Dali Meets Rembrandt
Gallery HB adds Michal Cheval to its exclusive group of artists
By: David Carrillo
If you went strictly by definition, The Gallery HB is an art gallery. But like the art it holds, when you look closer you’ll find something more. And that is because of the work and philosophy of owner Peggy Howell.
Howell, an architect by trade, had the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream by taking over ownership of The Gallery HB in 2004. Since taking over operations she’s been able to fulfill her philosophy of “selling happiness,” which has allowed her to become what she calls “an ambassador for Southern California artists.”
In the past five years, very few artists have made their way into the Gallery HB. To get in, an artist has to be juried in by Howell and her staff. In addition, the Hyatt has a strict policy that states that the art displayed must be something that the entire world would enjoy. Says Howell, “We want art that is of the highest caliber.”
With these incredibly high standards, Howell selected Michael Cheval because of his obvious talent and desire to be a world-class painter. “Cheval’s art is very intriguing and it requires thought. Not deep, heavy thought you have to think about for a very long period of time, but you have to peruse it,” says Howell. “It actually touches a part of the viewer’s insight – letting them into his analogy – and it enables the viewer to decipher what he is trying to relate. It’s all done very quickly, but when you finally do, you go ‘that’s what it says, I understand now.’”
Cheval has a unique style that Howell has termed “Dali meets Rembrandt.” She says that he has the surrealism and fantasy of a Salvador Dali type, along with the exquisite, realistic touch of Rembrandt. “His figures, the colors that he uses, and the outfits that the people are wearing are conducive to an age and time of which Rembrandt painted,” says Howell.
One of Howell’s amazing success stories was her aid in the development of artist Todd White. By promoting her artists through advertisements and editorials she facilitates a constant growth and gradual exposure to the world. Says Howell, “We try to promote our artists incrementally; and our long-term goal, say in the next three to five years, is that Cheval becomes a household name among his peers and among those that collect the finer arts.”
Currently Howell is in the process of selecting fine art galleries to place Cheval’s work. While Howell is looking to give Cheval exposure, she is being very careful to place his work in galleries that only display the work of reputable artists. She has a commitment to longevity and fine art, as does Cheval, and she wants to make sure any gallery that shows his work has the same commitments.
“Nothing is very special when everybody has one,” says Howell. “You don’t want to be in 25 galleries, some of which are second-grade. You want the eight or nine that are the best, and those are the ones we are seeking.”
The Gallery HB
Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa