Over the past decade or so, Vertu Fine Art Gallery Owner Gary Santoro has become a well-known figure among South Florida art collectors and dealers alike. Prior to opening Vertu, Gary was a founding partner of Verve, a Ft. Lauderdale art gallery that placed focus on contemporary art, primarily the genres of Pop Art and Abstract Expressionism.
A native New Yorker, Gary credits the city with fueling his desire to become knowledgeable about art, many years before he would make the leap from art enthusiast to art collector and gallery owner. Gary recalls being one of the NYC commuters (living in Brooklyn at the time) who took notice of Keith Haring’s subway drawings in the early 1980s, viewing them at station after station. Gary liked Haring’s simplistic expressive style, but was nonetheless astounded to witness the results of the artist’s marketing genius. Just a few years later, Keith Haring’s works were “everywhere.” Gary’s take-away message was that the Pop Art movement continues. Haring’s rise in the eighties must be akin to witnessing the mainstream infatuation with the art of Warhol, Lichtenstein and other Pop Artists in the sixties and seventies.
While Gary’s art interests actually span a wide variety of styles and periods, it’s the mid-20th century contemporary artists, such as Frank Stella, Andy Warhol, Robert Motherwell and Robert Rauschenberg that resonate most deeply. Upon moving from New York to South Florida in 1997, Gary began familiarizing himself with South Florida art galleries and discovered that while many offered excellent works from talented artists, there was a shortcoming of New York-styled Contemporary Art galleries, featuring impressive Pop Art, Optical Art and Abstract Expressionist masterpiece works.
Often, our clients are people who own Pop, Op or Abstract Expressionist works that have been handed down throughout the family.”
Since opening Vertu Fine Art in 2011, Gary Santoro has been warmly received by the local Boca Raton business community, art community and collectors. VFA bears the culture that Gary set out to create in his South Florida art gallery. The Contemporary Art gallery that is inviting and unpretentious, featuring highly sought after works, is most certainly Vertu Fine Art. Gary Santoro and VFA Gallery Director Bill Pugsley take immense pride in their desire and ability to not only serve the needs of savvy collectors, but also to educate all who have a sincere interest in Pop Art, Op Art and Abstract Expressionism.
“Often, our clients are people who own Pop, Op or Abstract Expressionist works that have been handed down throughout the family,” explains Gary Santoro. “The works may have been acquired by a grandparent who bought mid-century and passed them down to a child who is now branching out with an acquired taste of his or her own. Our mission is to help every client own the works that are right for them – for their décor, for their needs (including investment opportunity) and for their personality.”
Gary holds a Masters degree in Education and was a teacher in New York prior to entering the art business. He credits his affinity for education with motivating him to continuously learn about art and his desire to educate others, whether it’s in reference to aesthetic features, market value or any combination of elements.
“As much as I enjoy owning and dealing in the works of established masters, like Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Indiana and Henri Matisse, I’ve recently become equally interested in the works of emerging or less widely known artists,” explains Gary Santoro.
Gary is available to meet with collectors by appointment and also welcomes walk-in viewers, as he is frequently at VFA during business hours.