Art collecting is an unruly passion. It starts with an appreciation of beautiful things and then it can become an obsession. In my case it has been going on for more than thirty years. It started slowly; I bought a few pieces at first, then a few more after that, then more and more each year. Since I never sell original works, the collection has grown to such proportions that I have had to build more rooms to my house, not because I need more house, but because I needed more wall space.
In 1992, my collection was extensive enough that acquaintances, and strangers, were knocking on my door with their visiting friends and relatives asking if I minded if they could show them around. I realized I needed a more businesslike arrangement, so now I offer a guided tour which takes about two hours.
People don't know what to expect when they come to visit the museum, but they like it when they see it. And then they tell their friends and relatives who come later. In other words, advertising is mostly word-of-mouth. Many people who have lived in the islands for some time remark when they come here for the first time, “I had no idea there is so much here to see.” There is a lot to see, appreciate, and to learn from.
The artists that I am exhibiting now—over 270 in number—know their best pieces are in the Lambiel Museum and they are happy that they are in one place to be experienced instead of having them scattered all over the country. And that is the purpose of the museum: to house and preserve and display the best pieces by the best artists who live or have ever lived in the San Juan Islands.
People appreciate fine art. It fulfills a need of the human heart. The creativity of the artist is admired, the diversity of expression is enjoyed, the meaning of the content is educational, and the perception of the beauty is uplifting.