When I first began collecting art in the mid-1980s, the proprietor of a gallery near my home in Hampstead (London) was promoting a South African artist named Douglas Portway.
I purchased a Portway nude, the first serious picture in my collection—and followed up months later with two still life studies of flowers, along with a coffee table book of the artist’s work, including abstract paintings.
Thumbing through the book, my father gravitated toward the modern paintings, much preferring Portway’s abstract art to his figurative and still life works.
“I don’t get it,” I said to my dad. “What are you seeing?”
“Give it time,” he replied, chuckling, as if enjoying a private joke with the universe. “You’ll understand abstract art better with age.”
And, of course, he was right.