ART DEALER By age five, Michael Irvin loved art and museums but, in retrospect, his was no schoolboy infatuation. Today, his dedication to objets d’art has made him one of the most sought-after art dealers in Southern California. The wares of his perennial treasure hunt span his clients’ estates and summer homes, private planes and yachts anchored in Newport Beach and Monte Carlo. But Irvin is not simply a wholesale art dealer, for this stylish art connoisseur describes his work as “part psychologist, part art consultant,” and he uses his expertise to interpret and translate his clients’ artistic expressions.’ Many of my clients already have everything. Luxury cars, beautiful jewelry, clothes,’ said Irvin, a rugged 39-year-old who resembles a bronzed and taller Tom Cruise. ‘Their homes are their calling cards, and these homes command exquisite art.’ These demands require a comprehensive understanding of art history, and celebrities like Dr.
Phil Mcgraw and Orange County’s elites regularly call Irvin. His client roster is a veritable “who’s who” of OC society and includes a top Microsoft executive and a Saudi princess. Unlike traditional art dealers who simply locate art for their customers, Irvin consults with clients who have little time to research and are unsure of their decorative choices. He relies on his extensive database of artists and experts amassed over a decade of work, and buys directly from the source at wholesale prices.’ Michael has a solid grasp of what his clients want,’ said Sheldon Harte of Harte Brownlee & Associates, a celebrated interior design firm in Laguna Beach. ‘He’s the best in the business.’ Despite the posh imagery, Irvin, said his daily routine is anything but glamorous. His typical day involves unloading and carrying heavy canvases, wood panels or sculptures in all shapes and sizes.
... their portfolios or recognizing other pieces they have created. A client usually hires someone with a style he prefers. Other qualities ... agency, a magazine or newspaper, or even in his own home as a freelance designer. There are few specific requirements needed ... criticism positively. Oftentimes criticism is what makes a piece of art better. Depending on the project, job duties may include designing ...
But Irvin doesn’t complain. The son of a Dallas fireman, Irvin grew up in Texas and was first exposed to opulence and excess during a stint as a chauffeur for Texas oil tycoons. He later worked as a caterer at the mansions of Stanley Marcus, of Neiman Marcus department stores, and society mavens like Anne Bass.’ I became acclimated to fine things I’d never seen as a kid,’ said Irvin, who speaks with a slight, charming Southern accent. ‘It was a lifestyle I wanted for myself.’ Irvin went into business moving fine art to athletes’ homes in Colorado and Califor ina, then settled in Irvine in 2000 and worked at an art gallery in Laguna. When friends constantly asked him for decorating advice, Irvin realized he could parlay his expertise into a specialized business. Irvin’s company, Studio Art House, was born.
The friendships he makes through his work, Irvin said, are his greatest satisfaction. On a recent afternoon, he shared lunch with Larisa Krupp, a client turned friend, surrounded by the art he chose for her ocean-view Spanish villa in Laguna Beach. ‘I love what I do,’ he said. ‘I can’t imagine anything better than creating beauty and meeting truly intriguing people through my work.’.