Ask the Artsperts … Kristine Meek and Juliana Meek
Bill Meek, A Naples Institution
Bill Meek has been an art dealer in Naples for as long as I can remember. When I think of Naples and art, Bill Meek always comes to mind first!
How long has he been an art dealer?
November 2022 marks 50 years that our father, William “Bill” Meek has been with Harmon-Meek Gallery. Several years ago, Joseph Hirshhorn dedicated his speech for the opening of the Hirshhorn Museum with the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. to Bill Meek. On the dedication, Hirschhorn wrote “To a young man who will go far in the art world…” With a smile, Bill will often say he has gone far and has had a far impact, considering he has been in Naples for the entirety of his career.
In 1972, Bill was fresh out college and Reserve Officer Training Boot Camp, when he was hired as an assistant director under Foster Harmon of Harmon Gallery in Naples. Bill first gained interest in art as a boy when his father was an officer in the Army and stationed in France and Italy, where art has always been ubiquitous. Bill’s father retired from the Army in the 60s and settled in Naples as he had hoped when he learned of Naples during World War II training exercises here.
Bill was still a teen in the 60s and graduated from Naples High in ,68. As a student, at Florida Southern College, Bill majored in economics and minored in art. His economics professors couldn’t understand why he was bothering with art, and his art professors felt likewise about economics. However, the combination turned out perfectly for the future art dealer.
Bill purchased Harmon Gallery in 1978. In the years since, Bill has certainly gone far in the art world. He has a true and deep passion for art and the artists he represents. Some of these professional relationships have lasted decades. Artists become immortal through their work, and as such we continue forward working with the heirs of artists estates and foundations, in honoring the life work of important artists. What has set Bill apart from most art dealers is his extensive work with museums. Bill has loaned over 200 exhibitions to 94 museums in 28 states. He has arranged gifts of major collections of works to the Polk Museum of Art in Lakeland and locally in Naples with the Museum of Art (Baker Museum), von Liebig Art Center (Naples Art), and Children’s Museum of Naples.
Bill was the first art dealer awarded the New York Artists’ Equity Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Visual Arts. This is an organization started in part to help protect artists from unscrupulous dealers. Bill was honored with this recognition because he has always stood out for his integrity and passionate belief in the transcendental nature of visual arts.
Sincerely, The Artsperts
FEATUREED PHOTO: Bill Meek with Juliana Meek and Tobi Kahn at Kahn’s exhibition at the Museum of Art in DeLand. Bill Meek has arranged hundreds of museum exhibitions across the nation.
599 NINTH STREET NORTH, SUITE 309
NAPLES, FL 34102 239.261.2637
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