Lamoureaux Gallery may appear unassuming from its shop front on West Ferguson Street in downtown Tyler, but original works by renowned masters are inside. From now through Jan. 3, the gallery hosts The Cook Collection, which includes original works by Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso, Anatole Krasnyansky and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, which are for auction through the duration of the exhibition.
The works are from the private collection of Glenn Cook, owner of Tyler DIY Homes. Cook has courted a decades-long fascination with Dalí and surrealism.
“I started collecting Dalí about 20 years ago when I first saw “The Persistence of Memory.” That is obviously the one that gets us all addicted at first, of course, being the melting clocks.
“And then I really got into the history. For example, the melting clocks: Dalí got that idea from watching cheese melt on a plate. And I just became fascinated with learning the history and the stories behind all the works,” Cook said.
Gallery owner Leo Lamoureaux said exhibitions like The Cook Collection are rare, especially outside of New York and San Francisco.
“It’s a really unique opportunity that you won’t see in a small town, typically. For the community to really see and understand the value that we have here with the Dalís and a Picasso and a few others is really a lifetime experience.”
Proceeds from the auction will go to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Cook hopes to raise $10,000 for Susan G. Komen in auction sales with the intent to find corporate sponsors to match the amount.
Cook said his collection’s exhibit and auction is foremost about the Susan G. Komen Foundation. “That’s the only reason they’re up for sale. “That’s what this is really all about. And yes, I have an addiction to Salvador Dalí. I’m going to continue to have that addiction. But the whole point of this is to draw awareness to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.”
Among Cook’s Dalís on display are a set of 12 silver coins, commissioned by the nation of Israel in 1973 for its 25th anniversary. Israel minted 5,733 of the coins, corresponding to the year 1973 by the Hebrew calendar. Each coin in the set of 12 refers to a tribe of Israel.
“The coins are my prize possessions,” Cook said. “On the front of each coin is the menorah and Dalí’s signature. On the back of each coin is the name of one of the 12 tribes of Israel and an illustration Dalí created using verses from the book of Deuteronomy.”
Dalí took liberties, adding surrealist touches to his depictions of the tribes of Israel. The coin of Dan, for example, includes a snake wearing a halo, a horse with wings and a man having fallen from the horse.
The exhibition also incorporates a multitude of visual art and jewelry from East Texas artists, including Gladewater area artists Brenda Brandon and Kathy Murphy. “They are amazing artists … selling art all over the world. They looked at our little spot here and said, ‘Yeah, we want to support you,’”Lamoureaux said.
Lamoureaux, owner of Lamoureaux Gallery and Mosaic Venues, hails most recently from New York City. He made Tyler his home when a recent visit to check his rental property was delayed. An auspicious moment to engage with local artists ensued.
“The ice storm hit, so I couldn’t leave Tyler and I couldn’t finish [the work on a rental home],” Lamoureaux said. “I started meeting people that were out and about. There were a bunch of us that said, ‘Well, we don’t have a place to go anywhere.’
“So I thought, ‘Well, why don’t I do a pop-up show for both art and some music?’ It took off so well that I stayed another month … One thing led to another and we just started growing after that.”
In addition to gathering local visual art, Lamoureaux uses his space to host numerous gatherings to showcase other artistic genres, including music, comedy, fashion and dance.
“It’s important for people to know how they feel about their passion, whether it’s dancing or art, drawing or music. We’ve met so many people. It means so much to them that they have a place to do that and to have an outlet.
“How can I help others feel like there are people that appreciate their art? This
“It seems like we’ve all become an outlier family. The ones appreciating, they might be a little bit outside that frame of normal, but they’re loving it.”
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