Auctioneer Spotlight: Leif Rydfors

 In Art & Gallery News, Cruise Art Auctions at Sea

Many of our Park West collectors develop friendships with the art teams over the course of their land or sea vacations. Here’s a chance to get to know them more as they share their favorite adventures in the art world.

Park West art auctioneer Leif Rydfors is adaptable, vigorous, willing to take risks, a savvy businessman, and a lifelong scholar. These qualities are not only needed to fuel the initial rise of a successful auctioneer, but also to sustain the virtue of the position for 17 years.

With a tenure that spans decades, continents, and the inauguration of Park West’s newest cruise partner, Dream Cruises, Leif’s Park West career is truly larger than life.

Leif and Yuliya Rydfors. Photo courtesy of Leif Rydfors.

Please list your previous ships as an Auctioneer:

Leif: I’ve worked on 45 ships and seven cruise lines over the course of 17 years. My most recent ships include: Royal Princess, Emerald Princess, Star Princess, Ruby Princess, and the Genting Dream.


Please list your current ship: Regal Princess


What is your hometown?

Leif: I’m originally from Stockholm, Sweden and now take residence in Miami, Florida.


When did you start working as an international art auctioneer?

Leif: I started on ships in 1998 after studying psychology, Italian literature, and art history at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. I started working as an auctioneer in 2001 and I managed the International Host Program for Norwegian Cruise Lines prior to becoming an auctioneer alongside Park West.


What do you like most about being an art auctioneer representing Park West?

Leif: I love to disseminate knowledge and to open people’s minds to the many pleasures of art collecting. I love the ever-expanding personal and professional growth that is manifested with being an auctioneer alongside Park West.


Who is your favorite Park West artist and why?

Leif: I have a deep admiration for Patrick Guyton. His humility, creativity, and unbridled level of artistic vision epitomizes what I believe a contemporary artist should possess. His feverish passion as an artist and individual lends itself as an intoxicating blend of savvy artistic temperament and mastery.


What is your favorite client memory?

Leif: I had a client who attended all my events together with her husband. Throughout the auctions I noticed her husband whispering in her ear and she would then proceed to raise her bid card. This carried on for a while until I realized she was completely visually impaired. I consulted with these clients after my final event and was mesmerized by the fact that art can be appreciated at all levels. Her husband’s description of each work also exhibited an unprecedented level of verbal exuberance, as he was truly a wordsmith and lover of fine art!


Out of all your adventures around the world, what is your favorite port?

Leif: St. Petersburg, Russia has always captivated me as a result of its sensational history and architectural decadence. It is also home to the State Hermitage Museum, which boasts the largest collection of paintings in the world.

Leif Rydfors and Yuliya, on vacation in Provence, France. Photo courtesy of Leif Rydfors.

What does life look like when you’re at home and not on board alongside Park West?

Leif: I lead quite a holistic life at home. I love going to farmer’s markets, practicing meditation, and studying about health, spirituality, and wellness. Visiting with family is also one of my most important holiday virtues.


Please tell us about your experience being an auctioneer aboard the Genting Dream, the first cruise line tailored fully to the Asian cruise market?

Leif: It was a sensational eye-opener. At this juncture in my career it demonstrated itself as the full effect of globalization. With the ever-expanding Asian cruise market, and our ability to venture into proverbial “unchartered waters,” The Genting Dream allowed me to see how truly accessible the world of fine art is on a global scale. Elements of cross-cultural psychology and sensitivity to cultural interests made me appreciate better how we can be consummate providers of fine art to the Chinese market.


Is there any advice you’d like to share with collectors?

Leif: I think the best advice I can offer collectors retrospectively after my extensive tenure in the art world is that art is for everyone. I encourage people to be open to the varying nuances of visceral pleasures that only can be ascertained throughout fine art. If you can allow yourself to have an open and honest internal dialogue with any work of art, the art world will truly be your oyster.


What’s next for an auctioneer of 17 years?

Leif: I think the next step for me is to keep elevating my career alongside Park West, instilling my passion onto others.

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