Design & Decoration S02 ep10 : Jean-Marie Rossi, Aveline Antiques, [Paris]
Interview with Jean-Marie Rossi
Rossi: Bellini is not an old firm, but it is a firm I started 45 years ago and the firm was existing
before with Mr Aveline from 1936, 1938 and I’ve been associated with Bellini in ’56.
Rossi: He was a traveller, he was a very good eye and I learned from him to have the same kind of
glimpse. We have immediately a doubt there is no doubt, he taught me that sentence and I think
Rossi: There is an auction room where 80% of professional and 20% of private collector who are
very, very, very sharp, then it became the too monster, like Sotherby and Christies and now they
all 95% of the art and business in the world.
When you buy as a dealer, are you really buying first things that please you and then you’re selling
to a customer?
Rossi: Yes, if you want something a bit maybe from Germany, from Italy from France with a bit
unusual that’s what I’m trying to do of every period you don’t trying to find the modern styles
throughout the ages. I try to find what was modern in 1780 or in 1750.
Why, why is it so important that they
Rossi: Because I like very much contemporary paintings so it taught me what was modern or what
was a remake. You know a remake or a revival or not original, for instance in 1750 I try to find the
neo classical they are very rare, the neo classical looks like an empire piece but it has been done in
1750, that’s what it has been taught by the modern art. What is modern at the 20th Century, it is a
Marcel Dujon, you see a master when you see all the followers.
Rossi: A good piece of art, you don’t like it at the beginning. You like safe … should already, the
creator is … you, you don’t like it, Cézanne it’s not so pleasant and then the followers. Cézanne is
turn a bit difficult but he is a master, after … I know you do better than Cézanne you have some
red, some white, some yellow, it’s more pleasant but it’s not as important.
How do you feel you have changed?
Rossi: No, no but I was the same at 25.
Rossi: Oh yes.
But you mustn’t, but you didn’t have the knowledge you have now?
Rossi: No, the knowledge no, but I had the same desire for even of bad taste sometimes.
Importantly I used to say what is bad taste, it is the aristocratic desire of being unpleasant but it
becomes something like kitsch, some kitsch pieces of art becomes something else and at the
beginning it was erh, like this you know.
And then it had some value.
Rossi: Van Gogh didn’t find any customer all his life because he was … with the painting about
not dry like sick and with all the … colours it was not dry, must have been very shocking.
Rossi: Every dealer has customers that he …
So who is your customer?
Rossi: Sophisticated people from every country. They come, they look and they are expecting
something. So it must not be too predictable. You can have very classical pieces but for so good
quality that it becomes something else also rare, your rarities your provenance the authenticity etc
all together makes … to hold the price and the rarity so it is unpredictable.
Rossi: On the 13th of December there is a sale at Sotheby with marvellous piece come out from
Roma, absolutely wonderful. It looks like 1925, well it is a week … but in Roma and the core
marketry you look you put it in a 1925 … and this piece is amusing me more than the classical
antique dealers, but finally it’s not cheap. When it is good, very good, very special, it’s very, very,
very expensive. And afterwards, it’s very difficult to sell because it’s not understood, but I don’t
Rossi: I am a modern art dealer who missed his way finally you know because I was a bit shivering
and I think it was more secure to make this part of the business of art, instead of this part.
Why does art have such a big value? Why do people pay, it is a status thing, I mean you must get
Rossi: Because people are nobody they want to be somebody. And if you want to be somebody you
put paintings on the wall, who are valuable paintings because the paintings is more satisfying
because you see the name and you see the price. Piece of furniture, not the same thing, you don’t
see the price, you don’t know that this piece cost 3,000,000 Francs, but you see a Picasso, $45M,
So you think it’s really a lot to do with status?
Rossi: Status, of course yes, an investment. That … investment it’s like a letter of nobility.
So this is today’s kings and queens?
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Jean-Marie Rossi, Aveline Antiques, Paris