Auctioneer Spotlight: Dave and Lesleigh Wallensky
Many of our Park West collectors develop friendships with the art teams over the course of their vacations. Here’s a chance to get to know them better as they share their favorite adventures in the art world.
Dave Wallensky is from Toronto, Canada. He has been an international art dealer for over 10 years on more than 25 ships. As an art dealer, he luckily met Lesleigh who is the niece of a well-regarded artist in Australia. Read about their favorite memories from sea and how their adventures together all started with a watch.
Previous ships as an Auctioneer Couple: Carnival Cruise Line (CCL) Breeze, CCL Splendor, CCL Freedom, Celebrity Millennium, Norwegian Jade, Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas, and Princess Star
Current ship as an Auctioneer Couple: Ruby Princess
Congratulations on your recent wedding! How did you two meet?
Dave: I bought a watch that was very expensive and I shouldn’t have done it – four days later it broke. The retailer told me they were unable to refund it and I was stuck with an expensive paperweight. On the Carnival Breeze, I walked into the gift shop and told the blonde Australian that I wanted the cheapest, crappiest watch she had. She pointed to the wall and said, “There they are. Eight dollars.” After purchasing the watch, I said to my gallery manager that I was going to marry the girl. I was always told when you know, you’ll know. That was December 2012. We got married on May 16, 2015. Yes, the watch still works and I wore it on my wedding day. Ironically, it’s the best watch I’ve ever owned.
Editor’s note: Can you spot the watch in the photo above?
What do you like most about being an auctioneer?
Dave: I love when the guests who collected develop a paradigm shift by viewing art in a new way. I conduct a seminar called “Understanding Abstract Art.” We start with a group of people who will admit that they don’t get it, and by the end some develop an appreciation for the style. When new collectors tell me that they now see art in a new way or their love for it has been rekindled, I feel like I’m giving back in some way.
Who is your favorite Park West artist and why?
Lesleigh: My favorite artist is David Willardson – no questions. I fell in love with his work as soon as I saw it, and the first artist Dave took me to meet was David in Los Angeles.
Dave: I’ve never known her to get nervous, but it was amazing to see Lesleigh react when she met David. For me, this is difficult since I know many of the artists personally. I will always love Hua Chen because his art takes me into the past with great artists like Renoir and Degas. I love Peter Max for his colors, but lately Dominic Pangborn’s new abstracts have me captivated.
What is your favorite guest memory?
Dave: We had a lovely family on a cruise that fell in love with Tim Yanke’s dragonflies. Eventually, I asked what the connection was. The mother told me a very personal story about her son passing, but every year she sees a dragonfly on his birthday. She is sure that it’s her son coming back to visit. We found a special Yanke for them to collect that was a unique dragonfly. We still stay in touch and she has sent me a photo of a dragonfly in her backyard. It still gives us chills.
What has been your favorite port?
Dave: We fell in love with Curacao at a private resort called Hotel Baoase – tables on the beach, private cabanas, and private dining service. It’s the most amazing sunset you’ve ever seen and a dining experience that will change your life.