Are the aristocracy of artLike the Prada of fashion, the Murdoch of communication and the Rothschild of banking. The Neuendorf family drinks art from the cradle and that is imprinted in every pore of life. Hans Neuendorf He is the patriarch of this race. At 83, the founder of Artnet, a works trading platform created before the digital age, has passed part of its legacy to its children. A business that has been expanded, by giant steps, with the pandemic. Among his heirs stands out Sophie Neuendorf, his only daughter, a direct and romantic woman, passionate about art and nature.
It has been she who has given a new twist to the family business by choosing to achieve a certificate that respects the environment and social values, making Artnet, once again, a pioneer. With one foot in Spain and the other in her native Germany, permanently on a plane and passionate about beauty, Sophie reels for Vanitatis the keys to success of his family, aristocracy of world art.
You have grown up in a cultured family, surrounded by art and beauty. How does one face the ‘normal’ world from that perspective?
The world is the same for everyone. Many times how you look at it is more important than how you see it.
His family has had relationships with great artists of the 20th and 21st century. Do you remember any anecdote as a child that left a mark on you?
My father got his driver’s license with David Hockney’s car in Los Angeles. Then they went for ice cream to celebrate. And they gave him his first ticket for parking badly. My earliest memories with art were when I was very young in Munich in the studio of my grandfather Georg Karl Pfahler, who was a great artist… He represented Germany at the Biennale. I would sit with him and use his brushes. He was dying of laughter and I was lost in paint.
His father, Hans Neuendorf, says that it was impossible for his children not to dedicate themselves to art having lived it so closely since childhood. Did you think about dedicating yourself to something else?
I have always had to earn the position, because my father did not want to help me especially because I am his daughter. I had to do everything to finance my stay in New York. I worked as a waitress. I have received tempting offers to work in other fields. I have always loved the art world. But I have also considered everything that gave me something. Right now I live a lot in the country and sometimes I become a ‘cowgirl’.
“There are times when value and price do not coincide. That’s what Artnet is for”
Is art a market for millionaires?
Art is a passion. And passion has immense value. We must always buy out of passion. Another different thing is the price. There are times that value and price do not match. That’s what Artnet is for. To help people make the best buying or selling decisions. The data we provide provides security in transactions. It is also very helpful to know the value of what we have in case we want to sell it at some point.
There is a lot of talk that the art market attracts some celebrities who make a lot of money but do not understand the matter. Could you tell us about a famous expert who has surprised you with his good taste?
I think it is very good that people invest in art. It is buying culture by investing your money in a safe value. There have always been families at all times who have supported art and artists. From the Medici in Italy, the Frick in the United States, the Maeght in France, the Thyssen in Germany or the Alba in Spain. Thanks to them, the art world has evolved.
“It is important to go to museums, galleries or art fairs; it is good to compare similar artists and an idea of the price”
Could you make a recommendation to someone who wants to enter this world?
The first thing is to get informed to get to know what we like. For this it is important to go to museums, galleries or art fairs. So it is good to compare similar artists to get an idea of the price, to buy well. The general rule of thumb is always better to buy one good piece than several less ones.
The pandemic has affected our entire world, which has been digitized. You are pioneers in digitizing the art world, what are the keys to success? Because art is something related to feelings and buying from a distance should not be easy.
It is important to see the art in person although it is easy to do the transaction digitally, always on something that you have seen similar in the past. When it is not possible to see it, there is always the option of a website like Artnet that allows you to expand and see in detail, and we get a fairly faithful idea. It is becoming more and more common to buy online. Especially among the new generations.
“It would be very important for the Spanish Government to clearly support art”
The first post-pandemic fair he visited was ARCO. Is Madrid a hot spot in the art world?
Spain has always been the cradle of great artists. But the market, honestly, is somewhat off. Although it is improving. But it would be very important for the Spanish Government to clearly support art as we do in Germany. If we donate a piece of art to a museum it is tax deductible. That encourages collectors and investors.
Spend seasons in Mallorca, what attracts you to that place?
From a very young age I fell in love with Spain. As a child I fell in love with Mallorca, where my parents built a wonderful house. From there are the best memories of youth. When I was older I fell in love with the Spanish. And now I have fallen in love with a Spaniard.
“I love dogs and animals. Especially horses.”
And from Segovia? I have seen that he rides a horse there. What disciplines are you interested in besides art?
I love the countryside. It is essential to find yourself, and it is only possible there. I think it’s very important that in this fast-paced world we don’t forget our roots. I adore dogs and animals. Especially horses, which help me understand nature better.
We go back to the beginning: is it difficult to relate to the common world when you live surrounded by beauty? In this context, could you tell us if there is something ‘wildly ordinary’ that you like to do?
I am a normal person. I try to live life with a certain elegance. It is an effort towards myself and a courtesy towards others. The tremendously ordinary I reserve for the extinguished light.