HOW PHILIP HOFFMAN BEGAN ART COLLECTING
In my early twenties my brother and I were captivated by the illustrator and satirist, William Heath Robinson. It was one of these absurd and charming drawings of an ad hoc contraption that became the first work I ever purchased. I think it was Robinson’s imagination that had me so intrigued. Today, the walls of my study are covered floor to ceiling with the original cartoons from the early 1900s.
A little later I began to collect antiquarian books. The obsession started when I was studying at York University; I used my student loan to buy an 18th century rare book on wine for £100 – thus complimenting my then and continuing interest in wine! A few years ago, when we renovated our home in London, I had a library specifically built to house my ever increasing antique and rare books collection. However, I will always value my first, and it has stood proudly in my library for over 40 years.
Since I started working in the art world, at least 30 years ago, my taste has slowly developed and changed and I’ve been heavily influenced by my wife, Nicky. It was Nicky who encouraged me to buy my first ‘real’ picture, a Bridget Riley at FIAC in Paris. I have always been interested in Modern British art, and I think Riley is one of the most revolutionary British painters of them all and I am looking forward to her upcoming retrospective this year.