Gallerist at Home: L’Anne Gilman

L’Anne Gilman, owner of Gilman Contemporary in Sun Valley, Idaho, has a really personal collection, focusing mainly on photography.

As Gilman explains, “Photography has been my personal passion for over 20 years.”  She was first encouraged by her father, who inspired her to take photographs throughout her teenage and college years.  After graduating from college, she moved to Sun Valley where she began her gallery work and where Gilman says she was lucky enough to work with an owner who also had a passion for photography.  In her own words, this time period was when “I truly began to develop my own eye and move toward collecting photographs for my home.” - Ellen C. Caldwell, Los Angeles Contributor

1. Group photo
L’Anne Gilman (center) pictured with Gilman Contemporary directors Casey Hanrahan and Raine Kidder.  Photo courtesy of Charles Kay, Jr.

Gilman’s home is inviting and warm, with a definite sense of purpose and personality.  As with all Gallerist at Home columns, it is interesting to see how she collects outside of her comfort zone (and passion zone) of photography at home and at her gallery, welcoming many other kinds of art, especially with help from her directors, Casey Hanrahan and Raine Kidder.

2. Spencer
Jack Spencer | World Watcher, 2009, 24 x 27,” digital print.Photo courtesy of Miriam Gilman.

Ellen Caldwell: If you had to choose one piece of art in your home that you would never sell, what would it be?

L’Anne Gilman: This is a photograph by Jack Spencer that hangs in my kitchen and if I had to choose one piece that I would never sell, it would be this one.  It is titled "World Watcher.”  I purchased it from Catherine Edelman, a gallerist whom I have long admired and for whom I have much respect.  This is one of three that I own by Jack.   My first purchase of his work was in the early 90's and I have followed him ever since. I introduced his work to the gallerist for whom I worked at the time and she agreed to show his work.  This was in 2001 and she has shown him ever since.  Jack's photographs are hauntingly beautiful and as images that are shot primarily in the South, they are nostalgic for me as I grew up in TN.  I chose this particular work because it brings back such fond memories of my grandfather sitting outside his house on his bench after dinner every night overlooking the hillside.   I would say a lot of why I choose a work is based on how it makes me "feel.”

3. Blackmon
Julie Blackmon |High Dive, 2010, 40 x 53. Photo courtesy of Miriam Gilman.

EC: And what about this other photograph in your living room – could you tell me a bit about this one?

LG: In my dining room hangs the first Jack Spencer I purchased (the woman holding the magnolia) and I recently added a Julie Blackmon to our collection "High Dive."  Like all of her work, this image titled "High Dive" was created with family members, friends and props—all carefully arranged and color-coordinated and then shot over a period of days.  They are then seamlessly pieced together in Photoshop.  As a mother of three, I can relate to all of her work.   In “High Dive,” I love the eerie mood she has created with parents dining outside a mansion as they ignore the potential danger on a balcony, where kids — one of them holding up a toddler — are flinging dolls into a wading pool.  She is a master a creating such a pull between what appears to be very dark and what is honestly quite humorous.  They have appropriately been described as “carrying a disquieting power.”  There is not one I would not want to own and we have been fortunate enough to have had two successful exhibitions that include Julie's work at the gallery.

4. Maxwell
Jane Maxwell | Walking Girls, 2012, 36 x 48, mixed media with resin on panel. Photo courtesy of Miriam Gilman.

EC: Outside of photography, you have some other really unique pieces.  Could you tell me about some of your favorites?

LG: While photography is clearly what we collect most, I have a few paintings and sculptures in our collection.  This one below is by one of our gallery artist, Jane Maxwell.  I first saw Jane's work about four years ago and the image always stuck with me.  It was one of those things that each time I saw a new image, whether in an invitation, online or in an ad, I loved them even more.  I finally reached out to her and we clicked immediately.  The first exhibition we had nearly sold out and after showing her for two years, I decided I had to have one for our own home.  She worked with me to make it feasible and this piece is perfect!  It is actually my husband's favorite work in our collection!

5. Jolley
Richard Jolley | Sanguine sculpted glass, 16" x 8" x 9.” Photo courtesy of Miriam Gilman.

EC: That’s great – and what about this glass sculpture on your bookcase?

LG: The image below shows the work of Tennessee sculptor Richard Jolley.  To be honest, I have never really been drawn to glass.  But Richard is an exception.  I purchased this piece titled "Sanguine" in 1997 when Richard and his equally talented wife, Tommy, were visiting Sun Valley.   His sculpted glass works were unlike anything I had ever seen.  While his works are metaphors for man's relationship with the world in which he lives, they maintain a wonderful sense of humor and whimsy.  I was drawn to this particular piece because of its color and the work I knew it took to create that curly hair was beyond impressive.  Not to mention it too makes me smile and its title reminds me of what Richard and Tommy are like as people - optimistic and confident.

6. GCExterior
Gilman Contemporary gallery exterior. Photo courtesy of Charles Kay, Jr.

EC: In every Gallerist at Home, I am particularly interested in seeing how and if a gallerist’s home collection differs from that of the gallery.  Where do you see yourself fitting into this spectrum – is your private collection very different from the work you represent?

LG: I am a photography "junkie" and have been for over 20 years now.   However, I did not want to open a gallery that focuses solely on photography, as I feel there are too many artists who work in a variety of mediums that not only appeal to me, but in whom I believe and want to share with clients.   While no doubt my own personal aesthetic and sensibilities influence who we represent, I work closely with my staff, Casey and Raine when we consider what artists we want to add to our roster.  They have their own aesthetics that I admire and frankly, they challenge my own eye and I like that.  Together I feel we present nice range of artists' works in the gallery that address our mission to advance the appreciation and acquisition of contemporary work.

8. bruce weber
Gilman with dog and photo wall, including her favorite photo by Bruce Weber titled Rowdy and John, Little Bear Ranch, MT, August 1992.

EC: That is great.  You have so many unique photographs in your home – and it is clear that this is truly your passion.  Do you have any personal favorites that resonate with you on a more emotional level?

LG: When I look at the collection my husband, Nick and I have built over the last 21 years, I still have a personal favorite which is on this wall behind me - middle of the top row.   The photograph is by Bruce Weber titled "Rowdy and John, Little Bear Ranch, MT" August 1992.  I bought it from an auction at Howard Greenberg Gallery nearly 15 years ago that he put together to benefit the NY Animal Society.  To this day, it makes me smile whenever I walk past it.  Partially because I adopt every dog my husband will allow, but more so because I love Bruce Weber's photographs and it was my first opportunity to actually purchase one his works. This particular work, while not a well-known or even publicized image, is one that speaks to me on so many levels and is one I feel is compositionally brilliant.

7. photo wall and portrait
Detail of Bruce Weber photo Rowdy and John, Little Bear Ranch, MT, August 1992. Photo courtesy of Miriam Gilman.


L’Anne Gilman graduated from UNC Chapel Hill in 1991 with a Bachelor’s in Art History.  She moved to Ketchum, ID where she met her husband and settled down, after a brief time in Chicago where she worked with a private art dealer.  From 1991 – 2007, Gilman worked as the director for Gail Severn Gallery, then Anne Reed Gallery before opening Gilman Contemporary in 2007.  

Gilman Contemporary is exhibiting Jason Langer’s photography exhibit “In Search of Lost Time ~ 25 Years” through December 20th and then will exhibit John Westmark's painting show “Material Matters” from December 20th through January 20th.

Ellen C. Caldwell is an LA-based art historian, editor, and writer.

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