With a background in media, the tech industry, and even politics, Will Kopelman is a modern-day Renaissance man. However, it was his love for the art world that inspired his career as an art adviser and dealer, where he advises clients on what to buy and how to find their own path in collecting. And when it comes to collecting, Will is passionate about the power of antique and vintage pieces to pull a room together (and we can’t help but agree just as passionately). With that in mind, we were recently able to persuade him to pull together a private sale of some of his favorite finds from his years of collecting, with all of his proceeds going to one of his favorite causes, Planned Parenthood.
We spoke with Will about the evolution of his career in the art world, his deeply personal love of antiques, and his favorite pieces that he’s selling (and is most going to miss!). See what he had to say below, and be sure to shop his private sale, available exclusively on Chairish.
Shop Will Kopelman’s Private Sale >>>
Tell us about how you became an art consultant. Is it something you always wanted to do, and how did you get started in the art world?
I fell into it rather unpredictably. Even though I was an art history and critical film theory major in college, and have always had a huge passion for the visual arts and collecting (mostly fostered by my parents), it was never my intention to work in the art world. That changed when I was working in Los Angeles as a story editor for the president of a movie studio, and someone approached me to build them a collection out of the blue—they had seen my collection of emerging artists at the time, and wanted to build their own. I had so much fun doing it, I just kept at it. But I’m not very industry immersed; I have a small business that I run rather privately, and I like doing it that way.
If you had to choose among the pieces that you’re selling, which items are your favorites?
I would say my favorite items are the pair of leather club chairs by Bart Van Bekhoven and the vintage latitude lined globe. The chairs are as comfortable as they are striking. And the latitude lined sailor’s globe I bought at a naval auction years ago… I think it’s such an eye-catching object that fuses the antique and the modern.
As an art consultant, you’re probably used to hearing every kind of question about art. Do you have any tips on collecting for newbies?
Yes. Buy what you love, and nothing else matters. But… if you’re going to really splurge on something expensive, consult with an expert first.
You are donating all of the proceeds of your Chairish sales to Planned Parenthood. What made you choose this organization and why is it important to you?
Considering the tragically backward steps of the past two years, and as a father of two young daughters, I feel that organizations like Planned Parenthood are more essential now than ever. And men everywhere should be more vocal about this important issue. We need to speak out with real tenor, and be far more involved in this effort—neutrality always favors the oppressor, and never the oppressed. I definitely beseech in particular all fathers of girls everywhere to actively take on, call out, and vote against politicians legislating choice for their loved ones.
To me, this is undoubtedly being on the right side of history. So much so, I know future generations will look back in horror and disbelief that we as a human race ever attempted to govern a woman’s reproductive rights, in the same way now we’re ashamed for generations before us who withheld women’s rights to vote, hold office, or power of attorney. So I’m passionate about this issue, not just because religious dogma has no place in democratic policy making, but because personal freedoms are what this country should stand for above all else.
On Chairish & Vintage Shopping…
What do you find most compelling about Chairish?
First and foremost, the one-stop shop aspect. When I was building my first loft 20 years ago, I had to drive to ten different places around Los Angeles for everything, from rugs to lighting fixtures to furniture—now it’s all in one place and I can browse from my sofa. But really I love the leadership of this company, its core beliefs, and curatorial vision. I believe Charish will be around for a very long time.
How does sustainability factor into your design choices and love of vintage?
Aside from carbon footprint awareness, I just love antiques. Whether it’s a vintage watch, jacket, or car, I’m far more inclined to buy a survival item from the past—my kids even poke fun about how much of what I own is “old.” But it’s quite simple, really… before technology was omnipresent, things were just made with more care, craft, and quality. Today we can put a rover on Mars but could never remake a Stradivarius violin.
Are there any dream vintage/antique “gets” you wish you could have? What’s a dream piece for you?
Anything by Claude and Francois Xavier Lalanne
Some Design Favorites…
Favorite way to create a statement-making moment in a room:
A large, compelling three-dimensional object
Favorite decorating “cheap thrill:”
Favorite iconic piece of vintage design:
Favorite paint color:
Favorite piece of decor in your home:
My secret whiskey bar
Favorite designer or artist from the past you most often turn to for inspiration:
Favorite style icon:
Design destination every creative should visit at least once:
Best piece of career advice you’ve ever received:
The harder you work, the luckier you get.
Some Lifestyle Favorites…
Favorite vacation destination:
Favorite hotel that’s inspired your work while traveling:
Villa Feltrinelli on Lake Garda
Favorite small museum:
Three-way tie: The Museum of Jurassic Technology, The Neue Gallery, and The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Favorite Instagram accounts to follow:
NASA, The Blessed One, The Economist, Natgeo, thefatjewish, Landmarksofny
Favorite hostess (or thank you) gift:
Great bottle of cold pressed Greek olive oil. I use it on everything.
Favorite adult beverage:
A very cold martini
Favorite way to unwind at home:
On the sofa watching movies with my wife, kids, and dog Archie
Favorite entertaining essential:
A solid playlist
Lead Photo: Simon Upton / The Interior Archive x Trunk Archive