Mano en Mano

As artists, Ray Leier and Jan Peters didn’t work in wood, but they became advocates and experts in the medium as the owners of del Mano Gallery in Los Angeles.

In Los Angeles, as the expression goes, it’s not about who you are, but who you know. But being who they are has earned Ray Leier and Jan Peters, co-owners of L.A.-area del Mano Gallery for more than 30 years, an unparalleled place in the art scene. Yet they don’t overlook who they know, either. Because at del Mano, it’s always been about relationships.

“Our ties to our artists are very strong,” Peters says, “because we were artists originally. So, we’ve all grown up together. We’ve also got collectors who support us and our artists. And we’re now developing relationships with museums and curators.”

Today, del Mano is well-known throughout the world for its representation of wood sculpture. But despite their high profile, Leier and Peters are down to earth. Whimsical teapots line windows of their light-filled, low-key space. With an unassuming, casual elegance, cases of distinctive jewelry are a magnet for the friendly mix of visitors, as are colorful gift items tucked away in the back of the shop. All of this makes the gallery’s exhibits of museum-quality works in wood and fiber even more attractive and accessible.

For more of this article, pick up a copy of the Spring 2007 Niche Magazine.

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