AGE: 64HAILS FROM: London, EnglandPRESIDES OVER: Mayor Gallery, 22A Cork Street, London, W1S 3NA, United KingdomGALLERY’S SPECIALTY: Surrealism and Dadaism, Zero and Pop artARTISTS SHOWN: Billy Apple, Bernard Aubertin, Enrico Castellani, Lucio Fontana, Heinz Mack, Agnes Martin, Richard StankiewiczFIRST GALLERY SHOW: Mao prints by Andy Warhol in 1973Tell us about your first experiences with art.I grew up in a typical London terrace house where there was always artwork on the wall, mostly classical modern. My father, whose parents had been artists, founded Mayor Gallery when he was 21 and was the first dealer in England to show Alexander Calder and Max Ernst.Do you remember the first work of art that captured your attention?Francis Bacon’s triptych Three Studies for a Crucifixion, from 1962, which I saw when I was 14. It was the first modern piece I saw, and it had a profound effect on me. It’s now in the Guggenheim.When did you to start working at the Mayor Gallery?I was in New York working for Sotheby Parke Bernet, where I had started their contemporary department. Two years later, we mutually agreed to a divorce. At that time , my father was very ill—he died in June 1973—and I had to decide whether to continue living in the States and work with a dealer like Leo Castelli or return to London and manage my father’s gallery. I decided to go home, mainly because at that time nobody was showing Pop or American artists there. Lisson Gallery showed some Minimalism, John Kasmin had a few Color Field artists, but most of what one saw was European. During my years in New York I had become good friends with artists like Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and James Rosenquist. I decided to bring their work to London. Mind you, nobody wanted to buy it.Describe your local market and any changes you have noticed.There has been a fundamental shift in the dealer’s role. Dealers used to be one-man bands, showing their tastes and providing a sort of formal education. Now they are like supermarkets. They are selling what people want rather than showing people what they should be buying. As for collectors, I would say there were probably three great collectors before the war: Roland Penrose, Edward James, and Samuel Courtauld. And three after the war: Charles Saatchi, Ted Power, and Peter Palumbo. They weren’t dedicated followers of fashion like collectors these days.In which art fair do you most enjoy participating, and why?I have been participating in TEFAF in Maastricht for more than 20 years. It’s more for the carriage trade than the investor. People don’t all appear on the opening day and one can actually talk and build relationships. This is not possible at Art Basel. It’s too frenetic, even though it’s still the top fair.What has been your strangest, most humorous, or most memorable experience in the art trade?Jim [Rosenquist], who had just designed the cover of the New York telephone book, and a girlfriend, and I decided to see Sid Caesar, who was playing at the Rainbow Room around 1975. There was a long queue and we couldn’t get in. So I took a copy of the telephone book and told the maître d’, “This is the guy who did this; he will sign it for you.” Jim did sign it and we got in. People cleared the way for us and we got the best seats in the house. An hour later we were thrown out for being rowdy.What sets your gallery apart?I’m usually ahead of the curve. Now, for instance, interest in the pan-European movement Zero is mounting, and I’ve been showing Zero artists like Otto Piene for a while now. I do what I want rather than what I am told. I prefer to buy artworks instead of having them on consignment. Then it’s my decision whether and when to sell. I started with Rosenquist in the 1960s. I did this with Calder in the ’70s and Josef Albers in the late ’80s. Then American art became hard to find and expensive. I began to diversify, buying up French Neo-Realists and West Coast assemblage works.If you were not an art dealer, what would you be doing? I would like to be a painter… probably not a very good one.This article is published in the December 2013 issue of Art+Auction.