Four Seasons Maui Plunks $50 Million on Renovation, Brings In Top Hawaii Art

A Conversation With The Brains Behind Hawaii's Newest Contemporary Collection

The last week in January, a handful of savvy journalists (ahem) were invited to the Four Seasons Maui at Wailea to spend two days walking through their brand new, 70-plus piece art collection displayed throughout the hotel's public areas. What most of us expected was a tour of the hotel's recent $50 million renovation and few monster paintings; what we got was an in depth look at 50 of Hawaii's most talented artists, and the movement that has been gathering steam for more than a decade -- and now seems to be in full swing.

And as the saying goes, behind every movement is a good woman. In Maui's case it's Julie Cline.

Cline, who was raised on Oahu among some of Waikiki's most legendary watermen, has her own Santa Barbara-based company that focuses on acquisitions, advising and sales in the luxurious world of fine art. In short, it's her job to sift through hundreds of emails a day from over 3,000 galleries and museums with one goal. To connect the world's top artists with the collectors and curators who have an interest in showing them.

For this exhibit at the Four Seasons Maui, Cline returned home for the duration of the two-year effort, and was completely enamored at what she found in her home state. Read on to hear about the creative movement underway island-wide, working with a world-class hotel company and being raised by an Olympic swimmer and his Waikiki Beach Boy buddies. Enjoy.

B on Hawaii: I really wanted to get this question out first, as I know it's an emotional issue for you that culminated in a wonderful break-through. How was it returning to your home state to do the work that's had you circling the globe for the last few decades"

Julie Cline of Julie Cline Fine Art Services: I went through a whole catharsis during the conceptualization and execution of this collection. Hawaii is my only home -- but as a "ha'ole" -- I can never identify with the land. It's hard. It's very emotionally taxing for me. To call some place home, yet to have others question what that definition of "from the aina" is, it isn't easy. This project changed all that. It really connected me to Hawaii in a way I hadn't felt I achieved before.

B on Hawaii: Wonderful. Tell the readers: How did you get where you are today? One of the world's leading art consultants.

Julie Cline: I have a good eye for what's in store for the future...for what's profound and lasting.

B on Hawaii: So what's profound about Hawaii's art scene at the moment? Why this collection, these arts? Why now?

Julie Cline: Great question. The current Hawaii art scene reminds me a bit of the expressionism that came out of New York a few decades back. That movement was drawing a lot from Cezanne and Monet -- but giving their own interpretation of the world. It's very similar to what the artists of Hawaii are doing today. Drawing on the past to explore what's happening now.

B on Hawaii: What is your message through this collection at the Four Seasons Maui? Is there one?

Julie Cline: There's always a message, yet it is usually one that can be interpreted in a few different ways. I think here at the Four Seasons Maui you have the world's most jet set coming in. They get it. They know the pulse of what's happening in the hippest and most cultured pockets around the world. They won't scoff at this program. They'll get to know it and feel it. It's far from pineapples and hula girls. It's abstracted and ground breaking. People should pay attention to this collection.

B on Hawaii: Hawaii is generally a place of serenity and seclusion -- perhaps it's in our nature being so far from any other land mass. What does this collection do for the artists, who are thousands of miles from any other scenes or movements?

Julie Cline: The artwork itself really shows how interconnected this community is. All these influences coming together is Hawaii. All these artists are now connected through their works here [at the Four Seasons Maui]. They have an open line of communication, through their pieces.

B on Hawaii: What do you feel to be your contribution to the art world, whether it's completing the collection at the Montage in Beverly Hills, Azura luxury condos in Marina Del Rey, or the Four Seasons Maui?

Julie Cline: My contribution to this collection is found in the selection of varying medium. The wide array -- from realism to abstract -- speaks volumes to the variety of artists now found in Hawaii. In other locales, I have to take in to account the people who will be passing the art as much as the space it is showing in. Each project is really its own baby; where I come in is nurturing all the various aspects of what goes in to the collection.

B on Hawaii: Share with readers who you think is one of the most important artists of the 20th century?

Julie Cline: Dennis Hopper, a friend of mine, might be the most significant photographer of the 20th century. He has literally captured the social revolution in California and other locales on film. He's amazing.

B on Hawaii: You are a Punahou grad, no?

Julie Cline: I am. My parents moved my sister and I here in 1959. My father, Tom Haynie, is a Gold Medal-awarded Olympic swimmer. He taught at Punahou for 30 years. He was also responsible for brining surf legends like Peter Cole and Fred Van Dyke to Hawaii. They were my uncles. Peter was my math teacher. They are all now legendary watermen.

B on Hawaii: What other projects have you worked on in Hawaii?

Julie Cline: I did the Four Seasons Hualalai for Michael Dell's MSD Capital a few years back. While it was a smaller scale project than this, they were very happy with it. I recently completed the Kukio Golf Clubhouse on Hawai'i Island.

B on Hawaii: So much of what art's about is change, or the marking of a time that was significant to an artist. What's significant or unchanged about Hawaii to you"

Julie Cline: The first thing I generally do when I get home to Oahu is check in to one of the hotels near Diamond Head. I then put on some sneakers and jog around Kapiolani Park. That place hasn't changed since I was young -- and hopefully it never will. You can walk around the park -- and the crater -- and although the colors, smells, and people in the area might vary, the scene is the same. It's wonderful.

"The wide array -- from realism to abstract -- speaks volumes to the variety of artists now found in Hawaii." –Cline