Caryn Krueger owner and founder of CSM Art & Frame in Chatham, NJ, is an “art matchmaker.” Her wealth of experience, carefully curated collection of art, and strong relationships with artists and the art community at large make her and CSM Art & Frame invaluable resources to private clients and design professionals.
Tell us the genesis of CSM Art & Frame.
I’d learned the ins and outs of running a gallery, and developed relationships with different artists; I wanted to take that expertise to cultivate connections between artists and buyers. At first, CSM didn’t have a real space. It was just me in my car, going to clients’ houses and showing them pieces. As we grew, we used an industrial space for storage. Six years ago, we opened a gallery for the collection in downtown Chatham in a really cool, old carriage house built in 1857. The space really lends itself to highlighting the art.
How do you curate your collection?
I’m always traveling, shopping and looking for the next find in hopes that it will be the perfect match for a client. There’s nothing here in the collection that I don’t love. I choose pieces based on my experience and relationships with artists, clients and designers.
Share how you work with designers.
I started out working with private clients, but once I cultivated the collection, I realized CSM offered a niche resource for designers. Once designers discover their clients’ needs, they can work with us to bring ideas and presentations back to their clients without having to go to multiple galleries. We have over 6,000 frames, so we can work with designers to find the exact fit for any chosen piece of art. Also, if they’re looking for something we don’t already have, we’ll find it!
What advice can you give to first-time art buyers?
Most first-time art buyers claim they don’t know how to buy art. I tell them to rely on their emotional responses to particular pieces. You never know what image or color will evoke a response – be it memories of family, travel, culture, etc. I get the conversation going, pull out pieces for them, and guide them through the discussion of the medium, the art and the artists.
It’s truly amazing to see the transformation when their emotions take over. Something about a piece will implant in their brains, and they can’t stop thinking about it.
What was one of your most rewarding experiences in matching a client with the perfect piece of art?
One of the first jobs that I did independently was selecting art for a bachelor’s new apartment. We discussed his needs and interests, and based on that, I found a signed photograph of a sporting event for a team I knew he loved. When I brought it to him, he told me he was at that very event as a spectator. He is actually pictured in the photograph; you can see his little head in the audience! What are the chances of that?!
Photo of Caryn by Adrienne Bonvento