The Art Newspaper, No. 305, October 2018
Oliver Hoare was arguably the most influential dealer in the Islamic art world, and one who broke the mould. He died on 23 August, aged 73. An exotic character with legendary levels of wit, charm and knowledge, Hoare also had an insatiable thirst for fun and adventure, and a magical spirit that dared to pursue the improbable. This was perhaps most apparent with his achievement of one of the most unlikely deals of the 20th century: negotiating with the rulers of Iran the exchange of the 16th century "Houghton Shahnameh" for a painting by Willem de Koonig.
Hoare's exotic streak is perhaps unsurprising: he was born in 1945 to a Russian mother and an English father who had met in Istanbul. After being sent to Eton, he studied at the Sorbonne's Institut d'Art et d'Archéologie, playing guitar in the city's cafés at night and meeting many of the colourful characters living in 1960s Paris. He had been fascinated with Persia since childhood, his father having given him some ancient coins, and he would travel there from France every summer holiday of his university years, a journey which took over a week by bus and train.
by Mathew Paton
The Art Newspaper
Arts of Asia 2018
...I had a thoroughly enjoyable and enlightening meeting with Oliver Hoare, who warmly welcomed me to his gallery, which recently reopened at Sir John Lavery's studio in South Kensington. This was a unique opportunity to hear some of his amazing experiences in the art world while also viewing the fascinating objects in his gallery.
Oliver has a unique talent to create unexpected presentations that are stimulating, yet challenging. Through decades of learning, appreciation and dedication, he has accumulated an encyclopedic knowledge that resulted in his very successful career as an art dealer. He stressed that in order to be prosperous there is always an element of luck; however, when an opportunity came his way he had the vision to grasp it.
by Robin Markbrieter, Publisher & Editor
Arts of Asia
The Telegraph Christmas Gifts 2017
Sir Terence Conran chooses Oliver Hoare's 'Every Object Tells a Story' catalogue to give to his daughter Sophie, an interior designer, this Christmas.
"Sophie has exquisite taste, so I approach present-buying with a small amount of trepidation - and knowing she will uncover the most thoughtful presents for me only adds to the pressure... I try to come up with gifts that will appeal to her inquisitive mind." - Sir Terence Conran
An Evening with Professor Bopearachchi
During the exhibition Professor Bopearachchi delivered a short lecture on a unique gold gilded bronze pectoral from 6th century AD depicting Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. He also discussed a series of objects from the exhibition which illustrate the connection between Indus Valley civilisation and Ancient Bactria. This is a little known story of great interest.
Arts of Asia Magazine
This summer's two main themes, "cross-collecting" and the need for a narrative, are precisely those initiatives pioneered by Oliver Hoare. His 2015 show, Every Object Tells a Story, created a sensation in the London art world and, two years later, he did it again. His 2017 exhibition retained the same title but was presented in South Kensington, at 5 Cromwell Place, running from 4th May to 5th July.
When it comes to breaking down cultural barriers no one can compete with Oliver Hoare. Here, cheek by jowl, were Man Ray's famous lips lithograph, a bronze Siberian tattooed man more than 2000 years old, a haunting Lele dance maks from the Congo, and ammonite fossil at least 250 million years old, a magnificent Safavid Qur'an, and much, much more... The show was augmented by an inspired programme of lectures, musical evenings and events for young people. I found that several visits were required, with periods of reflection between. Once again, Oliver Hoare's erudite catalogue, laced with wit and wisdom, is something to be treasured.
by Barbara Harding
‘Every object tells a story’ is an extraordinary exhibition at Storytellers. It displays the latest collection of work gathered by Oliver Hoare, one of London’s most distinguished dealers in art objects and curiosities. Our writers chose objects at the exhibition, found their stories and told them in the form of a sestude. Other 26 writers, in different parts of the country, were invited to take part by choosing and writing about their own objects. Our aim was to show that every object tells a story. We met in the morning to choose our objects, wrote our sestudes by lunchtime and had this website published by the end of the day.
"I had such a lovely morning and could have spent all day listening to the stories of every single object. I will be back for more."
"I thoroughly enjoyed today, what lovely people, what lovely things … I can’t believe I was there!"
"What treasure we created in a morning! And what treasures are sitting in the crown room of 5 Cromwell Place. Thank you again for letting us enjoy them … such a privilege to take part."
"Such a fabulous exhibition – I'm sure all of us could have written about every single object given enough time. I feel privileged to have been involved and a chance to meet such wonderful people."
"It all worked beautifully and was a truly memorable 26 event - a real highlight in our 14 year history … thank you Oliver for making it possible."
