We all have innate abilities which, with a bit of luck, turn to passions. If the stars align, those passions are cultivated into successful careers. These are the people the rest of us admire.
Gary R. Haynes, of Haynes Galleries in Franklin, has spent a lifetime chasing his dream.“I worked construction for a year and saved money to attend the Harris School of Advertising Art in Nashville in the early sixties,” Haynes says. “Mr. Harris taught us the fundamentals—how to draw, how to paint, how to make a figure—everything but how to get a job.” But a job was what he needed.
After a couple of entry-level jobs, he went to work for the ad firm Lavidge & Associates in Knoxville and, at night, took painting courses with Carl Sublett at the University of Tennessee. Sublett was an American Realist painter who was acquainted with Andrew Wyeth. Naturally, Sublett’s focus on Wyeth’s work influenced his students.
“My prize possession is the first Wyeth item I collected, his book on the Olsons titled Christina’s World,” Haynes says. “As a student of art, I was a realist, and I admired Andrew’s technical skills—his mastery of technique and his ability to make objects and people real enough to jump off the page were overwhelming. I was drawn to his watercolors because they were wonderfully designed. They had an abstract quality, yet they were very real.”
Haynes continued to paint in the Wyeth style for five years, but the demands of his day job began to require his full focus. By happenstance, he met Eric Ericson, who had become a leading figure in regional advertising circles. “Eric was the only man in the world who would set the type for an entire annual report and then start over because he decided he didn’t like it,” Haynes says. “But I respected that pursuit of perfection, and I learned a lot from him.”
Haynes went to work for Eric Ericson & Associates in 1975 as associate creative director. The agency grew fast, and Haynes moved to the account management side and soon became a partner.
Ericson passed away in 1987, and Haynes eventually
bought the company. Along the way, a couple of venture capital companies which he co-founded grew rapidly and became publicly traded.
Over the years, he had continued to follow the Wyeths, investing in a piece here and there. His success in business was feeding his lust for the masters of American Realism. Soon, it was artists like John Singer Sargent and Emile Gruppe and William McGregor Paxton who attracted his attention, followed by emerging contemporary painters. Before long, the Hayneses were spending time in Maine, becoming friendly with the Wyeth family, and working the auction circuit in New York and New England. His passion was beginning to come full circle.
He sold the ad agency in 1999, converting its headquarters at the historic Fall School building in Nashville into executive suites. After a twenty-five-year hiatus, he started painting again and holding art classes in part of the sprawling, thirty-six-thousand-square-foot building. It was a creative space, and another section served as a gallery for his growing collection of American Realist art.
In 2008, he sold the building. With a substantial collection of art spanning three centuries, Haynes had unintentionally become retired. The concept for Haynes Galleries began to coalesce.
“Art had always been an integral part of my life,” he says. “But now that I was free of any professional obligations, I was able to really focus on buying and selling artwork. Along the way, I realized that there was a need for collection management services and auction representation, archival and framing advice, all the things that I would have benefitted from over the years as a collector.”
Haynes Galleries was launched in early 2010 as a specialist in American Realist art and as a resource center for collectors. The focus is on providing discreet, full-service counsel to like-minded collectors who are interested in building a personal collection or buying and selling for investment purposes. A national marketing campaign has generated significant interest from leading art publications, emerging artists, and collectors alike.
The pieces in Haynes’s own world-class collection are for sale as well and include significant works of leading artists from the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. While there is a decided emphasis on the Wyeth family—N. C., Andrew, Jamie, Carolyn, and Henriette—the rising stars of today’s Realist movement are well represented. A considerable selection of works from David and Doug Brega, Everett Raymond Kinstler, Jeremy Lipking, Burton Silverman, Peter Poskas and Stephen Scott Young, among others, is included.
Ruth Crnkovich, M.A., A.A.A., serves as director of the gallery and brings decades of experience as a highly skilled fine-art appraiser and curator to her relationships with clients. “We’re serving clients across America, and we want prospective customers to visit our web site, to become familiar with the collection, our services and our philosophy on working with people who collect on this level,” said Crnkovich. “We’ll then make an appointment to get together and talk more about goals and objectives without the distractions found in a storefront. It’s a very personal and private approach to the art business.”
Haynes admits that he’s living his dream today, perhaps to an extent which he couldn’t quite comprehend when he bought the book Christina’s World 40 years ago.
“It just happened because I focused on what I loved,” he says. “I worked hard at it, day and night, because I wanted to be better at it than anyone else. I guess that’s what it means to be passionate about something.”
Haynes Galleries is open by appointment only.
by Jay Sheridan | photography by Bob Schatz