Design & Decoration S02 ep14 : Anne Lahumiere, Lahumiere Gallery, [Paris]
Interview with Anne Lahumiere
Anne and Jean-Claude Lahumière founded Galerie Lahumière in 1963. After 25 years staying next to the Parc Monceau in the 17th arrondissement from Paris, they moved to an 18th century building in the heart of the historic Marais district, a stone’s throw from the Picasso Museum. The gallery participated in the emergence of the first international art fairs in cities such as Basel, Paris, Cologne, and Chicago. In the past forty-five years, the gallery has attended at an average of five fairs per year. From 1993 to 2004 Anne was president of the French association of art galleries (CPGA). In 1999, she was elected president of the European Federation of Art Gallery Associations for three years, later she was part of the Conseil des Ventes (organization of control for the auctioneers in France) during four years. Since many years, Galerie Lahumière has strengthened its commitment to geometric and “constructed” abstraction. It represents not only historic artists within this movement — Cahn, Dewasne, Gorin, Herbin, Legros, Magnelli, and Vasarely — but also contemporary and vanguard artists such as Bauduin, Bézie, Bodde, Coignet, Dubreuil, Gasquet, Jacquier-Stajnowicz, Perrot, Pondruel, Popet, Prosi and Stempfel. “More and more,” say the Lahumières, “our role involves mounting educational exhibitions, reinforcing the image of little-known artists. We feel that the concept of ‘constructed’ art is still consistently creative at the start of this new millennium despite the development and constant rejuvenation of the art scene, convincing us of our commitment. The gallery puts its weight behind every work. Our criterion of quality is simple –- we ask whether a work has a place in our own collection, and at that point we can sell it to a collector.”
Lahumiere: Lahumiere it’s a gallery, it’s maybe a spirit, it’s maybe a certain idea of art, it’s all of
Lahumiere: While I was 15 I had a long illness and in hospital I had some very nice sisters they
gave me books on art and I guess that’s how it started actually. After that I met artists in a nearby
village and I think that’s the beginning of being busy with art.
Lahumiere: I had a friend, she was a painter, through her I heard names that I’d never heard before
I’m thinking of the collector Villem Uder, he was the first to discover Picasso and then he
discovered the whole … school Henri Russo and people like that. Uder was a German a critic
writer and collector and great discoverer of art and artists so then I bumped into people from …
it’s one of the big villages with an artist called Paola Mudazumbecker, Mudazumbecker is one of
the great expressionist artists in north of Germany.
Why open a gallery?
Lahumiere: We just thought it was a business like any other business and it was a very hard
Lahumiere: I mentioned before Beckermudezon I think it’s a woman who caught with very, very
small means the spirit of people she painted. I hadn’t known this man behind me Uber Alber, I feel
that his life was dedicated to art, he was dedicated to his art and that the art reflects that
dedication. He still is not very well known but he has 20 people since 50 years that follow him that
worshiped him, people being artists that think he was the man they could trust to push a certain art
Lahumiere: You’re talking about Warhol, I don’t think him as an icon at all. For me, Warhol is
perfect example of publicity, has probably done something very important but today it’s overdone
I think people want to be an icon, just lived the crazy way of life and people like that.
Lahumiere: I think the most important for yourself as a galleryist is to feel well with the art you
handle. An artist is like what he paints and I felt very, very comfortable with constructive people
they were very straightforward.
Lahumiere: You don’t need to fight when you buy art. If you have to fight to buy art, you have to
fight to sell it, then you have to fight to get paid, so I really think you have to exclude as many
fights as you can.
Lahumiere: There is nothing that is what we call spontaneous in art, never. I mean all the Damien
Hurst stuff, the world go back to Deschamps but sometimes an artist who takes something from
another one does it and does it better. Picasso and Brach, Brach invented it but Picasso was a better
Lahumiere: The artist I have in my gallery right now killed himself in 1981. He had no ego
whatsoever in the 70’s, he had broken up with a certain art he was doing in the 50’s where he was
quite successful, then he had a white period he went back to … and nobody wanted that art,
nobody liked it, and it was highly spiritual and at one point in time he couldn’t bear the pressure
any longer not pressure, the void, there was no answer. So there’s the two things it has to be
balanced, some people have to like the art that somebody does. The collector is the eye and the
recognition for the artist that he does something important.
Lahumiere: It’s difficult to explain art, I first tell my collectors that they should look at museums
all the time. I think finally when a piece shows up in a museum, mostly anyway, it has gone
through a lot of filters. There is the gallery that has chosen it, probably a collector who has
collected it, then the museum council so it’s already at least three different judgements. It finally
ends up in the museum so I tell them, have a look in the museum and in the museum you choose
what you like.
Lahumiere: Art is knowledge, art is like hearing a new piece by Stuchausen or Bulez, it’s
something that you form your eye, you educate your eye, that’s what I why I am always telling my
cultural minister in France the child has to see art, the child has to go to the museum, not drawing
themselves, but look at art, look what we consider our heritage, our cultural heritage and absorb
that and then they have a possibility to make their own judgements.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Anne Lahumiere, Lahumiere Gallery, Paris