The Financial Times
Hour-long workshops courtesy of dealers and auction houses — encounters with anything from medieval Spanish works of art to paintings by Morandi — launch on June 20 when Professor Osmund Bopearachchi presents Indus Valley material at Oliver Hoare’s Every Object Tells a Story exhibition.
Art historian and critic, Susan Moore
Press Morning - 4 May 2017
We were thrilled to start the exhibition hosting a breakfast for members of the press with Professor Osmund Bopearachchi joining us to lend his expertise.
Photography: Lauriane Magnin
Leaving a friend's house in the country recently, I saw what I never see in London – stars. Belts of them, bright constellations to which humans have given grand names and patterns. I was awestruck – just like this stargazer, clasping his knees to his chest and tilting his head towards the heavens in amazement. The tiny Mexican hard-stone sculpture speaks to anyone who has ever glanced skywards and felt infinitely small.
K & C Magazine
Cabinet of Curiosities
From 4 May, Islamic art specialist Oliver Hoare will show his latest exhibition dedicated to rare and curious objects from 5,000 years of civilisation. Highlights include a 13th-century drinking vessel bearing the seal of Mongke Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan, a silver skull pomander believed to be have been owned by King James II, and a 2,000-year-old Mexican stargazer.
These will be displayed in the former studio of the artist Sir John Lavery, R.A., who occupied the space from 1899 until his death and hosted celebrated sitters, including King George V, Winston Churchill and Oscar Wilde.
Curious collection claims to show proof of unicorns
The art dealer Oliver Hoare believes in unicorns and is providing a wealth of material and documentary evidence at an exhibition that he believes should convince any sceptic.
He rejects the idea that the fabulous objects making up his collection, including a walking stick "made of unicorn horn" and a silver-tipped specimen dating from the 16th century, are merely the tusks of narwhals: "It is axiomatic that you cannot perceive something in which you do not believe."
In the exhibition, which opened yesterday in Sir John Lavery's former painting studio in London, there are sculptures, seals and engravings representing unicorns across millennia.
Two years ago, the private dealer Oliver Hoare offered a wonderful show, 'Every Object Tells a Story' (Country Life, June 10, 2015), which attracted more than 10,000 visitors to an impressive house in Fitzroy Square. From May 4 to July 5, he will be at 5 Cromwell Place, London SW7 with about 400 strange, wonderful and beautiful objects and more stories to go with them. They span five millennia and represent countless civilisations, each selected on the basis of their back stories and historical interest.
There will be a 13th-century silver drinking vessel bearing the seal of Mongke Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan, who ruled the Mongol Empire at its peak; a silver skull pomander believed to have been owned by James II; a rare group of votive figures from ancient Bactria; a 2,000-year-old Mexican stargazer; and sections dedicated to magic, myths, meteorites, sex and unicorns.
Oliver Hoare is proud to present Every Object Tells a Story, a public exhibition dedicated to approximately 400 rare and fascinating objects spanning five millennia and representing countless civilisations, each selected on the basis of their backstory and historical interest.
Leading highlights and curiosities of the exhibition include a 13th century silver drinking vessel bearing the seal of Mongke Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan and ruler of the Mongol dynasty at its peak; an exceptional group of objects from the Indus Valley civilisation, probably the finest in private hands; a silver skull pomander believed to have been owned by King James II; a rare group of votive figures from ancient Bactria; a 2000-year old Mexican stargazer; and sections dedicated to magic, sex, myths, meteorites and unicorns.
The exhibition will take place in the former studio of the artist Sir John Lavery, R.A. (1856-1941) who occupied the space from 1899 until his death, during which time he hosted celebrated sitters including King George V, Winston Churchill and Oscar Wilde. It follows on from the success of the previous edition held in Fitzroy Square in 2015 which showed approximately 250 objects, from Gandhara sculptures to a Dodo bone, and which welcomed more than 10,000 visitors.
The man who brought his dodo obsession to London's collectors in 2015 is now throwing his weight behind unicorns. The Islamic art dealer Oliver Hoare opens the second iteration of his predominantly selling exhibition Every Object Tells a Story at 5 Cromwell Place in London from May 4. The 400 pieces from about 3000BC to 2016 included items related to what most believe to be a mythical beast.
Hoare begs to differ, coining the term "unicorn-deniers" in the catalogue, which is due to go online this week. Among the items is a 2.07 meter "Unicorn's Horn" (northern Europe, 1427-1618), priced at £55,000. For the deniers out there, more believable objects include a 16th-century engraving, "The Unicorn Purifies the Water with his Horn" by Jean Duvet (£52,000), and an onyx sculpture of a unicorn by Michael Cooper (2016, £17,000).
