Buy, Sell, Store, Frame and Bid On Art at RoGallery

Buy, Sell, Store, Frame and Bid On Art at RoGallery

Located just outside Manhattan, RoGallery has been buying, selling, storing, framing and auctioning off artwork for over 30 years. Yesterday, I visited their 10,000 square foot space in Long Island City, Queens. Director, owner and founder Robert Rogal and Creative Director Jessie Gillan showed me around and explained how the gallery operates.

RoGallery’s small staff includes Rogal, Gillan, a photographer, a framer and even a friendly tabby cat. Gillan took me on a short tour of the space from the front offices through the photography studio, framing workshop, auction space and shelves upon shelves of paintings, photographs, sculptures and more. The cavernous building is packed from floor to ceiling with over 30,000 works. “That doesn’t count actually the quantity of each,” Gillan says. “That’s individual images. So we could have some prints that we have 300 [copies] in the edition of as well. It could be a lot more if you count [those].” 

Two things that differentiate RoGallery are their online auctions and fact that they possess the Picasso Estate Collection: 500 limited edition Lithographs from Pablo Picasso’s personal collection that are signed by his granddaughter Marina Picasso. RoGallery also currently has a selection of artworks by Picasso and they are actively seeking more.

Courtesy of RoGallery
Pablo Picasso

“We’ve been doing online auctions since about 2000,” Gillan says. Originally, they used an online auction platform launched by Sotheby’s and later switched to eBay Live Auctions. “Since eBay Live dissolved [in about 2009], we’ve developed one for our own site with an outside company.” RoGallery also sells art through a few other auction sites as well as online shopping platforms like Amazon, Etsy and One Kings Lane. It’s important to note that the gallery “offer[s their] greatest deals on auction items,” according to Gillan.

Online auctions also make it easy for RoGallery to reach the widest possible audience. “Most people that buy from us are on the coasts, either Atlantic or Pacific, in the U.S.,” Gillan says. “And then generally we sell a lot to Europe. To Brazil, Japan, India…” Because of their wealth of out-of-town buyers, RoGallery mostly packages and ships orders, but buyers in the area are free to stop by the Queens space to pick up their art.

In addition to buying and selling, RoGallery finds and stores works. To find art, Rogal “buys estates” and “through auction houses.” Mainly, Gillan says, “People come [to the gallery] with some frequency. We have maybe three or four people a day come in with artworks that they’re interested in selling.” Plus, the gallery gets “about 100 emails an hour” mostly from people looking to sell, Gillan explains. 

Most of the art that RoGallery stores for its customers is located in their building. “It’s pretty much up to the rafters right now,” Gillan says. “That’s why we actually added on a listing option for people to keep their artworks in their home—so we don’t have to house them here [during the consignment process].” If your piece is sold, you can ship or bring it to the gallery for them to pass along to the buyer.

After speaking with Gillan, I also sat down with Rogal, who told me more about the space and his favorite artist:

Q: What was your inspiration for founding the gallery?
A: My inspiration […] is the combination of doing what you like—and I like being around art; it’s like being around music. It’s a beautiful industry visually, it’s music to your eyes—[and getting paid to do it].

Q: Do you have a personal collection?
A: I do.

Q: What are some of your favorite works?
A: Picasso, by far, is my favorite artist. We do have the estate of Picasso with over 200 images. It’s quite extraordinary. We’re very fortunate to have the pieces that we do, that came from his collection.

Q: I know you have a long list of artists you would be interested in acquiring, on your website. Are there any specific ones you’re especially interested in?
A: No, we like knowing what’s out there. We buy art every day, so we’re active buyers of all kinds: paintings, prints, sculpture, photography—any art form. We always are interested in knowing size, price, year. Anything from an antiquity up to a contemporary piece of art, we would explore.

Q: You’ve been in this space for a long time. Where we you before this?
A: We were in the city, but we’ve been here over 27 years. It’s only a mile and a half from 57th Street. It’s only five stops [on the 7 train] from Grand Central. 

Q: It’s a very nice and huge space.
A: We’re very fortunate to have the building we do. We’ve been here a long time and it has taken a long time to develop. People come from all over [and] buy over the computer [on our website] every day. We [also] work a lot with designers and decorators and space planners for commercial or residential. We’re doing a few restaurants now with some designers. We keep busy and do a little bit of it all.

Looking to buy, sell, consign, trade or store your work—or have it framed or appraised? Visit RoGallery’s website for more information at rogallery.com. To make an appointment to visit the gallery, call 1-800-888-1063 or email art@rogallery.com

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