Home » Houston People & Places

Thornwood Gallery Brings Fine Art to River Oaks District

Looking toward the plaza from inside Thornwood Gallery’s River Oaks District location.

Its Second Location Showcases Unique Works And International Flair

By Mara Soloway

Zelma Legendre, Thornwood Gallery’s owner and founder, felt that the upscale setting of River Oaks District with its national and international clientele was the ideal spot for Thornwood Gallery to open its second gallery. And so, after much planning and effort, Thornwood Gallery opened in the District in April. Like the works of art in Thornwood’s Colquitt Gallery Row location, those in the District location are contemporary with a selection of paintings, photography and indoor and outdoor sculptures. Solo and group exhibitions will be held in the main gallery each month.

“We are honored to be a part of such a wonderful and new environment at the River Oaks District. And we’re excited that our second gallery adds a high-end element to Houston’s reputation in the national and international art scene,” Legendre said.

Because the River Oaks District is visited by European and other international travelers, the second Thornwood Gallery is the perfect spot to showcase its expanding portfolio of the international artists it represents, along with its regional and national ones, giving art lovers and collectors the unique opportunity to view the what is trending in the art scene worldwide.

Legrendre knew she needed the right kind of person to be the gallery’s director. “I’ve known and trusted Sabine Stromeyer for over 16 years and knew that she would be perfect for the position. She has a great knowledge of art and of the European art scene, and she is a dear friend. How could she resist the idea when I told her about the new gallery and showed her the gallery space? ” Legendre said.

Stromeyer is a contemporary abstract artist and jewelry maker whose work has been shown at Thornwood Gallery on Colquitt since 2000. Adding to her artistic talents are Stromeyer’s marketing background and her German origins. After fleeing East Germany in 1989, she settled in Cologne before moving to Houston in 1999. Stromeyer’s artwork has been exhibited in art galleries and can also be seen in many private collections in Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy and the United States.

Stromeyer’s sense of design shows in the modern, sleek interior design elements she chose once Legendre found the gallery space. The walls and the contemporary furniture are white so the art can stand out. “We didn’t want the focus to be on the furnishings – the focus is the artists we represent. So we created a neutral breathing space to benefit viewing the art,” Stromeyer said.

The size of Thornwood’s District gallery – 3,5oo square feet with a private viewing room – also gives each artwork room to stand on its own, allowing viewers to make a connection with it. “To see the art’s full potential, you really have see it from a distance. If you are too close, you might not be able to see the full depth of what the artist wants to convey,” Stromeyer said.

Because of her tenure with Thornwood, Stromeyer has a say in which artists’ works are shown in the River Oaks District location. Some of the works currently being shown are by James C. Leonard, Aaron Reichert, Maria Torroba, Gregory Johnson and Manuel Higueras.

Many of the gallery’s potential clients live in contemporary homes, and the way the pieces look in the gallery gives them an idea of how it would look in their personal space. Some of the larger pieces, such as those by Leonard and Reichert, need breathing room on wall space that is large enough. So that the potential clients can feel certain about a purchase, Thornwood Gallery offers artwork on a two-day approval for people to see how a piece looks in their living space. It also offers free consultation, free installation and free delivery services. “We are always working together with our clients so they are happy and really enjoy living with the piece they chose,” Stromeyer said.

Stromeyer stresses the connections that can be made with contemporary and abstract art.

“The nice thing about abstract work is that you can find your very own connection to it based on your own experiences, and when you do, it is the greatest thing you can achieve for your personal world,” she said. “I really appreciate when people take a moment to enjoy that and connect with art. It is something very special and important, especially in a very busy world.”

The urban mixed-use feel of River Oaks District is visible through the large glass walls of Thornwood Gallery, with views of people strolling in groups or by themselves or enjoying a glass of wine on the plaza. As they stop in to view the artwork, Stromeyer is pleased to see people of all ages being exposed to art.

“For us it feels we are really part of the neighborhood. The response and the welcome is great. It’s nice to be part of the River Oaks District,” Stromeyer said. “Thornwood Gallery in the River Oaks District is a nice meditative space to look at the works of art ­– it’s a beautiful new space to connect with art.”

Thornwood Gallery’s original location is on Colquitt’s Gallery Row in Houston’s Upper Kirby District. The new River Oaks District location is at 4444 Westheimer Road, Suite F105, across from Dior and Hermès. For more information about the two locations and the artists that are represented, visit thornwoodgallery.com.


Thornwood Gallery’s River Oaks District location is 4444 Westheimer, Suite F105, across from Dior and Hermès. Photo – Jason Ledford)

Sabine Stromeyer is director of Thornwood Gallery’s River Oaks District location. Her artwork and jewelry – a sample of which she is wearing – have been featured at the Gallery’s Colquitt’s Gallery Row location since 2000. (Photo – Mara Soloway)

Thornwood Gallery’s River Oaks District location offers a contemplative space to look at art. (Photo – Jason Ledford)

Comments are closed.