Arts of Asia Magazine
I am now looking forward to several spectacular and enjoyable art events in the months ahead, and would like to mention two shows in particular. Oliver Hoare will be presenting a new edition of "Every Object Tells a Story", a public exhibition on view from May 4th to July 5th, 2017 at 5 Cromwell Place, London. The exhibition comprises approximately 400 unusual and interesting objects spanning five millennia that represent multiple civilisations; each has been carefully selected on the basis of its backstory and historical interest.
Highlights include a 13th century silver drinking vessel bearing the seal of Mongke Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan and ruler of the Mongol dynasty at its peak; an exceptional group of objects from the Indus Valley civilisation, probably the finest in private hands; a silver skull pomander believed to have been owned by King James II; a rare group of votive figures from ancient Bactria; a 2000-year old Mexican stargazer; and there are also sections dedicated to magic, sex, myths, meteorites and unicorns.
by Robin Markbreiter Publisher & Editor
Press from 2015 Exhibition
Arts of Asia - September-October 2015
In my view the most fascinating of London's summer events was the eclectic gathering of treasures assembled by Oliver Hoare and entitled Every Object Tells a Story. This show was presented in the elegant venue of 33 Fitzroy Square from 6th May to 26th June. In his early twenties Hoare became Christie's first Islamic Art expert and in this role his area of expertise stretched from Spain to China. His Exhibition included a wealth of treasures from this vast area.
I especially admired the 13th Dalia Lama's double bass (he was an avid jazz enthusiast); an array of coco-de-mer containers, including a wonderful example carved in Burma; a Chinese 17th century foot-massager; and the first European plans of Mecca and Medina (1664 1680 AD). In addition there were curiosities and rarities of all kinds from the natural world, including a bone of the Dodo and a lovely green jade pebble from Khotan, China.
World of Interiors - July 2015
An exquisite selection of objects, mostly from the lands along the Silk Route, comes together in an exhibition curated by Oliver Hoare. From the first European depictions of Mecca to the Dalai Lama’s double bass, the curiosities reflect many of the antique dealer’s passions and carry histories that illuminate a person, event or place. Christopher Gibbs introduces rarities ‘that sing, startle, make you smile and think.’
Come to Fitzroy Square, treat yourself to the enthralling catalogue, and open your eyes and your senses to this cornucopia of delights.
Such stuff as dreams are made on
The weird and the wonderful have a strange allure and could ‘brown’ be beautiful again?
When I visited Oliver Hoare’s fascinating show ‘Every Object Tells a Story’ at 33, Fitzroy Square W1 (until June 26), I half expected to hear that a contemporary from our early days at Christie’s had been one of the first buyers. Among the assembled works of art and curiosities is a group of 19th century erotic scrimshaw, of which one is engraved with his family motto; the accompanying crest would certainly not have been acceptable to the College of Heralds. If he had heard of it, he would have been too late, as Oliver had already sold the group as one collection.
Indulging his love of the Middle East
Oliver Hoare, the Islamic art dealer best known as advisor to the late Sheikh Saud bin Mohammed bin Ali al-Thani of Qatar during an eight-year, $2.5 billion (£1.7 billion) shopping spree, is to hold an exhibition of objects he has either collected himself or borrowed… Entitled Every Object Tells a Story, it promises to intrigue and stimulate.
His enthusiasm for the Middle East was first aroused as an art history student at the Sorbonne in the Sixties. This led to exploratory travels in the region before finding employment at Christie’s in 1967.
Times - 30 May 2015
Feel vibes of Dalai Lama’s Double Bass
Oliver Hoare loves and tells good stories. A private dealer, he collects collectors as well supplying them with antiquities, curiosities and works of art. Long ago. when he and I were boys at Christie’s, he set up the auctioneer’s first Islamic department, but while the Islamic arts remain at the core of his expertise, his interests now span the globe.
Antique Trade Gazette - May 2015
Hoare displays his diverse hoard spanning 5,000 years of History
The collection of an enthusiast with a truly eclectic eye is something to behold.
One such collector is Oliver Hoare, who founded Christie's Islamic art department, leaving in 1975 to become an independent art dealer specialising in Islamic Art.
Now he puts his own diverse collection of 250 objects and works of art from the past 5,000 years on display, in an exhibition titled Every Object Tells a Story, from May 6 to June 26 at 33 Fitzroy Square, in London's Bloomsbury.
"The point of the exhibition, as its title announces, is to celebrate the fascinating and often peculiar stories attached to works of art," says Oliver.
Time Out - 5-11 May 2015
Every Object Tells A Story: A Cabinet of Curiosities
Over 250 objects have been selected for their extraordinary backstories and historical significance in this fascinating show that covers the past 5,000 years. Celebrating the bizarre context rather than the value of these objects, which include a rare dodo bone, a wooden phallus and a jade pebble, curator Oliver Hoare wants to question what is considered beautiful and culturally important.