Design & Decoration S01 ep11: Jean-Maries Rossi, Aveline Antiques, [Paris]
Interview with Jean-Maries Rossi
A good piece of art, you don't like it at the beginning. The creator is disturbing you, you don't like it. Cezane is not so pleasant than the followers because his works are a bit difficult, but he is the master. After a while when you see Cezane ,you do better than Cezane you add some red some white some yellow it is more pleasant but it is not as important.
Aveline is a firm, not an old firm but a firm which I started 45 years ago and the
firm was existing before with Mr. Aveline from 1936, 1938 and I became
associated with Mr. Aveline in 1956.
He was a traveller, he had a very good eye, I learned from him to have some
kind of glimpse, and “where immediately there is a doubt, there is no doubt".
He taught me that sentence and I think it is true.
KM: How different was it then?
They sell an auction room, where 80% were professional and 20% were
private collectors who were very, very, very sharp and then it became the two
monsters like Sotheby and Christie's, and now they own 95% of the art and
business in the world.
KM: When you buy as a dealer, are you really buying first things that please
you and then selling to a customer?
Yes, if you want something a bit, maybe from Germany, from Italy, from
France that is a bit unusual - that is what I am trying to do, of every period.
You know I am trying to find the modern styles throughout the ages. I try to
find what was modern in 1780 or in 1750.
KM: Why? Why is it so important that they are modern?
Because I very much like contemporary paintings, so it taught me what was
modern or what was a remake. You know remake or a revival or not original
for instance in 1750 I try to find neo classical, these are very rare. The neo
classical looks like an Empire piece but it has been done in 1750 - it has been
taught by the modern heart. You see the master when you see all the
A good piece of art, you don’t like it at the beginning.
KM: Really? It’s disturbing?
Yes, it is disturbing.
Because you don't like it, you like things that are chewed already.
The creator is disturbing you, you don't like it. Cezane is not so pleasant than
the followers because his works are a bit difficult, but he is the master. After a
while when you see Cezane ,you do better than Cezane you add some red
some white some yellow it is more pleasant but it is not as important.
KM: How do you feel you have changed?
No, no but I was the same at 25.
KM: But you did not have the knowledge that you have now!
No, not the knowledge, but I had the same desire of even of bad taste
sometimes. Oddly I used to say what is bad taste? It is the aristocratic desire
of being unpleasant, but it becomes something like kitch. Some kitch pieces of
art become something else and the beginning it was - ugh - like this you know.
KM: Then it had some value?
Van Gogh did not find any customers all his life because he was different.
KM: He was disturbed
With his painting, it was not dry like sick with all those colours, when it was not
dry, and it must have been very shocking.
Every dealer has customers that are in his image.
KM: So is your customer?
Sophisticated people from every country.
KM: Do they ask you for something or do they come to see what you have?
No, they come, they come, they walk and they are expecting something. So it
must not be too predictable. You can have very classical pieces, but very good
quality so that it becomes something else, or so rare. The rarity, the
providence, and the authenticity, if they are all together makes first of all the
price and the rarity so it is unpredictable.
On the 13th of December there is a sale at Sotheby's - there is a marvellous
piece, a commode from Rome, an absolutely wonderful piece. It looks like
1925 - Art Deco. This piece is amusing me more than the classical antique
dealers. But finally it is not cheap, when it is very good, very special it is very,
very, very expensive. And afterwards it is very difficult to sell because it is not
understood but I don't mind.
I am a modern art dealer who missed his way finally. You know because I was
a bit shivering. I think it was more secure to make this part of the business of
art, instead of this part.
KM: Why does art have such a big value?
I don't know, I don't know.
KM: I mean why do people pay… Is it a status thing, is it a… I mean you must
get surprised yourself…
Because people are nobody and they want to be somebody. And if you want to
be somebody you put paintings on the wall, a valuable painting. Because a
painting is more art, because you see the name and you see the price. A piece
of furniture is not the same, you don't see the price. You don't know that this
piece of furniture costs 3 million francs, but you see a Picasso and it is 45
million Dollars, 55 million.
KM: So you think it has a lot to do with status?
Status - of course, an investment - status, investment it is like a letter of
KM: So this is today's kings and queens?
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Jean-Maries Rossi, Aveline Antiques, Paris