When looking for a good Valentine’s Day “Have You Met?” couple, we wanted to highlight two people that have been a constant and stable presence in our community. Mikkel and Catherine Saks, owners of the prestigious Saks Galleries in Cherry Creek North, have done just that through holding numerous events, artist’s preview shows, and creating a strong community education program. Saks Galleries, celebrating its 50th anniversary, has truly elevated the art scene in Denver and Colorado to a level that compares with any other major city.
The well-known “Best of” award-winning Cherry Creek gallery opened in 1963 by Mikkel's father, Lemon Saks. Lemon previously owned an antique shop in downtown Denver called “The House of Saks” and then the “Denver Art Galleries” at 1635 Broadway; and Lemon’s goal was to bring fine collectible art to Colorado. Today, Saks Galleries is a major clearinghouse for important works of art sold here in the Rocky Mountains and throughout the world. They have supported and represented such talented artists as Quang Ho, Gordon Brown, Kim English, Ron Hicks, Michelle Torrez, Walt Gonske, Edward Aldrich, Olga & Aleksey Ivanov and Jill Soukup – among others.
Mikkel Saks has been entrenched in art and music all his life. He is a member of the Appraisers Association of American and is an expert in numerous forms of European and American art especially Native Americana. He plays the piano and guitar brilliantly; and I found out that in the late 60’s, he performed with the famous rock group Sugar Loaf (native Jerry Corbetta was the lead singer) that began in North Denver (now the Highlands). Mikkel is a board member of the Art Students League of Denver, and he and Catherine were honored by the ASLD at their “Art and Soul” gala event.
Catherine Saks grew up in a big ranching family, and her mother is a descendent of the Colorado Horace Tabor family. Catherine remembers the early days of being in Denver and going to all the fabulous downtown stores to shop and then eat at Duffy’s. Catherine is - or has been - a board member of the Diane Price-Fish Foundation, the Auraria Day Care, and Four Paws of Colorado. She is the "complete" mother/grandmother and loves to guide young and new artists with their careers. Her friend “Have You Met” Felicia Diamond says: “Catherine is my hero! She’s kind, smart, extremely generous – and constantly on the move… Whether she’s at the gallery, running steps at Red Rocks or working out at Pure Vida, she remains understated, but always elegant and calm.”
The Saks’ created the highly-anticipated “American Art Invitational” show to: “Not only showcase the best in American representational art, but also to provide an educational platform in which collectors might cross their traditional boundaries.” Mikkel commented. (The show takes place this year starting Friday, May 9th. For more information call Saks Galleries at: 303-333-4144.)
Catherine’s and Mikkel’s influence is far-reaching, and they are valued friends to many. Even with their level of sophistication, refinement and culture, they are refreshingly gentle, warm and laid-back. They are qualified educators in their field; but what stands out most is their sense of compassion for people and animals.
Their goal is to make all guests, young and old, feel comfortable coming into Saks Galleries, even if it’s just to see the beautiful art pieces. Both Catherine and Mikkel say: “Art speaks to people in many different ways. Whatever you do in your life, do it artfully! We want to take the intimidation out of art by being accessible while still keeping a certain level of quality and professionalism. We know the art we sell is good, and in today’s market it’s also a good value. Whatever the form of art, we hope it evokes a sense of appreciation for the artist and their work. We will continue with our plan to educate people through our seminars and demo’s of various artists’ work.”
For the passion they bring to the world of art and their community, and the class and elegance they have brought to our city, we present to you Mikkel and Catherine Saks as our Valentine’s Day couple 2014.
You have one of the most fabulous galleries in the country, tell us about some of the charitable events you have been involved with and some of the ones you have sponsored at Saks Galleries? We have hosted many events to benefit animal causes such as the “Bow Wow Benefit.” It was so much fun… we were wall to wall with dogs and their people! Children’s Hospital benefits from our “American Art Invitational.” We hosted a fabulous event a couple years ago to benefit The Hubbell Trading Post, which is a part of the National Parks Association. We also worked with Channel 6 for years helping them with their art auctions to raise money for PBS.
Where did the two of you get married, and what was the day like? Catherine & Mikkel: Because of time constraints we got married in the Denver Courthouse, then had champagne with close friends and family in Civic Center Park. The park was very different 37 years ago. It was the most beautiful autumn day; all the trees were in high color. There is nothing quite like those last warm days of autumn in Denver. Later we had a fabulous honeymoon in San Francisco.
When you first met, what was the first thing you noticed about each other? Mikkel: The attraction was immediate. I was a little nervous about approaching her but what a life changing decision it was!
What social or charitable events do you look forward to attending each year? Catherine & Mikkel: Over the years, we have attended so many wonderful events. Being animal lovers, The “Do at the Zoo” is one of our favorites.
As a couple, what's your first priority? Catherine & Mikkel: Our priorities have changed over the years. Of course when we had small children, they were always first. Now we focus on our own dreams more often while still enjoying family time.
What main quality do you admire in each other? Catherine: We have very different strengths. Mikkel isn’t the most organized person, but is very perseverant. I am just the opposite.
What do you have most in common? Catherine & Mikkel: We share a love of music, art, travel and good food!
They say sometimes opposites attract; what is the most different thing about the two of you? Mikkel: I like to get up and go in the morning. Catherine requires a lot of time to get going. I am ready for bed early and Catherine is a real night owl.
Where do both of you like to go for a romantic dinner - in Colorado? Catherine & Mikkel: We love Nicky’s in Estes Park. They have a great piano player named Ray Young on the weekends. A table by the fireplace in the winter is very special.
What is your favorite vacation spot – and why? Catherine & Mikkel: We love England. We have traveled the entire country and love it all. We do business in London as well as enjoy the theatre, arts and the restaurants.
What do you plan on doing for Valentine's Day this year? Catherine & Mikkel: We are babysitting our precious grandson while our kids have a romantic evening. We will have a special dinner the next evening.
How do you decide which artists you will represent? Catherine: There are many factors that go into which artists we represent. We are looking for artists who produce consistent, quality work. We want to offer our customers art that is a good value in the market. We also try to represent artists who are team players, and artists we enjoy doing business with.
What is a treasured family possession that you hope will be passed on through the generations? Catherine & Mikkel: Our cabin in the mountains. We love spending quiet time there and hope that our kids and grandkids will find the same contentment there.
In your opinion, what does it take to get to that special place known as "wedded bliss? Mikkel: Commitment. Relationships are a roller coaster, so hanging on for the ride is how they endure.
Tell us about a great Saks family tradition? Catherine & Mikkel: We have a lot of great cooks in our family, so holidays and family get together are very special. The memories flow, and there are a lot of laughs.
What are you most looking forward to in the future? Catherine & Mikkel: We plan to continue to do exactly what we are doing… hopefully blessed with good health. We so look forward to seeing our grandchildren grow.
What changes can you anticipate for the art world in the future? Catherine & Mikkel: We both feel very optimistic about the art world of the future. Technology has conditioned us to spend less time thinking, differentiating and formulating opinions. Too often we believe what we hear and see. People often believe that they can learn more about art via the Internet than they can in a gallery or a museum- that is not true. Our goal at Saks Galleries is for art to make a difference in people’s lives. We offer lectures and weekend artist demonstrations in the hope that our customers will come to understand the true value of a work of art. We live in a fast-moving commercial world, but only paintings and sculpture of true merit will withstand the test of time.