For 20 years, Brenda Klippel-Stores has shared her passion for art by guiding others on the path to art collection

Noushin Nourizadeh
Noushin Nourizadeh

Brenda Klippel-Stores spends her work days surrounded by impressive artworks, and she loves it.

When she and her husband moved to San Diego in 2010 from her native Los Angeles, Brenda thought they’d stay only a year—two at the most—thinking they’d miss LA. Eight years later, the Director of Martin Lawrence Galleries in La Jolla unabashedly proclaims her love for her adopted home, citing, among other features, “the vibrant cosmopolitan lifestyle, minus the traffic and crowding of LA.”

“I grew up in Hollywood,” Brenda notes. “I studied both film and fund development in college, and I became immersed in the downtown LA arts scene when I started working for a Warhol-esque artist while in college. This led me to become fascinated with the art of Andy Warhol and Keith Haring, and eventually I followed my passion and became an Andy Warhol specialist.”

Her interest in both Warhol and Haring was abetted by tangential experiences that piqued her curiosity and appreciation of their art. “Years ago in LA, my neighbor was an ex-wife of Joe Dallesandro, the actor who, at one time, starred in many of Andy Warhol’s films and was an integral member of his Factory crowd. From my neighbor’s stories, I felt like I had a glimpse “behind the curtain” of the Warhol scene. And then, I was fortunate to actually meet Keith Haring at a gallery opening. At the time, I worked for Future Perfect Publishing, which printed Haring’s Andy Mouse series, in which he depicted Andy Warhol as Mickey Mouse. It all fit together.”

Klippel-Stores began working for Martin Lawrence Galleries (MLG) in 1998 and became the Top Consultant at their flagship Rodeo Drive location, where she stayed until 2004. MLG, which specialize in original paintings, sculptures and limited edition graphics by some of the world’s most well-known artists, is found in nine locations from Maui to SoHo and San Francisco to New Orleans.

Between 2004 and 2007, Brenda worked independently as a buyer and seller of Andy Warhol art and collaborated with actor/comic Cheech Marin, promoting the Chicano Art Collection, which was later shown at the prestigious Los Angeles County Museum of Art. In 2007, she returned to MLG and was promoted to Gallery Director in Los Angeles, and then, three years later, in La Jolla.

As Director, Klippel-Stores not only oversees the gallery’s day-to-day business, but curates the art displayed in the gallery according to the interests and demographics of the area. “At our gallery in La Jolla, we have a large international collector base, and that makes it somewhat different from the galleries in the LA area,” she explains. “La Jolla attracts visitors from all over the world, and because our collection is so extensive, with artworks priced from $500 to well over $1,000,000”—she says as she points to an original Renoir painting—“we work with every level of collector. We have the expertise to guide them in their acquisitions, whether they are beginners who wander in and are drawn to a particular piece without knowing much about it, or whether they are long-time collectors of a specific artist or genre.”

For 20 years, Brenda Klippel-Stores has been fortunate to be able to meld her work with the interests she is passionate about. And that itself is an art.