MKG Art Management’s consultants have earned advanced degrees in art history and arts administration and bring an academic perspective into the process of building art collections. Before joining MKG Art Management, our consultants have acquired varied experiences in the art world: in academia, museums, non-profit organizations, galleries, auction houses, and other consulting companies. MKG Art Management has the largest art advisory staff in the city of Houston.
MKG’s depth of talent makes MKG Art Management well suited to handle the largest and most complex projects. In addition, MKG Art Management is uniquely equipped to provide clients with certified fine art appraisals with members of the International Society of Appraisers on staff.
“MKG Art Management has handled each project with the utmost attention, skill and professionalism.” – M.D. Trice, Vice President, Global Sales, Schlumberger
Melissa Kepke Grobmyer, M.A.
Founding Partner, President
Born and reared in Houston, MELISSA KEPKE GROBMYER graduated from St. John’s School in 1986, and earned her Bachelor of Arts and her Master of Arts degrees at the University of Texas at Austin, where she graduated with high honors. Before becoming an art advisor, Melissa worked with 9th through 18th century Decorative art at Sotheby’s in New York. Later she worked with contemporary art at Robert Miller Gallery and 19th century American art at Richard York Gallery, both in New York. While still in her twenties, Mrs. Grobmyer edited a major publication from Abrams entitled American Images: The SBC Collection of Twentieth-Century American Art, published in 1996.
Nineteen years ago, Melissa founded MKG Art Management, the only art advisory and appraisal firm in Houston at that time. With a staff of six, MKG manages over 250 million dollars worth of art assets for corporate and private clients.
Melissa has assembled collections for Fortune 100 companies as well as for private collectors. These collections focus on various topics in American and European art, spanning the 19th through 21st centuries, and include painting, photography, sculpture and new media. She has also researched, assembled and administrated collections of Texas Regionalism, American Modernism, Abstract Expressionism, and 19th century Realism, Impressionism, and Beaux Arts painting.
Along with ongoing art acquisitions and management work, recent projects have included curating “Luxuriant Refuse” for The Pearl Fincher Museum of Art in 2012, which focused on art and consumerism. Attendance records for the exhibition were the highest in the museum’s history.
Throughout her career, Melissa has focused on education, and has taught classes on various aspects of the history of art and architecture, most notably on Gulf Coast vernacular architecture for the Rice University School of Continuing Studies. Most recently, the Church of St. John the Divine invited Mrs. Grobmyer to formulate and conduct multiple art history lectures on Christian art and iconography, some of which are available via podcast at www.SJD.org.
Melissa is a trustee of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, and she serves on the Modern and Contemporary Acquisitions subcommittee and the Antiquities subcommittee of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. She is a past board member of Lawndale Art Center, which is dedicated to exhibiting work by emerging artists in Texas. She is a member of ArtTable, and the International Association of Professional Art Advisors. Mrs. Grobmyer is an approved educator for the ASID, IIDA and AIA.
Cecily Horton, M.A., M. Phil
Cecily Earhart Horton joined MKG Art Management in 1999, bringing an expertise in both fine and decorative arts. Trained initially at the Inchbold School of Design in London, England, Ms. Horton received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History from Wellesley College and her Master of Arts degree and Master of Philosophy degree in the History of Art from Yale University. Ms. Horton directed sales of contemporary art at Hiram Butler Gallery and, later, prints and drawings at Moody Gallery, both of Houston. Ms. Horton is a trustee of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston where she chairs the decorative arts subcommittee and serves on the collections committee. Other current board commitments include Artadia and the Blaffer Museum at the University of Houston. Ms. Horton is the past president and trustee emerita of Lawndale Art Center in Houston.
Janet McDonald Hobby received her Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Texas at Austin, with a minor in Art History. Her early career was spent at a regional investment banking firm, Rauscher Pierce Refsnes. In 1999, she and a business partner created the streaming video fashion website, Virtual Runway, featured in Women’s Wear Daily and Harpers Bazaar. Virtual Runway was ultimately sold to Los Angeles-based Real TV in 2003.
Before joining MKG in 2008, Ms. Hobby chaired the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts’ Visual Art Committee. Under her leadership the committee commissioned two significant public artworks – Wall Drawing, by Sol LeWitt, and In Minds, a cast bronze sculpture, by Tony Cragg. Shortly thereafter, Mrs. Hobby consulted with a private equity firm in commissioning a large scale, public water sculpture by Jene Highstein to anchor the development of a 17- acre urban mixed-use campus.
