Auctioneer Spotlight: Michael Vergis & Wendy Dean
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 the auctioneers better as they share their favorite adventures in the art world.
Michael Vergis and Wendy Dean both hail from Cape Town, South Africa. Just under a decade ago, Wendy and Michael started their career as auctioneers. Since then, they have devoted considerable energy and time to educating others about fine art aboard the many cruise ships affiliated with Park West Gallery.
Previous ships: Carnival (CCL) Inspiration, CCL Imagination, CCL Spirit, CCL Paradise, CCL Ecstasy, Norwegian (NCL) Spirit, NCL Epic, Holland America (HAL) Eurodam, HAL Zuiderdam, HAL Westerdam, HAL Oosterdam
Current Ship: HAL Koningsdam
When did you start working as an international art dealer on cruise ships? What did you do before auctioneering and how did that transition into your current career?
Michael: It was about seven years ago. I had been in customer service and sales positions my whole life and felt like I needed an adventure. The opportunity to work for Park West came at the perfect time, so it felt like it was meant to be.
What do you like most about being an auctioneer?
Wendy: Of course the beautiful places we get to see, but also the interactions with people from all over the world. I have the opportunity to teach so many people about art who would never have thought twice about it, and it’s a great feeling keeping in touch with guests who are now part of the Park West family.
Who is your favorite Park West artist and why?
Wendy: I love Marko Mavrovich. Not only is he a great guy, but also a phenomenal artist, and to watch him create is just genius.
Michael: My favorite is Itzchak Tarkay. He had the ability to tell a story with such ease in every image.
What is your favorite client memory?
Michael: There really isn’t just one. I think the thing I enjoy most is seeing people’s perspective when looking at abstract art. There are some artworks I can never look at the same way as some guests. When they inform me of their point of view, it really makes me laugh. Although I just had a great lady on board recently (who has cruised with me before) that had recently met Duaiv, so she changed her hair color in his honor to bright pink.
What has been your favorite port?
Wendy: I love Barcelona and sitting at the little cafes having tapas and people watching. There is truly something beautiful in every port we go to, however.
Please tell us about your experience on being the first auctioneer aboard the Koningsdam. How does it compare to your other experiences?
Michael: Well, a brand new ship was challenging and exciting. To see the gallery come from an empty shell into a stunning, bright and vibrant work of art itself was amazing. The ship is gorgeous with the music influence and magnificent artwork throughout. Holland America has really made this ship phenomenal – every guest will have great memories.