Chief Executive Officer of Mossgreen, Australia
By Karina Foo
The auction industry seems to have been overlooked among the popular and well publicised art galleries. Although a niche sector in the mass sales market, auctioning is slowly being recognised as an important business in art and trade, but one that’s focused on luxury, aesthetics and pure value.
One such business that’s been operating for the last 11 years is Mossgreen. It has grown to be known as a luxury destination to buy, sell and enjoy objects of beauty, rarity and value. Founded and established by Paul Sumner and Amanda Swanson, it functions as an Art Gallery and boutique Auction House specialising in the sale of Single-Owner Collections.
To date, Mossgreen has conducted many of the largest and most prestigious Single-Owner Auctions held in this country.
Sumners always knew that the name was a prophecy of his future business as he started his career much earlier on in Sotheby’s Australia, another renowned auction house company.
“I visualised the name Mossgreen 20 years ago as it was something that came to mind when I was in AngKor Wat and saw those amazing temples covered in green moss. They are ancient but still so beautifully part of our contemporary world. It already embodied my vision as Mossgreen would deal with ancient and contemporary art,” explains Paul.
His vision had manifested into a lucrative one and the company now turns over $31 million in auction sales a year after joining forces with Martyn Cook Antiques and Martyn Cook.
But just like all successful stories, he started from humble beginnings. Paul grew up in the UK and went into the business when he was 15, strongly influenced by his father who was an antique dealer.
“My parents encouraged me to work in local auction houses in Bristol. I started to acquire a broader knowledge in the area. I kept applying for jobs and tried to network my way through different auction houses in England.”
In the late 80’s, representatives from an Australian auction house came to England looking to employ people to come to Australia.
“It was interesting because I wasn’t familiar with Australia as England was very far from the Land Down Under, but I was offered a job there as a one year contract and I decided to take it for a different experience.
When I got to Australia in 1986, it was very different to what thought it would be – the country was modern and urban. It wasn’t just a dessert! I was also pleasantly surprised about the profound interest in arts and music. I worked in that auction house for the year and later was transferred to Christie’s International Auction House in Sydney and was appointed as their manager.”
Soon after, Paul was head hunted by Sotheby’s Auction House for a short post until he was promoted to its managing director. In 2000, his job took him back to England for another two years to work on major projects for the next two years.
“I learned a lot there about change management as there were a lot of staff who were used to the traditional auction house business. Change had to begin as we were dealing with contemporary styles of auction housing.”
After completing the project, Paul decided to return to Australia in 2003 and pursued his dream to set up Mossgreen as an art gallery and auction house.
Today, Mossgreen is the biggest auction house in Australia located in Armadale, one of Melbourne’s most affluent suburbs.
“We’re only halfway through to our goals as our long term vision is to be the first multi-disciplinary auction house in Australia that covers every area in depth, led with expertise at the top of every department.”
Mossgreen’s clientele is an eclectic mix of collectors of various inspired art, but the lifestyle that they aspire to live is one thing they all have in common.
“Whether they love fine dining or good music, we tap into that by fulfilling their interest by the variety that we offer in our gallery and auction house. That’s why we have a fine dining restaurant, music, collectibles and art,” says Paul.
Mossgreen以这样的形式营运了11年，被视为奢侈品销售目的地，享受着美丽艺术，品位着稀有和价值。由Paul Sumner 与Amanda Swanson共同创立的优美天地，结合艺术画廊和精品拍卖行功能，从事独资收藏品交易。
Paul Sumner & Amanda Swanson