Auctioneer Spotlight: Rob Ducat
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 better as they share their favorite adventures in the art world.
Rob Ducat was born in Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, England. His life at sea first began with the Merchant Navy. After rising in the ranks, he transferred to cruise ships where he met his wife, Claire. While aboard the Holland American Line, he served as one of the first Environmental Officers and was a 1st Officer of the Oosterdam. During this time, he realized: “If I can make a lifeboat training interesting I can certainly do an art auction.” Since then he has been assisting clients in building their collections while making them smile. Today, Rob and Claire reside in Summerville, SC with their two children, Abbeygale and Thomas.
Current Position: Park West Gallery VIP Program
What do you like most about being an auctioneer for the VIP Program?
Rob: When I worked on ships as an auctioneer, I enjoyed making art available to cruisers, but I really enjoyed making recommendations to collectors while they enjoyed a vacation. On the VIP program I am able to take that to the next level. At these events not only do I get to recommend the best works of art, by the best artists, at the best value, but I can recommend works by some of the best artists in the world! Alongside that we create an experience to go with that art. When someone hangs it in their home they have a memory that goes with it. Whether it be a fun weekend on a VIP cruise in an exotic location, they can look at that art and have a memory of spending time with a loved one, making new friends, or hanging with the artist and finding out exactly what they were thinking when they created that work of art. I don’t know of anywhere else you can get that kind of experience combined with some of the best pricing in the art world!
Who is your favorite Park West artist and why?
Rob: That’s a tricky one. I get to spend time with some of the biggest and most appealing artists in the world and show their artwork. I would say my favorite, truthfully, is the one I am about to work with or have just worked with because you can immerse yourself in that art. Perhaps a better question is, “Who have I collected?” The answer is at least one work by nearly every artist I have spent time with.
What is your favorite guest memory?
Rob: We were doing a VIP cruise in the Mediterranean. On the last day of the cruise, unknown to the VIP collectors, we made a surprise trip to Fanch Ledan’s house for lunch. His house overlooks Cannes Harbor. On the way to the house the bus got stuck – it couldn’t make it down the final road since it was too small. Fanch put a cap on, sunglasses and decided to ferry the clients who could not walk from the bus. All the guests assumed he was a taxi driver. As the last lady got out she tried to tip Fanch. He promptly removed his hat and glasses. The guest, being a long-time fan and collector of his art, nearly fainted. We then had lunch and Emile Bellet stopped in too. It was a good day!
Out of all of your adventures around the world, what has been your favorite trip?
Rob: My favorite city is Buenos Aires followed by Sydney, Singapore and Auckland. Staying in the Ushuaia, the southern-most town in the world, was amazing. The best food, after my mum’s cooking, is in New York City. Swimming with sharks after a sky dive in Australia was good. Bungie jumping in Cyprus was a one-off. I have visited Africa, Burma, the Seychelles and, although the Maldives were impressive, I have to say Alaska stands out the most. I proposed to my wife, Claire, on Mendenhall Glacier, just outside of Juneau!
Who have you met in your travels that made a lasting impression?
Rob: I had the pleasure of doing an auction for Muhammad Ali in his Museum in Louisville Kentucky in 2008.
What is the one thing few people know about you?
Rob: My wife and I hope to become American citizens this year.