Lisa Russell – Owner, Russell Collection Fine Art Gallery
When people call the Russell Collection and ask, “How much is admission?” Lisa Russell knows she’s doing something right. The walls of her downtown Austin, Texas, gallery look like the walls of a museum, featuring works by Picasso, Pissarro, Chagall, Rembrandt and Matisse. She always smiles and tells them admission is free, and that every single painting on the wall and sculpture on display can be taken home – for a price of course.
The New York Times has called the Russell Collection “Austin’s most exclusive gallery” and living up to that name has been nothing short of exhilarating to a woman who doubled her retail space in one of the country’s most economically challenging times. Located in the popular West End shopping and arts district on Sixth Street, the gallery receives a high amount of drive-by and walk-in traffic. That’s why, in 2009, when the space adjacent to her then 2800 square-foot gallery came available, she jumped on the opportunity to almost double her space and now hosts receptions, lectures and exhibits for internationally renowned artists such as Peter Max, Ray Donley, Alexandra Nechita, Michael Kessler and Royo. In 2010, Lisa began the search for contemporary artists to add to her collection and has recently signed on to represent Daniel Matlzman, Chuck Voelter, Linda St. Clair, Rimi Yang, Ethan Diehl, Olga Porter and Ash Almonte.
It’s no wonder she has an eye for exquisiteness. Lisa was surrounded by beautiful things as a child; her mother is an interior decorator, her father an art collector and her grandmother an artist. Though she says artistic talents skipped a generation and thankfully found their way to one of her two young children, she’s always had an entrepreneurial spirit and an eye for fine art.
She moved to Austin with her husband in 2000 after graduating from Arizona State University with an MBA. With no plans to start a business, she fell in love with Austin immediately and began reevaluating what she wanted to do with her life. She soon realized that Austin did not have a gallery carrying museum quality art, and in 2002 opened her first location. For serious art collectors, this was a good thing. She’s wise to caution her clients not to purchase art for investment purposes and to find things that really speak to them – as it’s something they will be looking at day after day and passing on from generation to generation.
Lisa has been honored as a finalist in the Austin Business Journal’s Women of Influence 17th Annual Central Texas Profiles in Power.
Business Story on the Russell Collection:
While Many Luxury Item Sales Hurt – Fine Art Sales are Soaring