A very special pop-up shop at the Academy Mansion in the Upper East Side of New York.
The characters that I interview are Marie-Amélie Carlier, who is the owner of the Galerie Brimo de Laroussilhe, and the other person is Alessandra Di Castro, and the other two are Nicolas and Alexis Kugel of Galerie J. Kugel.
How did you decide to join forces and do an exhibition together in New York?
Nicolas & Alexis Kugel answer first: “Alessandra, Marie-Amélie and ourselves wanted to do an event in New York, and after discussing it we looked for a place, and we found this wonderful mansion, the Academy Mansion at 2 East 63rd Street, and we did it.”
How do you all share this exhibition?
Nicolas & Alexis: “We came with no specific plan, and the objects found themselves their natural place, and mix with one another in a quite modern aesthetic display.”
What are you showing?
Marie-Amélie Carlier: “We show pieces from the Roman times and the Neoclassical period. Myself, I show mostly Mediaeval and Renaissance pieces like sculptures from the 12th Century to Italian 15th Century works of art and sculptures.”
Alessandra Di Castro: “I present works of art like mosaics and coloured marbles, going from the 18th Century on the Grand Tour, and a Renaissance bust of a Roman emperor. I also show a beautiful painting, a Cleopatra painted by Leonardo da Pistoia.”
Nicolas & Alexis: “We present a variety of objects and sculptures. Furniture from the 16th to the 18th Century including large sculptures, small gold boxes, a pair of Boucher paintings, classical French 18th Century furniture.”
Why the choice of New York?
Marie-Amélie: “Because there are some terrific collectors and museums, and we want to defend our profession, and New York was a very important place for art dealers in the 20th Century. I think of Duveen and Brummer, and we want to remind American collectors that we can play an important role, the role of providers of great masterpieces.”
Are Old Masters and antique furniture coming back to peoples’ tastes and desires?
Nicolas & Alexis: “It is the right time and place to make that comeback. There is a great interest from new young collectors that like to combine contemporary and antiques. There are no borders, and what is important is that the quality has to be outstanding.”
Why did two French dealers and a Roman dealer come together to New York?
Alessandra: “Ours is essentially a story of friendship, but also we share many passions in common and the same idea about the way to do our job. We share the feeling of where the market is going, and the ambition to anticipate it.”
Is it going to be a one shot, or do you plan to establish yourselves in New York?
Nicolas & Alexis: “It is one shot, the effort we put on the gathering cannot be duplicated. We don’t want to settle permanently in New York, but we want to make new contacts with old friends and also with new people.”
Do you expect to sell everything you have on show?
Marie-Amélie: “We have more or less three hundred objects on show, and we don’t want to sell them all as they are so difficult to find. Nevertheless, obviously we hope to sell some and share our passion with our visitors.”
Is this New York experience very different from TEFAF in Maastricht, where you go separately and have had your own stands for many years?
Alessandra: “Very different, because it is one thing to display your own art on a stand, it is another thing to juxtapose important works of art in a new and never seen before joint display.”
How do you find sharing?
Nicolas & Alexis: “It is extraordinarily interesting and enlightening to see our pieces with different views of each partner, and we discovered them with different angles.”
Are these objects very expensive?
Alessandra: “What we have tried to do is to show, each of us, only pieces that only come from royal and aristocratic provenance. Therefore their priceless quality will prevail their financial investment. For instance, we have a Botticelli that is a masterpiece, that has passed the selection of time and some of the contemporary production will pass and some will not. Therefore there is less risk taking in collecting timeless quality.”
Providing that the attribution is correct?
Nicolas & Alexis: “Absolutely. Each of our pieces has been shown to the most important art historian of the subject, and we provide guarantees, and our reputation, on the attribution of each work we sell. This is the very important role of the antique dealers.”
Who are your clients?
Marie-Amélie: “Many museums for my part, and of course private collectors from very different generations, backgrounds and countries.”
Where do you buy?
Nicolas & Alexis, Alessandra: “Mostly privately, because we are a family business. And also we sometimes make discoveries, and sometimes we buy in public auctions.”
How is to be in New York?
“It is fantastic, because there is a tremendous curiosity for art, and we are very grateful to be here. We must say that we have a very positive response, and this is really great.”
12th October, 2015
Brimo de Laroussilhe
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