In 1998, Melissa Grobmyer founded MKG Art Management and grew the business with the core values of transparency, integrity and expertise. Joined in 2000 by the extraordinary philanthropist and art collector Cecily Horton (now retired), MKG has developed into a partnership of like-minded arts professionals, establishing a loyal clientele who rely on our unparalleled advice and project management acumen. We are set apart by our structure as a fee-for-service firm, which enables us to embrace each client’s unique goals and operate with complete transparency in an opaque marketplace. Our financial interests are fully aligned with those of our clients, and our clients have comfort in knowing that we work as their agent and for their benefit in the art marketplace.
Our expertise starts with education, and our partners and associates possess advanced degrees in art history and arts administration, bringing an academic perspective to the process of building art collections. Before joining MKG Art Management, our associates have acquired varied experiences in the art world: in academia, museums, non-profit organizations, galleries, auction houses, and other consulting companies. We offer clients an incomparable level of service and expertise. MKG is the only firm in Houston that is a member of the Association of Professional Art Advisors (APAA), an international standard setting organization for art advisors.
MKG’s depth of talent enables us 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 and the Appraisers Association of America on staff.
Meet Our Team
“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. In 1998, Melissa founded MKG Art Management, the only art advisory and appraisal firm in Houston at that time. Over her career, Melissa has curated 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.
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, Melissa continues to formulate and conduct art history lectures on Christian art and iconography for the Teaching Center at the Church of Saint John the Divine, some of which are available via podcast at www.SJD.org. Melissa serves on the Modern and Contemporary Acquisitions 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, as well as the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. She presently serves on the Vestry of St. John the Divine, she is a member of ArtTable, and the International Association of Professional Art Advisors. Melissa is an approved educator for the ASID, IIDA and AIA.
“Having worked closely with Melissa and MKG’s staff…I can attest to Melissa’s sensitive and discriminating eye and her expertise in and knowledge of contemporary art in Texas and abroad, in addition to MKG’s high degree of professionalism in the full range of consulting services they provided to our project.” – Dawn Cain, Ph D., Curator Corporate Art Collection, Bank of Montreal Financial Group
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 served as the President and is currently the Chair 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.
“MKG partner Janet Hobby led her team to generate exceptionally creative ideas for us. MKG followed up these ideas with extraordinary communication, logistic oversight, and execution.” – Cassie King, Director of Design and Innovation, Trademark Properties
Tabitha Caldwell 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.
“…MKG’s Director of Appraisals, Tabitha Doby, and her team have efficiently valued over 250 works from our collection, both for donation and insurance purposes. . . . MKG continually provides their assistance in a timely and efficient manner, including time sensitive donation appraisals for IRS purposes. MKG enjoys an excellent rapport with our curatorial staff as well as with the major museums and galleries which we support.” – Michael Klein, Private Collector
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. Born in Cambridge, England, Liana grew up across the Midwest and East Coast of the United States. 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 started her professional arts career in New York, having held positions at prominent contemporary art galleries such as Paul Kasmin Gallery and Barbara Galdstone Gallery. While there, she worked extensively in collection management, coordinating logistics and installations for high-value artwork, liaising with artists and clients, as well as managing inventories for blue chip artists such as Frank Stella. After focusing on 17th and 18th century art during her graduate studies at The Courtauld Institute of Art, Liana returned to the contemporary art market by joining White Cube in London. She oversaw all gallery inventory, managing the consolidation of thousands of artworks for relocation to the new Bermondsey gallery. Her collection management role also consisted of registration duties, correspondence and updates with the sales team and artist liaisons, overseeing artist returns and warehouse levels, and initiating upgrades to the internal database system.
Prior to joining MKG Art Management, Liana was head of the consignment department and fine art specialist for an auction house in Houston. She brings this broad career experience in the management and valuation of art to the firm. As a Senior Associate, Liana manages projects for both corporate and private clients. This includes advising on acquisitions, performing market research, sustaining relationships with top galleries, negotiating pricing on our clients’ behalf, overseeing project logistics, and performing ongoing collection management and oversight.
Liana is also a member of the International Society of Appraisers.
“We had some very challenging areas in our new building that MKG took head-on with such a precise organizational skill…they are dependable and true to schedule which was imperative in our project. Their expertise was truly valued during each stage of the process.” – Rose Gallardo, Manager of Facilities and Administrative Services, NRG Energy/Reliant Energy
Josephine Hill, M.A.
Josephine Hill comes to MKG with strong art collection management and event planning skills. Born and reared in San Antonio, TX, Josephine earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History from Rhodes College in Memphis, TN and her Master of Arts Degree in Art Business from Sotheby’s Institute of Art in New York. She also completed her Certificate of Appraisal Studies at NYU School of Professional Studies and her Certificate of Interior Design from New York School of Interior Design.
During her time in New York, Josephine worked in several positions at Livet Reichard Company, an event planning and arts management company for non-profits and benefit auctions. Her duties included auction production through cataloguing and creating visual materials, including installation, preparation and shipping of art for silent, live and Paddle8 auctions. She produced benefit auctions for The National Academy, Brooklyn Academy of Music, BOMB Magazine, and the International Print Center of New York. In addition, she researched target honorees, liaised with artists, galleries and collectors, and worked with committees to increase fundraising potential. Josephine also coordinated mailing and solicitation campaigns, event staffing, and project archives.
Before joining MKG, Josephine managed several private collections of fine and decorative arts in Houston. She analyzed records and catalogued art to create master digital inventories of collections over multiple properties. She maintained the currency of these inventories with market research, as well as coordinated museum loans including shipping, framing and installation.
Josephine is also an Associate Member of the Appraisers Association of America.
“Melissa Grobmyer and her colleagues at MKG Art Management have been of enormous help…they have been understanding of our desire to meet budget constraints while enhancing our environment with high quality work.” – Gilbert R. Whitaker, Jr. Dean Emeritus, Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management, Rice University