Meet the London art genius who ‘sold his first painting at five years old’ and followed his dreams despite Covid

It feels like a lifetime ago now, but before London stepped into Tier 3 last year, in early December, I had the chance to meet someone who is there despite the problems they’re having due to the Covid-19 pandemic is faced, has managed to lock successfully.

I also had the chance to get a glimpse of a new, unique art gallery in central London dedicated to exhibiting exotic paintings by overseas artists just before it opened to the public for the first time.

While I was excited to see everything the gallery had to offer, I also looked forward to meeting the man who made it all possible.

David Kovats, an art entrepreneur and former Sotheby’s auctioneer, attempted to sell his first painting at the age of five, so his ambitions were clearly on the right track from a young age.

“As a child I tried to sell my art,” said David, “I sold my first piece for two cents!”

David started selling paintings at a young age – now he has his own gallery in London

Typically, I went to the gallery on Long Acre in Covent Garden and carried too many bags with my scarf around everything, but I immediately felt a sense of calm once inside. It was light and airy, with plenty of space to admire the art.

David was there to greet me when I arrived and we immediately started a discussion about how he became so successful in the art world.

David was born in Hungary and already grew up as part of the art world as his father was also a well known collector.

“My earliest memory is when I was three years old,” explained David.

“My father had one of the first private auction houses in Hungary.”

At the age of 26, David left everything and came to London. Why? Because he loves it here.

“99 percent of the people seem to hate it here,” said David, “they say the people are horrible. But as soon as I landed, I felt the atmosphere.

“I think the people here are amazing. You can accomplish anything you set out to do here in London. Every option is here.

“This is the center of the art world.”

And with that it’s hard to argue. If you love art, London is definitely one of the best places to go.

You may have heard of the National Gallery and the Tate Modern, but the capital actually has 1,500 permanent art exhibition rooms, many of which are museums. Most of these art exhibitions are also amazingly free.

Plus, there are new exhibitions all the time, so it’s quite difficult not to see any art.

David would like his gallery to present the works of Eastern European artists, particularly Hungary, in London

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David managed to enter Sotheby’s auction house’s prestigious masters program, an accomplishment he allegedly achieved for being “very annoying”.

“It was in 2009. It was a difficult time to find a job. Sotheby’s didn’t even advertise jobs – it was very difficult to get in.

“But I got used to it somehow. I was very annoying!”

“I did an internship there and worked at Valuations,” added David, referring to a role giving advice on how much a work of art or art collection is worth.

David continued, “I’ve been working behind the scenes. I’ve visited houses and seen incredible things.

“It was wonderful.”

After gaining expertise at Sotheby’s, David returned to Hungary with his family for a while and decided to open his own auction house with his sister.

He explained: “I opened my own auction house with my sister in Hungary and it went well.

“Then we came to London and had an art sale in Soho last year.

“It was then that I realized that I wanted to do something more permanent here in London.

“I started working on the gallery planning, but then Covid struck.”

In July 2020, Oxford Economics projected a £ 77 billion revenue loss for the UK’s creative industries due to the pandemic.

Covid has severely impacted large parts of the creative industry and the creative professions as personal appearances have been virtually impossible.

While things like art galleries have been open in some places over the past year, if not during the closings, they too have been hit hard as they have had to close in certain places and see lower visitor numbers when they are open, either because of social distancing rules or because less Tourists are there.

Trying to open a brand new gallery during these times was definitely a challenge for David.

David’s first solo exhibition in his gallery shows the work of the artist Pista Horror

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“I decided that I just had to move forward and survive this pandemic,” David said.

“I kept working on it and we made it work.”

The David Kovats Gallery officially opened in Covent Garden on December 9, 2020. While it will be temporarily closed again during the current lockdown, it will reopen its doors as soon as possible.

David’s current exhibition is very unusual and fascinating. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it.

The gallery’s first solo exhibition shows the work of Pista Horror, an artist who mixes painting with ceramic technology.

When I look around the work of art, everything seems to be telling a story. There are many fascinating characters in the paintings; There is so much going on in every piece of art and I see something I know every time I look.

David’s long-term goals for his gallery are ambitious and worthy. He wants to show the work of artists from Eastern Europe and especially his country Hungary where he can, and he hopes to introduce both new and more established artists.

He hopes to share the work of these artists with a British audience that otherwise may never see such work.

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