When you enter the Mary Tomás Gallery in the Design District, your senses are immediately heightened by the high-ceilinged 2,500-square-foot space that invites you in to explore the many works of art. You may find enormous abstract paintings lining one wall, while a freestanding sculpture basks in the natural light near the front windows. Toward the back of the gallery, past the partner desk of Mary and Alberto Tomás, hangs a portrait of Johnny Depp as the character Hunter S. Thompson from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
This is indeed a gallery where art comes to life.
The Tomáses have been involved in the business of art in Dallas for over 39 years. Their experience encouraged them to open their fine art gallery business in 1998, and each year has been peppered with growth and opportunity. Their passion for art, enthusiasm and energy fuels their drive. “The gallery is engaged in the growth of Dallas’ reputation as a flourishing arts destination. All of our lives, we’ve had this vision,” says Alberto.
“In this gallery, we offer such an exceptional and varied group of artists that we’ve had people come to us who want to start collecting art. It is not unusual for a patron to add several pieces to create a comprehensive collection,” he continues.
“Because of our art, creative direction and advertising background, we are able to understand clients’ needs. Our client relationships are valued,” explains Mary, who goes on to note that the couple works with collectors and patrons from all walks of life as well as being a resource for interior designers. “Our trade relationships are extremely important to us.”
The gallery represents a wide selection of regional, national and international mid-career contemporary artists. “These are artists who are steadily growing. They are living artists who have something to tell the world. You may find our represented artists’ works in important museum, corporate or personal collections,” Alberto says.
The couple handpicks the artists they represent and travels extensively to find fresh talent. At any given time, Mary Tomás Gallery might showcase painters, printmakers and sculptors from Texas, Tennessee, Santa Fe and North Carolina, alongside artists from Spain, Mexico, South Africa and Italy.
An award-winning painter in her own right, Mary has a separate 500-square-foot studio at the back of the gallery where she creates works for her Dallas and Santa Fe galleries.
“One of the things we love about this space, in particular, is that we have taller ceilings and we’re able to exhibit really big work. There aren’t many galleries that have the ability to exhibit large works of fine art. We’re able to really focus and feature pieces that are destined for large homes or corporate offices,” says Mary.
Special openings consistently attract hundreds of visitors. Drawing on their combined experience both as artists and curators, Mary and Alberto pride themselves on being team players and helping patrons find the right pieces for their collections. They provide consulting for corporate clients, including hospitals and hospitality, as well as guidance for private collectors and interior designers. Upon request, the gallery offers custom art commissions for private residences and commercial properties.
In addition to the established artist, the duo keeps their eye out for up-and-coming talent as well. “Art is always changing and it’s so exciting and it’s infinite,” says Alberto. As members of the Dallas Art Dealers Association (DADA) and the Contemporary Art Dealers of Dallas (CADD) the gallery taps into the ever-changing pulse of the burgeoning art world.
Mary and Alberto’s love of art is infectious. Spend any time with them and if you were not a patron of the arts before, you certainly will be afterward.
“With original fine art you are bringing into your home part of that person’s heart and soul,” says Alberto. It is safe to say that the Tomáses have poured their lives into their gallery and the artists they represent.
Leslie J. Thompson is a Dallas-based freelance writer with a passion for interior design.