Peter Blake Gallery Caters to Collectors

PHOTOGRAPHY BY STEPHANIE BACHIERO AND TONY FLOREZ

PHOTOGRAPHY BY STEPHANIE BACHIERO AND TONY FLOREZ

Laguna Beach is world renowned for its thriving art scene. The seven mile long coastal town boasts more than 100 art galleries and artists’ studios. In the heart of it all, founded by Peter Blake, is a standout gallery that caters to avid collectors seeking to build their cultural legacy. 

The artfully designed modern space that houses the Peter Blake Gallery is known for representing Abstract California Minimalism. Provocative artworks, that speak to light and space, are on display in this stark yet elegant environ. 

Light and Space is an art movement that started in Los Angeles in the 1960’s, partially inspired by the California car and surf culture. Artists who popularized this form of art used unusual materials that included metal, resin and car paint to create works that captured light to create transparency and reflection. 

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Lita Albuquerque, Peter Alexander, Larry Bell, Mary Corse and Joe Goode are among the notable artists who pioneered this art form and have been represented in Peter Blake’s personally curated rotating exhibits. 

In its 25th year, Peter Blake Gallery has secured the trust of the serious art collecting clientele, thanks to Blake’s ability to identify and showcase the mid-career rising stars in the art world. 

“I have a knack for spotting artists who are very talented but still on a growth path so the artworks I sell tend to appreciate in value,” says Blake. He has represented artists whose works sold for $20,000 and are now worth over $200,000. “I cater to clients seeking to acquire a collection that will become museum worthy. I can discern the difference between an average painting and an extraordinary one.” 

Blake is well ingrained in the art scene and participates in some of the most respected art fairs in the country including Miami’s Art Basel, New York’s Armory Show, EXPO Chicago, Dallas Art Fair, and the Seattle Art Fair. But Blake’s success didn’t occur overnight. He admits that in the beginning business was tough. 

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“I was in my 20’s when I walked passed a for lease sign here in town and thought, ‘this could be my gallery.’ I had so many friends who were artists who needed representation. Signing that lease at such a young age was a bold move. To be truthful, I may have had one too many cocktails empowering me when I committed to the idea,” recalls Blake. 

“I worked in a restaurant for years to help pay the bills of maintaining the gallery,” says Blake. “Usually, wealthy people invest in a gallery and that was not me 25 years ago when I opened the gallery.” It took five years for the Peter Blake Gallery to turn a profit but once Blake earned the respect and trust of art collectors he was on his way. 

The Peter Blake Gallery, located at 435 Ocean Avenue, is actually the third and hopefully final space. Blake has completely remodeled the gallery to imbue a modern minimalist feel that reflects the art genre represented. 

“I think I’m a frustrated architect,” says Blake, in reference to his hands on involvement in the gallery’s recent redesign, which was executed by local architect Anders Lasater. 

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In addition to specializing in California Minimalism, Blake also procures period furnishings and has secured valuable examples of modern design from the 1930’s through 1970’s. 

“Collectible furniture as an art form is my other specialty. I am very proud of the design furnishings I represent,” says Blake, who sells these items to collectors around the world through platforms specializing in this category such as 1st dibs and auction houses that include Sotheby’s. 

Blake is currently planning an exhibit to mark the gallery’s 25 year anniversary. I plan to host a special exhibit featuring 30 of the artists I have represented over the years to celebrate this milestone. It will be a great show.

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Rita Goldberg

Rita Goldberg, Editor-In-Chief, hails from New York, where she earned her degree from New York University’s School of Journalism and launched her career on the press room floor of Women’s Wear Daily. A long time resident of Newport Beach, she has served as Founding Editor for several prominent magazines and collaborated on two editions of The Art Lover’s Cook Book. She is a well ingrained community member of Coastal Orange County and is a Founding Board Member of The Newport Beach Film Festival and past Chair of The Newport Beach City Arts Commission. She brings over 20 years of professional journalism and editorial experience to Joli Magazine. A mother of three, during her spare time, she enjoys hiking, biking and taking advantage of the beautiful Southern California lifestyle.