Artsper meets the famous auctioneer Pierre Cornette de Saint Cyr

Interviews - -

The Artsper team has had the chance to meet Pierre Cornette de Saint Cyr, auctioneer and museum director. 

{Artsper} Cornette de Saint Cyr is one of the best-known contemporary art auction houses in France. How do you manage to keep up with the more and more competitive market?

As in all fields, the only way to stay competitive, it is to keep up with our time. We must always look for what’s new: new mediums (digital art, video games, street art), new artists, new sales techniques. Many houses have changed direction after the reforms of the auctioneers’ status and the opening of the French market in 2000. I think that, in order to keep a good position in an increasingly globalized and competitive market, one must be able to adapt to all circumstances.

{A} Does your house plan to start working internationally?

For the moment, we haven’t planned to open any branch abroad, but we are already selling works abroad, in Belgium for example.

{A} Do you see online auctions as competitors?

Absolutely not! I believe that actually these new online auctions websites create a kind of emulation for our profession, and open the art market to the uninitiated collector, which is always a good thing. Today, in a time of reign of the Internet, we should have seen the opening of these new platforms coming. We should see them as complementary, rather than in competition with us, because they bring a positive new dynamic.

{A} How do you see the future of contemporary art in France? How could we reposition Paris at the heart of the whole system?

I am not a defeatist when it comes to the future of France in the art market. We all know it, the golden age of Paris is long gone. I do not believe though that a place necessarily imposes its hegemony over the others. When we think of New York, London, and the Asian mega-cities, each has its special spot. We have entered an era in which the market has several poles. Paris still has some cards to play, it remains a historical showcase for the art market. However, I believe that the codes of the French market are obsolete, and that most of the players refuse to embrace modernity. By focusing more on events and by relaxing the taxation and legislation, France may manage to maintain its place on the market.

{A} What was the key artistic event in 2014?

By far, the Bill Viola retrospective at the Grand Palais.

{A} What do you think of the Artsper project?

As I already said, we must live in our time. Your platform stands proof that the market is undergoing a transformation, that the profile of the collector is changing. We must keep moving, accept change, and especially, accept that art is no longer reserved to an elite, and is getting out of its frame! All in all, Artsper is a great initiative!

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