May 27, 2022

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Art: gallery owner Emmanuel Perrotin extends his empire to Paris



He never stops expanding his empire. Emmanuel Perrotin, the one that “The ArtReview Power 100” ranked 3e The most influential gallery owner in the world, behind the famous American Larry Gagosian and the German David Zwirner, has chosen, despite the current context, to open at the beginning of 2021 a 380 square meter mansion on avenue Matignon… This is his fifth Parisian site, which is added to the branches of New York (an entire building), Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul, Tokyo.

The premises on Avenue Matignon are located near Christie’s, Sotheby’s, Artcurial and Piasa. This is good because this new exceptional space on 5 floors is dedicated to the secondary market, that is to say to the purchase and resale of contemporary and modern art. It will therefore compete with the private sales of these large houses. A new bowstring from this star gallery owner of contemporary art to famous artists (JR, Maurizio Cattelan, Murakami, Soulages …), who is joining forces in this project with two young specialist dealers, Tom-David Bastok and Dylan Lessel.

Three partners

“Used to collaborating, especially around the succession of painter Georges Mathieu, we had the opportunity to invest in this unique, very rare place. We could as well entrust the facade to an artist such as JR, such as fitting out certain floors for exhibitions and reserving others for presentations of works in all discretion ”, explains Emmanuel Perrotin.

His associates started their careers in 2010: Tom-David Bastok by launching the first condominium art buying platform, Dylan Lessel working for the gallery Kamel Mennour and by developing private collections. “We will be able to rely on Perrotin galleries around the world, to provide global service to customers”, explains the duo, used to unearthing works that are rarely seen on the market, to verify their authenticity and to guarantee their provenance.

Emmanuel Perrotin, who, with the tandem, has signed his lease during the first confinement – which made it possible to include a Covid clause on rents – did not want to take a wait-and-see approach. “With each crisis, I took risks, tried to come out stronger. And Paris is once again becoming a stronghold of art, with the installation of galleries such as Levy Gorvy, David Zwirner, Pace… ”, he assures.

Beneficiary year

For the fifty talents of his team, it will be an additional opportunity to participate in the unexpected projects of the troublemaker gallery owner, who celebrated his 30 years of profession in 2020. Thus, when the FIAC was canceled in October, Emmanuel Perrotin organized with the Grand Palais “Wanted! », A treasure hunt with 20 works by 20 artists from the gallery to be won. After the first confinement, he opened his space in the Marais to 26 Parisian colleagues for several weeks, in a spirit of solidarity.

With his innate sense of marketing and brilliance (he was the one who hit the headlines at Art Basel Miami in 2019 with Maurizio Cattelan’s banana taped to the wall and sold for 120,000 euros), he achieved a better year 2020 than expected, with more than 2,000 works sold and very low costs in the absence of fairs – hence a profit balance. “Our turnover will only drop by 20 to 25% compared to last year, thanks to our advance in digitalization – with our virtual rooms, our activism on Instagram, our tailor-made software to meet the expectations of our customers – and our presence in four Asian countries which have managed the pandemic well. In Paris too, we did well, better than in New York ”, he confides.

This art businessman, who employs 145 people, however refuses to reveal its turnover. Latest known figure: 34.5 million in 2018 for the Hexagon alone. But when we are present in six countries via different companies, we can also arbitrate between the possible places of invoicing …