At MKG, Ms. Hobby is engaged in public, private, and corporate art advising, focusing on contemporary art and artists, as well as public art conceptualization and installation.
Ms. Hobby is currently the President of the Board of Trustees at the Menil Collection. She also serves as a trustee of the Foundation for Art & Preservation in Embassies (FAPE), the Gulf Coast Literary and Fine Arts Journal, and the Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau. Ms. Hobby is the former Vice-chair of the Board of Trustees at St. John’s School. She has served as a board committee member at The Museum of Fine Arts’ Glassell School and is active with the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston.
Tabitha Doby, M.F.A., I.S.A.
Partner, Director of Appraisals
Tabitha Caldwell Doby received her Masters of Fine Arts Degree in Museum Studies/Museum Exhibition Planning and Design from the Philadelphia College of Art and Design at The University of the Arts. Before joining MKG in 2004, Mrs. Doby worked with such venues as the Library of Congress, The Barnes Foundation of Merrion, Pennsylvania, The Philadelphia Arts Alliance, and The Academy of Natural Sciences. Her experience includes conceptualization, research, organization, design, and production of exhibits and educational presentations, utilizing a variety of techniques and media.
After joining MKG, Mrs. Doby obtained her appraisers accreditation through the International Society of Appraisers (ISA) and the University of Maryland. Mrs. Doby possesses extensive knowledge and experience in the fine art market and has completed formal education in appraisal theory, principles of valuation, procedures, ethics and law. Continuing education in appraisal practice and report writing, as well as ongoing peer review of reports and practices, helps assure that MKG Art Management maintains the highest standards of professionalism and confidentiality.
In addition to major private collections consisting of works of art from 14th century to Modern/Contemporary works, Mrs. Doby has managed and completed large scale appraisal projects for National Oilwell Varco, Spark Energy, Torch Energy Advisors, the Holocaust Museum Houston, and The University of Texas System in Austin. She is currently managing ongoing appraisal projects for many private art collections in Houston, Austin, Santa Fe, Los Angeles and New York City. Mrs. Doby is also a member of ArTTable.
Liana Schwaitzberg, M.A., I.S.A.
Liana Dora Schwaitzberg comes to MKG Art Management with extensive experience in appraising and valuation services, collection management, logistics and market research within the fine art world. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History from The George Washington University, a Master of Arts Degree in Visual Arts Administration from New York University and a Master of Arts degree in History of Art from The Courtauld Institute of Art in London, UK.
Liana has broad experience in the management and valuation of art, most recently as the head of the consignment department at an auction house in Houston. Previously, she has held positions at prominent contemporary galleries such as Paul Kasmin Gallery and Barbara Gladstone Gallery in New York, and White Cube in London. Liana is a member of the International Society of Appraisers.
Barbara Blades-Lines, I.S.A.
For over 25 years, Barbara has been involved in appraising Colonial to Contemporary silver, furniture, ceramics, maps, and paintings as well as promoting emerging artists, public art and art education.
A native Houstonian, Barbara graduated from the University of Texas and completed postgraduate studies with Christie’s Education in London. Pursing a career as an independent appraiser, Barbara founded Blades Appraisal Services, in 1994 in Houston, Texas. After moving to Bermuda in 1996, she continued her practice there until 2012, when she joined MKG Art Management as an associate appraiser.
Barbara has appraised collections for the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art, Marriott Bermuda, the Bank of Butterfield, and she has worked closely with the Bermuda National Gallery’s collections of furniture, European paintings, and the Bacardi Biennial.
Barbara served a board member for the Bermuda National Gallery, chaired the acquisitions committee, and later was part of the strategic team and board member for the Kaleidoscope Art Foundation. She has also served as an Antique Road Show appraiser for the St. Georges Foundation. At MKG Barbara focuses on the appraisal of pre-20th century fine art and furniture.
Josephine Hill, M.A.
Josephine Hill comes to MKG with strong collection management and event planning skills. Prior to MKG, she has gained varied art experience from managing private collections, including cataloguing, research, and condition reporting for fine and decorative arts. She has also held positions at Livet Richard Company in New York, an events planning and arts management company for non-profits and benefit auctions, as well as interning at other art advisory firms.
Josephine received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History from Rhodes College and a Master of Arts Degree in Art Business from Sotheby’s Institute of Art in New York. Josephine has also completed her Certificate of Appraisal Studies from NYU School of Professional Studies and a Certificate of Interior Design from New York School of Interior Design.