Whether installing a monumental Botero, selling a 4-million-dollar Joan Mitchell or hosting a celebrity fund-raiser, it’s just another day at the office for gallery owners Elaine Baker and Deborah Sponder. Known for paving the way for many artists, this mother-daughter duo has an uncanny knack for eyeing good art. Take celebrated sculptor Lynn Chadwick, whom Baker began representing three decades ago, or newcomer to the United States Mauro Perucchetti, who Sponder spied at Harrods this past summer. “We only represent artists we’d like to ‘live’ with,” Sponder says of their criteria. Since establishing her namesake gallery in Boca Raton 24 years ago, Baker has become equal partners with Sponder, changed the name to Baker Sponder Gallery and added another location at the Boca Raton Resort & Club. The best part of the job? Baker says, “You never know who’s going to walk in the door.” Like TV journalist Bob Schieffer, who stopped by while in town to moderate the third presidential debate. Who says art and politics don’t mix?
Pop artist Mauro Perucchetti, who is represented at Baker Sponder Gallery, creates colorful sculptures,
like Jelly Baby Family, shown, using pigmented urethane resin.
LX: Current project:
DS: We’ve partnered with Blackstone’s LXR Luxury Resorts brand and are working with The Ritz-Carlton. My brother, Steven Sponder, is the venue acquisitions consultant.
LX: Art icons:
EB:: We both love Lynn Chadwick, Stanley Boxer and Friedel Dzubas. Two pieces by Mexican artist Francisco Zuniga were my first investments.
LX: I’m currently reading:
DS: Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. I’m a Lincoln groupie; I have a portrait of him by Hunt Slonem in my living room.
LX: Go-to host gifts:
DS: We used to bring Jeff Koons’ Balloon Dog plates when they were a couple hundred dollars. Now, they cost $15,000.
LX: Key to success:
EB:: Relationships. Many of my clients joined me in the late 1960s and later brought their children in, who have become lifetime clients.