When Lost Art Is Found:


Galleries today are fortunate to have access to gallery-specific software that makes it easy to keep track of inventory along with images. We use this software,  and it allows transparency for our artists.  With a click of a button, they can view the location of their work and view whether or not it has sold. Before these tools were available, gallerists had to rely on paper lists without images, then eventually spreadsheets through Excel.


While most of the Gallerists of days past were passionate about the art itself, and the promotion of the artwork, some of them lacked the organizational skills it took to keep track of everything.  It may not have been intentional, but inevitably there were times that artwork was misplaced or even was lost. I’ve met many artists who have had artwork disappear over the years, and it is understandably a sore point for them.


When we occasionally come across artwork, through partnerships and acquisitions, that may have been lost, we find joy in reconnecting the art with the artist.


This year we had a particularly joyful experience when we were able to reconnect artist Elisabeth Lalouschek, with art that had been missing since 1990. They were significant pieces, large in scale and importance not only to her but to the art world. When I connected with Elisabeth, she was attending an art expo in Dubai.  We communicated at first by email and then by text and eventually by phone.  It was emotional for both of us.


You see Elisabeth is one of the heads of the October Gallery in London. Elisabeth was born in Vienna and holds an MA in Fine Art from the Royal College of Art. She joined October Gallery in 1987 and has been instrumental in creating a solid foundation for the idea of the Transvangarde, the transcultural avant-garde. Lalouschek has furthered the careers of a range of outstanding artists. She has organized and curated the majority of exhibitions at October Gallery, as well as collaborating on numerous projects nationally and internationally, most notably those promoting contemporary African art.


The pieces we found were painted when she spent time in Mexico with the Huichol Indians, the indigenous people of the Sierra Madre region of Mexico. While there she learned about the word NIERICA: It means sacred or cosmic doorway, a passageway into the numinous. 


Exploring NIERICA: When you walk through a doorway you are passing from one room into another. Doorways of the material world, the world our ordinary senses see and interact with, take you from one physical space into another space. Nierica doorways are portals, openings from one state of consciousness into an expanded awareness that sees into the underlying ordinarily invisible reality from which all that we see with our eyes, births forth. Call it cosmic consciousness, transpersonal dimensionality, spirit, the Tao, God, Goddess, Allah, call it mystery since 96% of it our scientists cannot figure out, call it whatever you want but it is a totally different state of being than our ordinary state of day to day consciousness. As you may imagine, the body of work Elisabeth created while exploring Nierica is both haunting and impactful.

The rest of the story!


Our serendipitous connection with Elisabeth led to something else and furthers that idea of portals or maybe just makes us realize it is a small world in which we live. It just so happens that one of our personal friends, Andrea, is a collector and promoter of Contemporary African Art. She lives in London very near the October Gallery and she herself had attempted to contact Elisabeth to promote some of her African artists.   Andrea, was excited to act as a liaison and met with Elizabeth face-to-face to help us get Elizabeth's work returned to its place.


All of the large pieces many as big as 92 inches by 73 inches, were taken off their stretcher bars, cleaned, and then rolled and shipped back to Elizabeth at her gallery in London. Some of these pieces were displayed at the London gallery in the Transvangarde: Free Style Cipher Exhibition.


Our friend Andrea was able to attend that private reception, where Elisabeth spoke of her found art. She indicated it was as if the art had come back through a portal and thanked our gallery for finding it and returning it to her.  Below you will find Elisabeth's talk at the October Gallery. Through this exchange, we not only reconnected art with its creator but also made a lasting friend in the art world.  We are thrilled to have played a part in reconnecting Elisabeth with her significant work. 


Andrea Lowe (left) and Elisabeth Lalouschek (right) in front of Elisabeth’s painting titled Poet for an Afternoon

Gallery Talk: Transvangarde: Time Capsule, 20th January 2024, October Gallery, London

Transvangarde: Time Capsule Artist Susanne Kessler and Elisabeth Lalouschek, Artistic Director of October Gallery, talk about their wider artistic practice and reflection upon their very individual career development since graduating from the Royal College of Art in the 1980s. 


Moderated by Gerard Houghton, Director of Special Project, October Gallery. 


20th January 2024

Juli Petter

Owner | Gallery Director

Juli transformed the gallery in 2013 when she left the corporate grind to lead the J. Petter Gallery and create the Petter Wine Gallery, the lakeshore's premier wine shop, showcasing a handpicked selection of fine wine as well as a collection of unique cheeses, artisan food, and artful home decor. Juli's love of fine art was fostered from a young age by her mother who taught at Kendall School of Art and Design and was also a founding member of the still-thriving Grand Rapids art group, Grand Valley Artists. Even though Juli spent most of her career outside of the arts, her love of art and wine was a constant. She moonlighted as an independent interior decorator and also studied what she calls the art of wine. Her business savvy and love of interior design and wine led Juli to create our warm and inviting space.  She hopes you will join us here at the gallery to partake in two of her favorite things. 

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