After owning successful art galleries in St. Augustine for two decades, Len Cutter recently opened Cutter & Cutter Fine Art in Sawgrass Village to complement his existing Ancient City offerings. The new Ponte Vedra gallery – which hosts a diverse collection of art ranging from classic to modern – is a family affair, with Cutter’s wife, Sonya, and sons Matthew and Mark playing integral roles in the gallery’s operations.
What types of art does your new Sawgrass Village gallery feature?
Our galleries have evolved over the past 19 years and now feature the best art we can find from artists across America and around the world. This includes diversity and elegance in oil painting, water color, art glass, and bronze and acrylic sculpture at the very highest level. We seek elegance in it all, while at the same time grasping that our first duty is to our collectors and their tastes. From present day living masters to emerging artists both local and national, we have arrived at our initial goal, which was to have something for everyone.
You’ve owned and operated galleries in St. Augustine for many years. What made you decide to open an additional gallery in Ponte Vedra?
Our St. Augustine business grew rapidly to include four fine art galleries in the center of the nation’s Oldest City. We also operated a large custom framing studio and our headquarters – which included a rare downtown warehouse and offices for our advertising/marketing and internet services – right smack dab in the middle of the “Plaza Area” or Art District. It was convenient and it was beautiful. After 2008, we began to observe a changing demographic in local, national and international tourism. Ultimately, our three markets – lower, middle and upper – became only the upper. We had always longed to be in Ponte Vedra and so began to research that beautiful area. The amazing development that is now Sawgrass Village was a clear and obvious decision.
Who are some of the artists you feature?
We are blessed to now represent some of the greatest living and deceased masters, which include Spanish masters ROYO, Ramon Vilanova and Navarro, whose landscapes, seascapes and figurative works represent the very best in original oil paintings. Additionally, we feature the artwork of Hungarian sculptor Marton Varo, the Yuns, South Korean masters of ancient technique paper tapestries in organic abstraction; and Albanian Josef Kote, whose flare for connecting realism with a hint of abstraction is unexcelled.
Russian artists M & I Garmash, KAMU and the Ukrainian master of European cityscapes, Dimitri Danish, are joined by Americans, such as the dean of seascapes, Anne Packard. Matthew Cutter is of course a local painter with a national regard and reputation, whose creativity is boundless from still lifes through landscapes, seascapes, abstraction and unforgettable works that explore his many interests including “tonal vision.”
What criteria do you use when deciding whether to feature an artist’s work in your gallery?
The answer lies with our art collectors and devotees, whose taste is often the ultimate determinant in the fine art we exhibit. We are not a museum; we’re here to sell the paintings and grow along with those clients. Amazingly, we discovered that their taste has led us beyond early days, when classicism would generally define us. Now, we have such diversity ranging from classicism to modern abstraction, culminating in a broad market for 19th and 20th century deceased masters, such as Renoir, Mary Cassatt, Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec and Picasso. Most surprisingly of all, we have unearthed an amazing level of interest, devotion and dedication to the artwork of Salvador Dali!
Cutter & Cutter Fine Art is truly a family affair. What roles do your wife and sons play in the gallery’s operations?
The simple answer is that my wife, Sonya, and my sons and partners, Matthew and Mark, are the collective key to our success. Sonya runs our offices and represents the unfortunate funnel through which all problems flow, ending up with her. She is indefatigable and devoted to our little family affair. Matthew and Mark Cutter are literally legends in the world of fine art in America, owing to a similar drive and ability to analyze all problems and make them flow away without ever bothering yours truly. It is an amazing team and I have jested throughout the years, I’m not sure what I do.... but I enjoy doing it.
In the time the gallery has been open, it has already hosted several receptions and artist exhibitions. Are there any special events planned for the coming months?
Yes, indeed! In fact, we have learned that to be an art dealer you must be event driven. This year we will conduct 12 major art exhibitions as well as 12 smaller gatherings, which will be intriguing opportunities for art lovers to come to our new home. This Jan. 20 and 21, our Ponte Vedra gallery welcomes the incomparable ROYO from Valencia, Spain. We will unveil over 40 new figurative and landscape original oil paintings. This will also serve as our official grand opening and we will conduct an event that will rival those that art collectors are used to seeing in such cities as New York, Chicago and Boston.
How do you enjoy spending your free time?
I live, breathe and work here at Cutter & Cutter Fine Art in order to achieve enough success to allow me to take time away to pursue a late-in-life discovery of fly fishing and all of its intricacies. I have arrived at a point where I can get serious about fishing the creeks, streams and wild rivers throughout Wyoming and parts of Montana. My dream has come true in life, in love and now in the pursuit of those unforgettable wild places where these incredibly beautiful trout live and thrive. There they are, totally wild and free, and I have the honor to interact with them by casting tiny little barbless hooks in order to make a connection and ultimately release them unharmed to continue their lives. There is such beauty in that world. My friends and I in Wyoming often discuss “the art of fly fishing” and I have learned so much from them. I am your happy, fly-fishing art dealer.