On Nov. 8, Pellas Gallery, located at 114 Newbury St., held its grand opening celebration, where 130 guests came to enjoy the custom-designed gallery.
Founder F. Alfredo Pellas IV, originally from Nicaragua, has lived all around the world in places like Switzerland, Telluride, Colo., and Sydney, but chose Boston as a place to showcase art from all around the world.
Although the 24-year-old displays artwork from influential painters, he is not an artist himself. “I can’t paint very well,” he said. “I took a painting class back in college and I remember that was the class I spent the most time on. It gave me a whole other appreciation for these artists.”
His love of art came from his father, who collected a piece of artwork from every new place they moved to. “My father really instilled that passion in me,” Pellas said.
For the past two years, Pellas has been running a private art fund, and he decided it was time to open his own gallery. He chose Boston, and specifically Newbury Street, because he wanted the gallery to be close to the high-end boutiques that he said he’s known and come to respect. He said he also respects the other galleries that already exist on Newbury St., and wanted to join the ranking.
“There are some galleries that have moved to Harrison [Avenue] where the rent is more affordable,” he said, “but I wanted to target a niche that I think wasn’t being targeted here in Boston,” which is the international perspective.
He said the space on Newbury Street “was quite hard to find,” as “wanted to find a very ample space and somewhere where you could appreciate the art from a length,” he said. He ended up completely remodeling the more than 2,000 square-foot space at 114 Newbury St., which was formerly used for retail. He said hundreds of thousands of dollars were put into the space to “change the ambiance to create a very special space.”
“My passion is to travel,” Pellas said, adding that he’s established relationships with international galleries to bring their work to the U.S. For his opening show, he featured several original Warhol paintings, as well as paintings from artists in London and Beijing, China. He spent 25 days traveling through China to find artists, and settled on three that “would bring a vibrancy to Boston,” he said.
Pellas noted the importance of the Chinese works in the gallery, as a recent tax was imposed on Chinese artworks coming in. He said that “we wouldn’t have economically been able to do it” if the opening was held later.
Forthcoming shows will include paintings from UK-based artists like Patrick Hughes from London, who invented his own painting technique called “reverspective,” in which he paints constructs on 3-D paneled wood boards, Pellas said. Clive Head’s paintings will also be featured at the gallery. “He’s known as one of the. Most influential photo realist painters in the world and especially from the UK, and his art has transitioned into making a movie into one picture,” Pellas said. He said that Head will be traveling to Boston for the exhibit.
Pellas said that right now he’s just focusing on paintings for the gallery, but is open to the idea of sculptures and would love to collaborate with a sculptor. He also said that managing a gallery space is surely a full-time job—he spends at least six days a week preparing and cultivating the shows, as well as working with the artists.
“I’m really looking forward to working with some of the major institutions here in Boston and I really respect what’s been going on in the city,” Pellas said. He said he hopes to work with some of the artists who have a partnership with the Museum of Fine Arts. Additionally, he said the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum has spent about $200 million on an expansion dedicated to contemporary art. “With all this investment, I think that contemporary art is the way to go and I just hope that in some way we can collaborate, Pellas said. Pellas said hopes the gallery can be a place that will help bring more international artists to the city and help make Boston known for global art. He said in a statement, “My wish is that people in the Boston area don’t feel like that have to travel to New York, London or Miami to acquire high end art.”