Design & Decoration S01 ep7: Francois Tajan, Tajan Auctions, [Paris]
Interview with Francois Tajan
The Galleries, the Contemporary Art Galleries are so important because they are following the work of an artist, the understanding it, they are organising exhibitions, they are make catalogues, and I think what artists has to be initially and then after 2, 3,4 or 5 years then it will become the right time for him to be in an auction house
Etude Tajan is a leading French auctioneer and auction house.
I used to work on the movie business during 5 years with Jean Jacque Arnault
film, who was very successful all around the world for a story about a big bear
and a small one. When you work on movie, on the film, it is a very close-knit
team, crew and this is the same. When we are preparing for an auction, or a
catalogue then you have to make the promotion of the things you will sell and
then there is the big day.
KM: Was it limiting being a family company and competing with Sothebys?
Yes, of course.
You know in a few weeks, they will be selling in Paris also, so it is very
important to have a very big structure behind us. For example, important
modern paintings, we know that Paris is not the place of this market. If we
propose our client to sell in Paris, they say o.k. I like you very much Mr. Tajan
but I prefer that my paintings be sold in New York. So now we can with Philips,
we sell with Philips.
KM: So there is Philips in New York as well.
Of course, they have organised two new auctions, two very important auctions
in last May and November. I was in New York for these auctions, and we had
a very nice Cezane and a lovely Renoir, Matisse, and now I have many people
who call me and say Hello Mr. Tajan I have a very nice painting to be sold in
New York, can I meet you? This is new.
KM: Why is the barometer of art, paintings, why are they still symbolic of our
concept of art?
Because I think that this is the tradition you know, maybe in two centuries it will
be a video or photography.
KM: Now that art has become a very big business, how do you know for
example if someone like a Damien Hurst is valuable? Why is he valuable, and
one of his contemporaries could be as talented but not as valuable?
People want to have new idols. They had Andy Warhol in the 70's, they have
Jean Michel Baskin in the 80's, and then it is somebody else in the 90's and
somebody else in these new years. So maybe Damien Hurst is the right guy
Dupre-Lafont created the decorative arts, he was active in the 30s, 40s, & 50s
a French decorator.
KM: And what piece did you have?
We have maybe the most low table, the most beautiful one maybe in the art
deco period and we just sold last week, close to be paid more 4 million of
KM: So about 1/2 a million US $.
Yes, which was an amazing piece and this is good recognition for Dupre-
Lafont to obtain such an important price because maybe it was the best
balance of the pure art deco of the 30s and the design we know now which is
up to date now...
KM: The turning point.
Yes, exactly the turning point. Maybe for contemporary art I like very much Bill
Viola he is an American Artist very important. He makes very spectacular
images. One thing which is very important you have one guy who is just
arriving, he is walking and then rain starts falling and in the other way of the
screen you have another image with fire and fire is growing, is growing, is
growing and the guy is disappearing behind the fire and the same with the rain.
Which is you know, its fantastic
KM: The visual - he is using Adobe Aftereffects.
Yes. But it was fantastic the idea of the human being you know, in the
elements, the natural elements. It was really fantastic - it may be the most
famous piece by Bill Viola.
KM: Any other pieces you can name that are a bit more contemporary. Have
you had Mona Lisa's in here or good copies?
No and photography maybe Nan Golding which is quite up to date now but ah
I like very much the way she makes photograph and ah very emotional way to
do and it obtains high price now, but it is good not for the high price but for her
this is the type of recognition when the price is high.
The Galleries, the Contemporary Art Galleries are so important because they
are following the work of an artist, the understanding it, they are organising
exhibitions, they are make catalogues, and I think what artists has to be initially
and then after 2, 3,4 or 5 years then it will become the right time for him to be
in an auction house, but initially....
KM: He has to build his ground swell.
KM: In 5 or 10 years what do you think, apart from the normal painting,
sculptures, photographs, what do you think you will be doing, do you think you
will be auctioning off a Hermes bag, can that happen do you think?
Yes, maybe, 20 years ago things were sold from the what we call Nouveau
Realist - Arman, Cesar, Spoierri all these French artists are what we call Ecole
D'nice they were selling nothing just accumulating all their things, Spoierri
made the dishes of one dinner or lunch, with the odd olive and the fork, it has
been sold 20 years ago. So I think that nothing can surprise us anymore.
KM: What has been the biggest surprise for you in the art world, that someone
has passed off as Art? Of course things like Cesar, we know the concrete and
the cars, we know squashed imitation watches, we know all that but has really
surprised you, what has been the most fascinating and interesting thing that
has been passed off as art.
Maybe Damien Hurst
KM: It is a lot of money for pills?
Yes this is the younger one this is the new one so the effect of surprise is
stronger with that because the other artists are quite integrated in our minds
now but Damien Hurst’s success is quite fascinating.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Francois Tajan, Tajan Auctions, Paris