Lawrence Schiller has had a fascinating career. Starting as a photojournalist for Paris Match and Life, he became an author, film and television director and collaborator with famous men, including Norman Mailer and O.J. Simpson. Now a Beijing gallerist named Fabien Fryns answers questions about how he turned Schiller into an art photographer, which seems to mean that people will buy his prints. Schiller is also a collector, which Fryns is happy to fill us in about:
Larry is a passionate contemporary art collector. Is his collection mainly of Chinese art?
As it stands now, yes. It also includes some art from Vietnam and Malaysia. What’s more, Larry’s always bought art that would fit into his home size-wise, as he loves to enjoy the art on a daily basis and not have it in crates in storage, as is the case with so many other collectors. As far as I know, Larry has always been a collector and the fields of collecting have changed with his wives. The first wife has all the Chagalls and Impressionists, the second wife ended up with the Mexican and Southwestern art. It seems that his third wife, Kathy, will be the best off as she will end up with the Chinese collection!
How did he get interested in it?
His interest with art in general was sparked through his early photographic work for Life magazine taking pictures of artists. His interest in Chinese art came about when the government-owned CCTV [China Central Television] Channel 10 purchased his films for China and he was invited to visit Kunming. Bored, he stumbled upon an artist studio and purchased his first painting. It was by the artist Tang Zhigang, who was totally unknown outside Chinese art circles. This was in 2004, I think. Now Tang is a celebrated artist who will have a major show in a New York gallery in November this year.
Schiller’s Thrillers (Finch’s Quarterly)