Treger/Saint Silvestre Collection, Portugal - MEET THE COLLECTOR Series Part Five


Richard Treger and Antonio Saint Silvestre, who are based in Portugal, have put the Treger/Saint Silvestre Collection together. They currently have a large show of the collection titled ‘Extravaganza’ that was curated by Antonia Geata that is on display at the Centro de Art Oliva in Portugal.

richard 7.png

1.     When did your interests in the field of outsider/folk art begin?
It all started about 30 years ago when we met Luis Marcel who ran an outsider art gallery in Roanne, France.

2.     When did you become collectors of this art?
We have been collecting art for more than 40 years and we have always liked uncommon artistic expression.

3.     Can you tell us a bit about your backgrounds?
Richard Treger was a pianist from Zimbabwe and Antonio Saint Silvestre was a self-taught artist from Mozambique. They met in Paris a long time ago and decided to open a gallery together in Paris, rue Mazarine. They sold the gallery in 2010, so that they would have more time to look after their collection.

4.     What is it that draws your eye away from contemporary art to outsider/folk art? Or do you collect both?
We feel attracted to the parallel world they live in, their sincerity and the non-commercial side of their minds, which makes them free to express themselves. The artists are like oysters that create a pearl to survive.

5.     What style of work, if any, is of particular interest to you within this field? (for example is it embroidery, drawing, sculpture, and so on)

All forms of expression interest us.

6.     Would you say you had a favourite artist or piece of work within your collection? And why?
We like all our ‘children’ in the same way.

‘Extravaganza’ currently on view in Portugal © Dinis Santos

‘Extravaganza’ currently on view in Portugal © Dinis Santos


7.     Is there an exhibition in this field of art that you have felt has been particularly important? And why?
The exhibition of the abcd collection at the Maison Rouge in Paris a few years ago was important - the quality and the variety of the works! The photo brut exhibition in Arles was outstanding as well. (This features in Bruno Decharme’s interview).

8.     Where would you say you buy most of your work from: a studio, art fairs, exhibitions, or direct from artists?
Galleries and Art Fairs.

9.     As you have a large collection now, what sort of pieces are you looking to continue to add to your collection?
New discoveries.

10. Is there any of your collection hung in your home?
No, our pleasure is to show it to the public.

11. The Treger/Saint Silvestre Collection has been housed in Portugal at the Centro de Arte Oliva since 2014 and is open to the public – what made you choose to do this? And what kind of reaction does it get in Portugal?
We were looking for somewhere to house the collection and this was a fantastic opportunity. The Treger/Saint Silvestre collection is the only one in Southern Europe, Spain, Italy and Portugal. It has a very positive reaction from the public and, of course, a bit of a hostile reaction from other galleries and institutions.

‘Extravaganza’ currently on view in Portugal © Dinis Santos

‘Extravaganza’ currently on view in Portugal © Dinis Santos


12. You also often loan pieces from your collection out – what would be the reasons that you chose to loan the works to particular shows?
We loan out pieces because we have some very rare pieces and we are only too happy for them to be seen. It is good publicity for the collection too.

13. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
We enjoy showing our Art Brut collection even if the institutions, art critics and journalists don’t know about it and have difficulty in understanding it because the definitions of this artistic field are not satisfactory to them. On the opposite side, the reaction from the public is always very positive! Art Brut is very difficult to define.