Independent Collectors

Sam van Rooij

Ambassador of Young Collectors Circle

From left to right: Gijs van Lith, Jonas Wijtenburg, Desali, Armando and Isabelle Andriessen.
From left to right: Gijs van Lith, Jonas Wijtenburg, Desali, Armando and Isabelle Andriessen.

Sam van Rooij is an ambassador of Young Collectors Circle and works in information security management. He is quite the art fanatic: the Dutch collector came into contact with art from an early age and started collecting art early on. He has obtained an eclectic art collection that includes paintings, sculptures, photography and antique objects that he stylishly incorporates into his interior.

“I came into contact with art very early on. That's partly because my parents were quite involved with that: with art, but also with interior design and antiques. Young people often experience a fair bit of anxiety when entering a gallery. Because I had already visited galleries as a kid, I never really experienced that threshold myself.
Years ago, I discovered Young Collectors Circle, when I was looking for people who share my interest in art. That was in my student days and I had a hard time sharing my passion for art with the people around me. Online, I came across a Young Collectors Circle salon about collecting art. I went there, along with my younger brother Lex. That was so inspiring! Young Collectors Circle opens a lot of doors. From studio visits and private collections to a look behind the scenes in an art depot.”

"Since my first acquisition, my collection has gained momentum."

“I can still vividly remember buying my very first photograph. That was a piece by Bastiaan Woudt. His work is strong, always rendered in black and white and a modern nod to pictorialism. I bought that photo at the Haute Photographie fair during Rotterdam Art Week. I couldn’t get the image out of my head and decided to buy it at the fair. Since then, my collection has gained momentum.
There has been a development in my collection. A few years ago, I wouldn't have been interested in the work of a number of artists that are now firmly on our walls. At the time, I had more difficulty looking beyond the image, to really understand the concept behind it. There has been a change in this, that museum director Charles Esche of the Van Abbemuseum expressed so beautifully: a move from aesthetics to ethics. The big questions in art are no longer about form, but rather about themes in the real world (ethics). Quality remains important, that it is truly well-made."

"A piece will get under my skin, I won't be able to get it out of my head."

"While I've gotten better at being patient, but I can also make rash decisions. In the end it's all about emotion, when it really moves you it happens to you. Those pieces will get under my skin and I won’t be able to get them out of my head. That is, when I really have to do something about it. Usually my wife and I decide together on these things. Still, you should not make concessions, because then you’ll be left with a work that you’ll both appreciate only a little.
When we buy something, we are not immediately concerned with where it should be placed in our home. An exception to that was a very large painting that we wanted to buy. We really lost some sleep over that. How and where would this work even fit? There weren't many places for it in our home. Yet, once it arrived, we were immediately super happy with it. It is important that art has a beautiful place in the home. I really enjoy being able to combine the artworks with design, antiques or naturalia. I think those qualify as art as well.”

"Don't be shy; it is enriching to step into a gallery and start a chat."

“Looking at art and reading a lot about it truly helps. Research what's going on in the art world and find out more about the artists that intrigue you. As the saying goes: Buy less, but better. For example, you may find yourself in a situation where you would like to buy work that simply doesn’t match your budget. You may then decide to buy another work, for a lower price, but in the end it was not your first choice. Sometimes it is better to wait a little longer so that you can buy the work that you actually want.
Also, there’s really no need to be shy. Just cross that threshold, enter that gallery and have a chat. I assure you, it's not scary at all, but really fun and enriching. Ask a gallery owner a single question, and you'll get a whole backstory. They really don't expect you to buy something right away. Email an artist if you want to see their studio. People are really open to that.”

Young Collectors Circle is a non-profit community-based platform, dedicated to supporting the arts. Based in Amsterdam, they organize various events throughout the Netherlands and Belgium, as well as some online content including masterclasses on how art is made and interpreted. For internationals living in the Netherlands and Belgium, Young Collectors Circle is a great way to discover the local art scene. For members outside of the Netherlands, they regularly organize meetups worldwide during art fairs and events such as Frieze London & New York, Art Basel & Art Basel Miami Beach, ARCO MADRID and the Venice Biennale.