Design & Decoration S01 ep16: Didier Aaron, Dider Antiques, [Paris]
Interview with Didier Aaron
What you must do if you buy art - the only important thing - you must buy what you like. People visit the gallery here, in one minute; I know whether they have a good eye or they are nothing. Everybody thinks they see but sometimes they see nothing - that they will never accept
KM: Tell me what is a young fella like you doing in a job like this?
My father was a banker but my mother was an antique importer of Chinese art
and on my mother's side they were all artists - painters, dressmakers, antique
dealers. My mother used to receive every Wednesday. She had a salon and
she received Jean Michel Franc, J.J. Amile, George Gefrou all the big
decorators of the 1950s and the 1940s.
The difference between a creative artist and a dealer is not very, very great.
No, some dealers are artists, some other dealers are only businessmen - they
do better than the artists.
In the beginning I was with Demachi. He was my partner for decoration and his
designer working with him was Jacques Grange and I said to Demachi -
Jacques Grange should be a partner like you and me and Demachi said yes,
but he could not support it so he left. We are still very good friends and
Jacques has been working with us for 30 years. He is 53 and he began when
he was 23.
KM: How did you know he had the eye of a decorator?
The moment he began with us I recognised that he was very talented - but he
is difficult to work with!
The French furniture of the 18th century is for social, political and economical
reasons the best proof of the genius of France in the 19th century. Most of the
people who had talent made furniture. For example a man like Jacob, who
used to do chairs mainly - there were 400 workers in his factory. They used to
furnish all the palaces of Europe.
I bought four years ago, a set of seats made by Jacob that I sold to Karl
Lagerfeld and was sold again by Karl Lagerfeld in these days but I never saw
that before and I never saw that again. The design of these seats is so
fantastic that when I saw it for the first time I thought they were fake!
If you find it, the French writer named Octave Mirbeaux - I love personally
Rafaelle. And he said in his book that Rafaelle is no good at all - I said it is too
bad and there was an exhibition of Rafaelle two years ago in a museum in
Paris. I went to see the exhibition and I think that Mirbeaux was right and I was
A man who would paint…
KM: Yes, like Renoir
…like Renoir is thought to be an idiot now.
KM: He is thought to be an idiot?
Yes because Renoir, Renoir or Sezane were very important in their time
because they were at a kind of place of the road when that was needed.
The only pleasure in that business is to buy.
And sometimes to find a good character to whom you can teach. He can be
rich but he also can be not very rich. You have sometimes very, very rich
people who do not understand anything. They are genius about business but
they do not understand painting. And sometimes you have people who are not
very rich. We have a client now and he is making a collection of 17th century
French painting but I receive him so happily because we spend hours
Some people have good eyes, and other people have not and some people of
the museum who have a great culture, they see nothing - it is very funny.
People visit the gallery here, after one minute I know whether they have a
good eye or they have nothing.
I like to sell good pieces to good people. I think people who only want to invest
are not good collectors. They should love what they buy. For example one of
the biggest collectors of the world is Givenchy. He comes to see me once a
week, and we have been friends for 50 years.
KM: Could he have been a good antique dealer?
Oh yes, he has a wonderful eye.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Didier Aaron, Aaron Antiques, Paris