About MLG

Our Mission

Mona Loves Gustav seeks to inspire the love of art, through curated, personalized experiences. It is a platform designed to help new art collectors discover the art that speaks to them, by facilitating an understanding of the viewer’s personality traits as they relate to visual characteristics in art works.

How do we do this? We made the ArtDNA® Quiz! Take our scientifically-developed ArtDNA® Quiz, and discover your art personality  this is the first step towards building a collection that matches your taste and your budget.

Why does Mona love Gustav?

The Mona Lisa is small; it occupies little physical space, but its impact is immeasurable — it preoccupies the thoughts of its viewers for the rest of their lives. The Kiss is surprisingly monumental, and opulent; it takes up space in demonstration of its theme, and the experience in viewing it scales with its size. Diminutive and demure, the Mona Lisa is an Introspective-Romantic work at its core; enormous and magnificent, The Kiss is a Rollicking-Romance in gold tones. The relationship between the two pieces is founded in the romantic emotions they both evoke — an otherwise introvert and an otherwise extrovert may each be deeply drawn to both pieces if both viewers are also romantic personality types. So was the case for extrovert, Rollicking Idealist Michele LaRocco and her introvert, Introspective Thinker husband, Eric Klumb. In terms of art persona, he’s Mona, she’s Gutav; the romantic sensibilities they have in common have served to optimally prime their partnership canvas in an otherwise tale of opposites-who-attracted. 

 

These paintings, separated by centuries, materials, techniques, geography, and even the social influences of their time, have an unmistakable connection in that they are each succinctly representative of every artist’s innate, unwavering need to interpret and reflect his or her observations of nature and the human condition through color, shape, line, and form. Through this expression, artists invite their viewers to question and explore nature, society and culture, and discover a sense of themselves individually by the connections they make to the work in view, to art, writ large, and ultimately to one another.

Meet Our Founder, Michele

People are often amused to find that art and I were not immediate bedfellows. My parents are forever art enthusiasts, and I was exposed to the art world at a young age, but if we meet, remind me to parley the storied family tale of seven-year-old me pitching an inconsolable fit at the MET.  Retelling that story as an adult provided me an enlightened understanding of how challenging art really is I now acknowledge that viewing and appreciating art is difficult for many. The world of art is rife with complications that can revert even the most mature of us into petulant 7 year-olds!

I’m not sure if it was my premier and uber-charismatic art history professor or the artworks themselves shown to me in that class that made me take a second look at the art world, but once I started really looking and seeing, it was impossible to turn away. It was art that brought me to London to pursue my Masters in Art Business at Sotheby’s, and it was there when I met my co-founder, Maura Pettengill and discovered our shared commitment in both promoting emerging artists and providing the public with greater access to the art world.

After a career in the arts as both a college Art History teacher and a private consultant for individual and corporate clients looking to collect, I cultivated lasting relationships with working artists and then conceived of a pedagogical business model that would serve the interests of collectors and artists alike. I developed the ArtDNA® Quiz that assesses a collector’s personality traits and then provides guidance through potentially desirable art works that characteristically compliment those traits.

In the years since that first Art History class, art has become my enduring love affair that continues to change, evolve, and surprise me. I’ve fallen in love with the Mona Lisa in Paris, The Kiss in Vienna, Language of Stone in Mumbai, and many more. And to come full circle, my husband proposed to me at the MET, surrounded by Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Franz Kline.

My art journey has been anything but predictable, yet two constants have remained: my affinity and respect for the artists who create, and the joy I feel seeing a person connect to a work of art for the first time this is love at first sight, and I’m in love with that love.

Meet Our Team

Maura Pettengill, Esq., MA

Maura Pettengill, Esq., MA

Co-Founder

Maura is an attorney with a lifelong interest in the visual arts. She practiced employment law in New York City for over 12 years before her husband’s business took their family to London, England. In London, she studied contemporary art and obtained a masters degree in Art Business from Sotheby’s Institute of Art / Manchester University where she met fellow MA student Michele LaRocco. They bonded over their shared passion for art so much so that they made it a business. Prior to joining Mona Loves Gustav as a Co-founder, Maura was a freelance contributor to The Art Newspaper, an art consultant, and a pro bono advisor to practicing artists.

Clementina Russo, PhD

Clementina Russo, PhD

Chief Science Officer

Clementina is PhD Physicist with a penchant for creative problem solving in seemingly disparate and likely unsettling, complex scenarios. She directs the research endeavors at Mona, i.e., she is tasked to translate whatever may be going on in Michele’s brain and then subsequently operationalize it. She’s been called a Starving Scientist-Artist, and she mostly agrees.

The Science

The Quiz is founded on the principles of the philosophy of art (aesthetics) combined with emerging research in cognitive psychology and neuroaesthetics. We have developed The Quiz over time with insights garnered from hundreds of participants and selected subject matter experts, and we endeavor to continue this effort with the generous, helpful input provided by You!
The Science

What's with all the kissy-kissy?

The big, fat red kiss is an evocative emblem of Pop Art, but it’s also a graphical representation of an acronym we say often and that we believe embodies everything one needs to know about art collecting: Keep It Simple, Stupid.
What's with all the kissy-kissy?

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@ monalovesgustav

Discover Yourself, Discover Art.

Crivelli was born in Venice and probably trained with Squarcione in Padua. He spent most of his life in the Marches (eastern central Italy), after periods in Venice and Zara. Crivelli was active as a painter by 1457 when he was condemned in Venice for adultery. ⠀
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Fun Fact: Crivelli used the cucumber — virtually absent from Renaissance art — as a signature motif. The apples and fly are symbols of sin and evil and are opposed to the cucumber and the goldfinch, symbols of redemption. Crivelli’s signature is on what looks like a piece of paper attached to the watered-silk cloth with wax.⠀
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#CarloCrivelli "Madonna and Child" (c. 1480)
Destiny Belgrave, a Caribbean American, explores race, spirituality, and femininity through intricate paper cuttings. She is a mixed media whirlwind, pursuing what she desires while making the work that comes to her.⠀
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#DestinyBelgrave "After the Christening" (2019)
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