Skip to main content Navigation

Sales Strategy

A Passion For Picasso And A Case of Great Timing |  July 08, 2015 (0 comments)


Telluride, CO—Ah, there are few things better than a good sales story! Every jeweler has some—and some have many. But the story is especially great when it involves fine art at a jewelry/art gallery and a world-famous artist.

Jeweler and gallery owner Neal Elinoff of Elinoff & Co. Gallerists and Jewelers in Tellluride, CO, shared this fun sales story with The Centurion:

Elinoff offers us this background: “Picasso's last major relationship was with Jacqueline [his second wife]. They had two children, Claude and Paloma. After his death, Jacqueline married Jonas Salk, who discovered the polio vaccine. 

“Salk, a Jewish Frenchman, was invited to spearhead a research institute in Southern California under his name.  Of course, his wife Jacqueline, Pablo Picasso’s widow, came with him. Jacqueline spent many years to make sure that her children became legitimate heirs to the Picasso estate, because French law is a little peculiar on this.”

Elinoff connects to this through the director of the research institute where Salk was. The director is a regular visitor to Telluride, and one of his customers. “She’s sweet and, obviously, very smart,” says Elinoff. “She got to be very good friends with Jacqueline Picasso, and when her youngest son was born, she asked Jacqueline to be his godmother.” Picasso accepted.

Elinoff watched the director’s son grow through the year. He describes him as quite a precocious child who was fascinated by the store’s unusual inventory, a mix of jewelry and art. “Once he wandered in and desperately wanted a piece of fossilized dinosaur dung I had sitting as a paper weight on the sales desk.  He bugged me to death for it and I eventually gave it to him, of course.”

“So one day a customer comes in and was looking at an affordable Picasso linocut and asked about it. I told him about it and that Picasso's widow was a very good friend of my friend,” said Elinoff. “I told him if he really wanted, I could probably get her to write a note saying that the linocut was authentic, although it wasn't necessary. It's a cataloged piece and I could show that to him.”

At this point, Elinoff said the customer probably thought he was a nut. “I was talking so frankly about something that is so profoundly out of most people's reach,” he said. “At that point, in walks the director’s son, the little boy whom I hadn't seen since their last visit six months earlier. He's about 10 years old and I just love the kid.”

Still with the Picasso customer, Elinoff greeted the child, asking when they got into town. Adam (not his real name) responded that they just got in. “He's perusing some of our fossils and whatever, looking for something fascinating that he can try and convince his mother to buy. I blurt, ‘Adam, who did you say your godmother is?’ and he responded like any other ten-year-old kid, ‘Jacqueline Picasso.’”

“The customer was so astonished,” said Elinoff. “Obviously I wasn't such a nut and he said, ‘You know what? I think I'll purchase that little Picasso’ and that was that.”

Elinoff says he didn't actually close the sale. “The ten-year old son of a customer did it for me.” He wishes this type of close were more frequent, but he is still happy it happened and that there was a great story from it.

Share This:

Leave a Comment:

Human Check