What do art and real estate have in common? A great deal, according to Eric Mauskopf, the new president of third-generation family company J. Pocker. “Like real estate,” he says, “art is increasingly being perceived as a safe haven for the storage of wealth.” He would know: Before starting at the custom framing business, his two-decade career in real estate saw him in management roles at Douglas Elliman, Rose Associates, and FirstService Residential New York.
Mauskopf shares, in his own words, about his journey into the art world, upcoming changes at J. Pocker, and the power of art:
On the link between art and
real estate ...
Many of New York City’s most successful real estate investors also have impressive art collections, with works by everyone from Matisse to Warhol. But collecting art is much more than a vanity project these days. Like real estate, art is increasingly being perceived as a safe haven for the storage of wealth. In fact, the similarities between the two categories have become more striking over the last several years, as the global economic terrain has shifted and worldwide wealth has increased.
That’s particularly true in the post-2008 financial crisis environment, where not all traditional investment vehicles are considered guaranteed winners. Since worldwide wealth is at the highest end and has been increasing at a relatively rapid pace in recent years, it’s not surprising that those individuals would consider investing in art.
“A lot of collectors are using their art as collateral, and it’s becoming increasingly popular. The people who are doing it are in the financial sector and real estate, or entrepreneurs—collectors who understand how to use leverage,” [according to] Suzanne Gyorgy, of Citi Private Bank. Being in real estate for over 20 years prior to joining J. Pocker made it a perfect fit. I managed high-end residential condominiums in NYC.
The residents in the buildings I managed were very sophisticated and expected top-notch service, which is what I provided. Many of the residents in the buildings I had managed were J. Pocker customers [and] many were interior designers. These same people helped me appreciate culture and style and provided me with an understanding of the valued custom frames, mirrors and artwork they owned. And of course, I was aware that real estate and fine art are relatively partners in the investments of these clients. ... Joining J. Pocker was a natural progression.
On his staff ...
All of the J. Pocker staff members were handpicked by Robyn Pocker, and each has substantial experience and knowledge in our field. The service you receive and experience is like none other in this industry and that will continue to be the norm at all J. Pocker locations. [All] of our salespeople have backgrounds in art, art history and framing. Our staff works with a client from the initial consultation through installation. Our educated staff can also help both designers and all our clients with choosing art or prints for their homes and/or offices. I intend to continue staff relationships in this family-oriented business.
J. Pocker is a third-generation company with four locations. Robyn will be taking a step back from managing the day-to-day operations of the business. I have worked closely with Robyn over the past four months to prepare for this transition. Robyn will continue to be a valued resource for myself and the rest of the J. Pocker family and will always be a part of this legacy business.
On retail, millennials and the future ...
We will be looking to open an additional retail location in the New York City vicinity with the intention of reaching new customers and providing exceptional quality and service to a new generation of both clients and designers. And of course, we will support the growth of our existing locations and customer base.
J. Pocker has established itself as an upscale resource for custom frames, prints and room-finishing solutions of discerning quality and taste since 1926. We think our business history and art knowledge also appeals to millennials and Generation X. In addition, we are also interested in partnering with both contemporary and traditional art galleries in the near future.
Our outreach for millennial customers and designers is twofold: We are presently on social media and design platforms and will continue to share trendy as well as traditional products; we also intend to partner with contemporary downtown galleries to reach the millennial market.
J. Pocker is presently on social media and targeting designers as well as customers; we are also on design sites and platforms. I attend design events to acquaint myself with designers and intend to have a spring event to meet and greet and introduce myself as the new owner in person.