Auctioneer Spotlight: Rob Ducat

 In Art & Gallery News, Cruise Art Auctions at Sea, Uncategorized

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.

Auctioneer Spotlight Rob Ducat

Rob Ducat with his family (Photo courtesy of Rob Ducat. ©tiana keener photography)

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!

Rob as an officer on board the Osterdam. Photo credit: Rob Ducat

Rob as an officer on board the MS Oosterdam (back row, far right). Photo credit: Rob Ducat

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!

Rob auctioning at a special event featuring artist Yaacov Agam. Photo credit: Brent Plaxton

Rob unveiling a collaborative painting by artists Yaacov Agam and Itzchak Tarkay at a VIP event in Detroit. Photo credit: Brent Plaxton

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.

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Showing 22 comments
  • Steve Whitmarsh

    Fanch is a CLASS ACT! What a pleasure it was to meet and spend time with him years ago on the Carnival Glory!

  • Steve Whitmarsh

    P.S. Might have been the Norwegian Dawn.

  • Randi Jaffe

    We had a blast last year with Rob at a VIP Halloween Party! Randi Jaffe

  • Betty Frankl

    We went to the Park West Chateau Event, planning to buy nothing. Came away with Peter Max and FOUR others wonderful pieces, thanks in great part to Rob and his banter and personality. talk about selling oil in the Middle East, Rob could do that! Look forward to another event as soon as we learn of one for us!

  • Betty Frankl

    AN error on the event-It was Chateau Elan near Buford, GA!

  • Troy wust

    My wife and I met Rob at a event in New Orleans and he was just awesome. We believe he made the event what it was. He takes pride in his work and has great work ethic in dealing with his collectors and artists. Probably the best auctioneer we’ve been around and there’s been some good ones.

  • Jerry Bird

    Just meet Rob a couple of weeks ago in San Antonio TX. My wife an I really enjoyed Rob’s insight with the great artist that were there. Keep it up Rob.

  • Debbie Michalenka

    Awesome Rob. Sounds like all is good. Beautiful family.
    Debbie and Pete Michalenka

  • Stephanie Falzone

    I have always loved Rob and his vast knowledge and appreciation for art. I know a good time is to be had whenever I see Rob!

  • Bob Day

    Rob is such a wonderful personality. It’s always fun and fast moving to be at his presentations and Judy always checks his socks.

  • Sue & Larry Hawk

    You will be happy to hear that we finally purchased a PETER MAX Abstract Flowers Ver.X11, Umbrella Man on blends, Love on blends & Blushing Beauty on blends as well as 2 more Csarba Markus’s after meeting him at the 4 Season’s in Seattle I have fallen in love with some of his works we now have 5 thanks to you Over the years you have taught us both the love of art Thank you again

  • Dave and Marianne Paul

    Have had Rob as our auctioneer 2 times at VIP events and has been by far the best. Very knowledgeable and very helpful.

  • Jenni and Dave Perry

    Hello My dear Friend Rob. It’s your “fire on the table buddies” from Virginia. I still laugh hearing you say “fire, fire….there is a fire”. We got the Jacob’s masks and the Gockel’s home just recently. They are beautiful. Thank you for making our weekend memorable and fun. Hope to see you soon – The Perry’s

  • Gregg & Pam Rosen

    We met Rob at a VIP event in Boston, MA. Rob’s personality with his combined knowledge of art makes a great combination for success. My wife was able to fulfill a wish to meet Peter Max and as an added bonus we bought a few more of his incredible pieces to our collection. When I need art advice Rob always responds and continues to guide us in our collection.
    Congrats and continued success!

  • Michaela Pennington

    We met Rob at our first VIP event last weekend in Atlanta his knowledge and personality are great

  • Robert and Debra Goddard

    Met Rob at a VIP event in Boston this past August and have to say that he is by far, the best art auctioneer that we have had the pleasure of meeting. Ended up with a great LEBO piece as well as two Tim Yanke’s. They are now hanging in our livingroom looking even better than they did at the Ritz! Thanks Rob!

  • Bob Alter

    My wife and I have attended several of Rob’s VIP events and we couldn’t imagine a better host than Rob. We have LOVED every event he’s hosted – he has a great sense of humor, always keeps things interesting and informative, and always manages to arrange some sort of surprise to make it that much more special. Thanks to Rob, we’ve been able to meet artists such as Peter Max, Itzak Tarkay, Dominc Pangborn, Marcus Glenn, Simon Bull, Linda Le Kinff … well, you get the drift. Thanks Rob, and we wish you all the best, to you and your family!

  • Gail and Rex Stevens

    We first met Rob at the West Point VIP in Sept. 2010, and then at subsequent VIP events. I agree that Rob’s quick wit and resourcefulness are some of his best attributes. Our tour bus into Peter Max’s studio in NYC, became a sauna at 91 degrees inside (have pics to prove it). Rob was able to turn a very uncomfortable ride into an adventure we’ll never forget. AND got us into a new cool bus. Always enjoy your VIP events. Love your family photo!

  • Rob Ducat

    Thanks all for the comments! It has been a labour of love for 12 years and I still enjoy every minute of it.

  • Chuck Zirkle

    Met Rob at a VIP auction in Asheville in 2017. He is the ultimate professional and his quick wit is very entertaining. He keeps the auction moving. Found out he lives about 30 minutes from us and plays golf at a course I requent. Glad to have him and his family in the lowcountry. Look forward to seeing him in the future.

  • Chuck/Connye Zirkle

    Look forward to seeing Rob and his team again in 2019 at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC. This will be our third VIP auction with Park West Gallery and it always an over the top experience.

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