,” said Roughton. “Working with my friends and neighbors at Heritage as their new Director of American & European paintings is the perfect challenge. It gives me the opportunity to share my knowledge and to use my reputation and 45 years of experience with Heritage’s art staff to help raise the department to the next level.”
The enthusiasm for the opportunity is shared by Heritage staff as well, as the ever-growing Department of Fine Arts continues to uncover and offer ever-increasing levels of quality material. Heritage recently expanded in California with the addition of Deborah Solon, West Coast Director of American Art and Alissa Ford, Director of California Art. Roughton also complements the Dallas Fine Arts team, including Marianne Berardi, Senior Art Expert; Ariana Hartsock, Fine Arts Consignment Director; Kirsty Buchanan, Associate Director of Western Art and Ed Jaster, Senior Vice President, based in Heritage Auctions’ Park New York offices.
“We’re thrilled to have Brian on-board at Heritage and sincerely believe he’s the right fit for this position,” said Ed Beardsley, Vice President of Heritage and Managing Director of the Department of Fine Arts. “He’s from Texas with a great national reputation, tremendous experience and the expertise to back it up – just like Heritage itself.”
Roughton, whose family moved to Dallas when he was seven, had his own art studio at the age of seven. It was the humble beginning of a journey that would take him to the top of the art business.
In 1964 Roughton took a part time job at one of Texas art dealer John Newbern’s galleries in Fort Worth to supplement his income and help further support his young family. It was to prove a fateful decision and the first step in a long and fruitful career. Newbern soon put Roughton in charge of his other galleries. With the businesses struggling, Roughton consolidated the business and turned it on a path to profit.
After a short time away from the art business in the early 1970s, Roughton returned in ’74 to open Roughton Galleries in Dallas’s Turtle Creek Village. In the late ‘70s, acting on the advice of a client to focus on “important” art – specifically paintings from the 19th and early 20th century recognized as valuable enough to weather a bad economy – he changed his focus and soon found himself and his business occupying a whole different level of success.
His business moved to Fairmount Street in Dallas in the 1980s, where it has remained since. The business has also boasted locations in both New York and Los Angeles. The Dallas gallery will remain where it is as Roughton takes up his duties at Heritage, where it will continue to be operated by his family.
Much like Heritage, Roughton was an early user of emerging virtual technology, which he believes has been key to his success.
“I was an early adopter of the Internet, starting in 1995,” he said, “which made me one of, if not the very first gallery to have a Website. I would estimate that today at least 95% of my business is done via the Web.”
Considered an expert in both 19th and early 20th century important American and European paintings, Roughton has helped build important art collections for both individuals and corporations while also working closely with curators at several museums to acquire works for their public collections. He is a member and past board member of FADA (Fine Art Dealers Association), IAGA (International Art Galleries Association) and is a certified member of IFAA (International Art Appraisers), the most important professional Art Appraiser organization.
He’s spent the last two years working on retainer with Heritage, vetting consignments, so this move is seen as a natural progression on both sides.
“You can take all of Brian’s expertise and experience on its own as an impressive recommendation,” said Beardsley, “but what really distinguishes him from the pack is his unabated passion for great art. Above all, he understands that a collector will never buy if they don’t have the passion for a piece. It’s a philosophy that both Brian and we at Heritage share. We’re hoping the result of his joining us is the elevation of Heritage’s Fine Arts Department to the next level of reputation, consignment and sales.”
Heritage Auctions, headed by Steve Ivy, Jim Halperin and Greg Rohan, is the world’s third largest auction house, with annual sales more than $800 million, and 700,000+ online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and gain access to a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit HA.com.