A Private View with Alexander Green
"Prints are a wonderfully accessible way to gain exposure to art."
For the second instalment of A Private View with.., we asked collector Alexander Green to share his joy in buying and living with art.
Alexander Green owns, together with his brother, Andrew, the Hamilton Princess in Bermuda and the Viceroy Sugar Beach in St Lucia. Each hotel houses a remarkable art collection which includes work by Josef and Anni Albers, Rana Begum, Patrick Caulfield, Michael Craig-Martin, Gordon Cheung, Idris Khan, Julian Opie, Bridget Riley, Tom Wesselmann, and Richard Woods to name just a few.
A passionate advocate of contemporary art, Alexander has been collecting from Cristea Roberts Gallery for over twenty years. The first print he bought from the gallery was Patrick Caulfield’s Les Demoiselles d'Avignon de Derriere, 1999. Alexander has selected several of his favourite works below and discusses how each artist inspires him, why he collects prints and his advice on beginning a collection.
Why do you collect prints?
I have long felt that prints are an accessible way to collect art. A set of prints feels like a well-rounded story when compared to a single image that conveys only a snapshot. We are lucky to have plenty of wall space and you can’t fill it all with unique artworks.
What motivated you to start collecting for your hotels?
As a family we have always enjoyed collecting art. My parents were avid collectors and they commissioned Andy Warhol to paint my mother’s portrait. In turn I commissioned Julian Opie for my wife’s portrait. Before we acquired the Hamilton Princess and Sugar Beach, our art collection was limited by finite wall space. When we found a new piece, my wife would ask where I planned to put it. I would always remark that we would figure it out later. The hotels have allowed us to increase the size of our collection extensively. It has been rewarding to share our art with a larger audience than a private collection might allow.
How do you hang works in your hotel spaces?
It was my brother’s vision that guests staying at the hotels should be able to discover new art pieces as they explore the hotels or stay in different areas of the hotels on subsequent visits. Many pieces are displayed in plain sight while others reward more curious observers.
Can you tell us about the Beach Walker commission by Julian Opie?
There was a blank wall in our marina at the Hamilton Princess that felt sterile. In the back of my mind, I thought it would be a suitable space for a commission. When I saw Julian’s Walking in Melbourne series, published by Cristea Roberts, it all clicked. The figures appear to be coming or going from the beach, which suited our space, located between the pool and the ocean, perfectly.
How have your tastes changed since you started collecting?
Yes, our taste has evolved over time as we have been introduced to new artists, have fallen more deeply in love with artists known to us and as the artists themselves have produced different works. However, if you view the collection over time you see a central thread running through it. We continue to collect for the love and enjoyment of the art.
What is your advice for collecting art?
The best advice I was ever given was to trust my instincts. You know if you love a piece and that should be the most important thing. The advice I have always given friends is to buy what you love and what you can afford. Too often people obsess over the future value of art and forget to enjoy the piece itself. Prints are a wonderfully accessible way to gain exposure to art.
Please view works selected by Alexander below and contact[email protected] if you would like to receive prices, organise a virtual viewing or require any further information.
"I love Albers’ use of lines and shapes. I find myself getting lost in the pieces and look at them over and over again, finding different patterns each time."
"I am impressed by the diversity of the work that Rana Begum produces. She continually surprises me with the various mediums she uses and her wonderfully vibrant colour palette."
"I am drawn to Michael’s work because, like Julian Opie, there is something powerful in the simplicity of the images. They project such power. His choice of images is fascinating and thought provoking. A good example of this is Now and Then which records the technological evolution of everyday items."
"The first work I ever bought from Alan Cristea was by Patrick Caulfield. He does a great job of depicting a small portion of an object or an interesting angle and managing to make it compelling to the viewer."
"One of the first prints I bought myself was Bijou Gets Undressed. 6, in 2005 at the Chelsea Art Fair. At the last minute, the dealer was unsure if he wanted to relinquish it from his personal collection but he relented. This began my lifelong love of Julian’s work. I appreciate how many different mediums Julian works in. In the 1970s, my father wanted to commission my mother’s portrait and was given advice to engage the artist of the time. They chose Andy Warhol. When I wished to commission my wife’s portrait, we decided on Julian. We love the pieces he created for us."
"What is not to like from Bridget Riley’s work throughout her illustrious career. I grew up with a few of her paintings in our family collection and have added some prints over the years. I enjoy the Fragments multiples she executed in Perspex and find that they stand apart from her other work. I bought the 3 metre-long Composition with Circles 1 and was never able to get it into my flat. It wasn’t hung until I was married and had moved to a home with more art-friendly access."
"Many of the artists I am drawn to maintain the philosophy that less is more. I feel that Tom Wesselmann’s work demonstrates this perfectly. He also works magic with the female silhouette."
About Alexander Green
Alexander Green was educated in Bermuda and Switzerland before attending Brown University. He owns, with his brother, Andrew, the Hamilton Princess in Bermuda and the Viceroy Sugar Beach in St Lucia. In normal times, he enjoys travel, especially art related adventures.
Header and sign up form images:
Nhuri Bashir, for Hamilton Princess & Beach Club.
Vanity Fair 2021.