Design & Decoration S03 ep19 : Floris Van Der, Ven Asian Antiques, [Amsterdam]
Interview with Floris Van Der
Vanderven & Vanderven Oriental Art, specialises in Asian art with an emphasis on Chinese and Japanese export porcelain. Also included are early bronzes and terracotta objects dating from as early as 3000 BC as well as Chinese works of art and colonial furniture. Sinds 2008 there is a specialist Japanese department. The firm has sold to numerous private collectors, decorators, museums and historic houses in the world. Every sale should be a festive occasion, where the client should feel happy with the object and the sale process. We aim to provide all the academic information with our object in a written report. We also offer a door to door delivery service. The client therefore buys with full confidence and utmost convenience. The business is run from offices in an historical building in the centre of the medieval town of 's-Hertogenbosch.
Welcome to Vanderven and Vanderven Oriental Art. A Dutch company specialised in Asian
ceramics mainly from Japan and China. My aunt and uncle founded the company in 1968, I joined
them officially in 1996 and we’re one of the founding companies of the Tefaf Maastricht Fair.
We Dutch, we have a long tradition in trading with the Chinese and the Japanese, via our Dutch
East India Company, the VOC. We therefore have many collectors and a long tradition in
collecting Chinese and Japanese ceramics.
My father had the ladies fashion shop. The wise advisor of my father who said look after season is
over these clothes are clean cotton, the great advantage of antiques is that the sell by date never
You deal with special people, you deal with interesting objects, it is buying and selling, it’s
business, it’s trade and as an antique dealer you often are involved in the whole process of a
business. The favourite part is to find the client for the right piece and to hear the story of the
client who is the man and why is he buying it.
These pieces, they enrich your life and people buy these because they are struck by lightning when
they see these pieces. People often have a story why they collect art or why they are these people
that they like this so much and I always interesting to hear the story behind the buyer.
Very often these stories are family related or that people have visited China, I often funnily enough
meet the self made man and you hear the story of newspaper boy to billionaire.
We share the passion for art, that’s what brings a Brazilian collector to a Dutch dealer, it is the
object and the passion that he wants it, the passion that I able to find it and can present it to him.
I buy in exactly the same way as my clients buy. I am also struck by lightning when I see a piece
and I think oh, this is beautiful, then I start to use my brain and I say what is the condition, is it
genuine, is the price correct, that’s why it is also so easy to sell. In case I hesitate whether I should
buy it or not, I have a simple criteria, if nobody wants to buy the piece and we have it in the shop
for 10 years would I then like it at home and I say yes, I buy the piece, if I say well, I’m not sure, I
don’t buy it.
We once were able to buy very rare ewer, it’s a pouring vessel, like a teapot that’s in the museum
in America now that we could not believe existed and we thought it was so rare that we had a
painting made of this ewer and it’s still hanging in one of the offices in our business.
The Japanese as a culture are much more refined so often Japanese art is much finer than Chinese,
although the Chinese have more sort of natural beauty in objects.
But it is nowadays a 24 hour job to specialise in one area and if you want to work on the highest
level on an international basis, you need all the time in the world to actually concentrate on this
one section that you specialise in.
After 40 years of business we have a very good sourcing network and an international reputation
that we do find pieces but the pieces also find us especially in the last eight years we noticed that
the first generation of buyers are becoming sellers so we actually the circle has been created and
that’s a big advantage that we can buy privately.
I once went to a client who lived at least two days drive from where we have the business in a big
city and he bought two imposing pieces of Chinese art and my shipper arrived with this enormous
truck and could not reach the house of the client because the streets were too narrow, we had one
hour to get these enormous pieces from this big truck who was five streets down from where we
had to be, and we managed to find at a local bakery a little transport van and we unpacked the
pieces in the big truck of the shipper, loaded them in the van of the baker who drove us to the
house of the client where we unloaded the pieces. I paid the baker a fine sum of money and he
thought it was very funny and when the client arrived the first thing he always asked, so how was
your trip and how did the shipment go and we said fine, no problem, no problem whatsoever, a
piece of cake, professional shipper.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Floris Van Der Ven, Ven Asian Antiques, Amsterdam