Design & Decoration S02 ep9 : Bernard Steinitz, French Period Antiques, [Paris]
Interview with Bernard Steinitz
Steinitz: I was sure when I was making experimental objects that first of all I need to buy and after
to learn what it was. It’s not in the school you can learn, it’s not because you have written a book.
Steinitz: Being born in such a family you get lucky enough to be exposed very young and I was
feeling at the time that contemporary would be more free or more open than antiques, you can
believe that antiques are a bit stuffy or a bit old. If you look around you, you have some oriental
piece, some French piece, some Italian piece, some 17th Century, some 18th Century, it’s a
completely wide range and slowly, slowly I realised actually it was even more open than working
with contemporary because I am able to do whatever I feel.
Steinitz: When we were young with my brother we had a bit of experience but rather it was the
contemporary world with emerging and living artist and that was I felt a great experience to start
working with people and having the context of the art, trying to communicate your passion. In our
field now it’s even more exciting for me because you have first your discovery your passion which
excites you, then the understanding of what is your discovery, and then the communication of your
passion, so it’s you know three … each other inside it.
Steinitz: When we have headache in your life you need art and without art you keep your headache
and you have no chance to survive, with art you are in a different world. People out of art cannot
understand, each of us is a person that approaches art, it’s like with a woman, it’s like with
something else, you have a personal sense and you love or you hate, but nobody can understand
why. After that your eyes become more accurate more familiar and you open books, you go to
museum, you see comparative things and you understand why the object is fabulous or not. The
discovery of art gives you the desire to improve your knowledge and this is the what is importance
is, we need the notion of art, like we need water, each day.
Steinitz: You think of what we call modern art or the description of it is just evolving decade after
decade more like Duchamp, people like that, is anything is art as much as you feel there’s a
passionate creativity to it and then you can relate to it with a certain passion. I think an entrée can
be as much an art piece as a painting.
Steinitz: A great appreciation, it’s permanent kind of the big mirror, they want to show what they
believe will be eternal piece of art. Sometimes they are wrong. Sometimes 40 years, 60 years after
they collect the book for a lot of money people don’t like any more, or … it was not so good so we
need to be cautious about the definition of art, but I believe that art it belonging to the people
alive. Be cautious about the fashion, fashion is … sometimes the fashion make art with rubbish.
Steinitz: You cannot explain why I don’t understand Picasso 40 years before and now I see him is a
Ten years ago, the antique business was different to now.
Steinitz: Completely, yes.
What has changed, what has happened?
Steinitz: Lot of factors affect the … for example the … in America and in between all the world in
general, more and more young people have sufficient money to afford antiques.
Steinitz: Byzantine 40 years ago, more than completely out of fashion.
If you both go to an auction, do you pick the same pieces, or totally different pieces?
Steinitz: Yes, this is a very good question because 98% when we go separately we choose the same
Really, is that true?
Steinitz: Sad but true.
Steinitz: Our life, it’s not a lottery. You cannot choose like that or like that, it’s a sense of
accumulation of the experience, accumulation of knowledge, vision, museum, meeting with
interesting people, speaking with old collector, running all around the world and you accumulate a
sense of what you need and what is not good enough to go in your collection.
Steinitz: We have an important show in Paris and it’s always very political, I think that’s maybe
one of the stories that made me want to join and with my brother we arrive in the show just the day
it was you know opened, just after the betting and we see my father with a big … grand chandelier
on the just about to smash it on the head of one of his colleagues. So we run, stop it, stop it, very
dramatic, the row started because of a small H… horn table that he thought was fabulous and he
knew once again, it’s all about the passion thing, he felt it was great without knowing really what it
was. And he knew it was early about early 14th period which is about 1700 and the reason he …
one of his colleagues was started the betting kind of offer said oh it’s maybe 19th Century and no so
important. So just to have it in the show, swallowed his pride, say whatever, just let me have it.
And the person from the very important American museum from the Getty museum, came over
and before he even had the time to argue a price whatever, bought it right away.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Bernard Steinitz, French Period Antiques, Paris