Ewa Cohen of Cohen & Cohen on BADAs IWD 2016 Initiative

Posted: 2016-03-09 17:34:28 - Last updated: 2016-03-09 17:35:44

BADA is backing IWD 2016’s #PledgeForParity and Women’s History Month by celebrating women who have successfully challenged gender stereo types in the traditionally male dominated environment of fine art and antiques.

We continue our initiative today with the inspirational story of Ewa Cohen, specialist in Chinese Export Porcelain and co-founder of Cohen & Cohen.

Ewa studied Law in Poland and worked part time in the Warsaw Museum, before undertaking a one-year intensive course in The History of Fine Art and Decorative Art at the Study Centre of the V&A.

She was advised by one of her tutors to work with a dealer, where she spent seven years before starting her own career as a dealer with a stand in Portobello Road, where she sold oriental art. She says of her decision, “it was a case of if I don’t do it now, I never will, and I’ve never looked back.”

At the time, her business partner in Cohen & Cohen and husband Michael Cohen, had his own shop in Portobello Road, and the pair first met when they were introduced by a mutual friend on route to an auction in Amsterdam.

Looking back Ewa admits that her early years in the industry were a daunting experience, she said: “The world of fine art and antiques is still very male dominated and extremely tough for a woman to break into. I take my hat off to any woman that is able to do it by themselves. It’s a very lonely job.”

“When I first started out, and even now, I find I’m side-lined from time to time. It doesn’t bother me as much as it used to when I was younger, I’m happy to take a background role these days, (she laughs), not really.”

Ewa has over 40 years’ experience in the antique and fine art industry but insists that collecting outstanding pieces is still her passion, she added: ““I believe dealers are all collectors at heart. I have started collecting bits and pieces but we have to make a living and we can’t compete with our own collectors.”

“We are in a privileged position because we are able to hold beautiful objects for a while and enjoy them. You get the high from possessing them, even if you know you are going to have to let them go”

“I have been known to have tears in my eyes when we have to let a favourite piece go. It’s pathetic. I’ve even said to buyers that if they ever want to part with an object, please contact me and we will take it back.”

The British Museum, the Groeninger Museum and the Peabody Essex Museum are just some of the world renowned museums that are now showing important pieces supplied by Cohen and Cohen, who have also been instrumental in the formation of some of the World’s most important private collections.

So with all these achievements, what does Ewa consider to be the highlight of her career to date, she continued: “It’s impossible to pick one piece and say that was the best moment of my career, it’s like asking a mother to choose which one of her children is her favourite.”

“Probably the most memorable would be a pair of Leopards which were sold into a private collection. They were and still are the world record price for a piece of Chinese export porcelain.”

Cohen & Cohen will be exhibiting at TEFAF Maastricht March 11-20

For more information, on #PledgeForParity visit www.internationalwomensday.com

For more information on Ewa Cohen and Cohen & Cohen, visit www.cohenandcohen.co.uk

Powered by Online Galleries