“Syndicat National des Antiquaires”

Vetting, an art in itself!

At the Biennale, the Commission d’Admission des Œuvres is the necessary transit point for any object if it is to get into the Grand Palais. This year, vetting is particularly strict. An interview with two men from the art world, Frédéric Castaing and Michel Maket… With the new season starting up placed under the sign of “moralisation”, it was hard for La Biennale Paris to offer anything other than irreproachable vetting. To oversee this “meticulous examination” of works, calling on two co-presidents seemed a good solution: Frédéric Castaing and Michel Maket, the heads, respectively, of the Compagnie Nationale des Experts and the Syndicat Français des Experts Professionnels en Œuvres d’Art et Objets de Collection. To find out more about the new standards of rigour upheld by the Commission for the Admission of Works (the Commission d’Admission des Œuvres or CAO), we talked with the two presidents, both high-flying valuers. How does one distinguish genuines from fakes? What constitutes a “Biennale-quality” object? A dive into the backstage of an art market that is regularly rocked by “cases”…   You’ve arrived at a timely moment when everyone in France is talking about “moralisation”… Michel Maket: Let’s make things clear… We are acting upon a proposition from the Syndicat National des Antiquaires, at the initiative of Mathias Ary Jan, its president, to carry out a co-presidency according to new rules formulated on the operation of the Biennale’s CAO. The principle of independence – which is fundamental in our profession of valuation – is at the heart of the new committee this year. So of course, all this contributes to the moralisation and transparency of the market. Frédéric Castaing: The thing that won my support straight away really was this notion of independence with respect to the management of the Syndicat National des...

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Mathias Ary Jan or the art of reconquest

He’s young and (very) dynamic. And he’s also at the head of the most exclusive event of the back-to-school period. His mission is to bring new life to the Biennale, the paragon of taste and vigour. An hour with Mathias Ary Jan. The platform is international, the dialectic commercial. For its first edition (as a yearly event), La Biennale Paris shows a desire to leave old rivalries aside and to devote itself to new goals. Created under the sign of excellence, this twenty-ninth opus may well be the one that reconquers the public. This, in any case, is the priority of Mathias Ary Jan, a specialist in paintings from the end of the 19th century and the Orientalist school, now also president of the Syndicat National des Antiquaires. His strategy? Gathering around 5000 objects under the glass roof of the Grand Palais over eight days, according to new standards of rigour. A renewal, thus, for this upper-end rendezvous that remains the most chic event in the world of art. One where international collectors can (finally) get back on the track of big deals!   Despite its new yearly rhythm, the Biennale is preserving its name. Isn’t that a little strange? The Biennale traces a history. It’s also a name that, over the years, has become a brand. A brand that we wish to develop, a signature that we’re going to energise even more. So detaching the event from its name would have been, I think, a strategic error. While semantically, it’s no longer a biennale, strategically, the term remains well identified. It refers to a path, a history that started in 1956, and to which we’re very attached. And then again, isn’t the Paris-Dakar held in South America?   How would you describe this twenty-ninth edition in three words?...

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La Biennale Paris: The wind of renewal

A new formula for a historic fair. This year, La Biennale Paris is engaging in a rebirth that remains highly respectful of tradition. See it for yourself at the Grand Palais, until 17 September. The planet’s most elegant fair, riding on its heritage, opens up to new horizons. “Confidence, confidence, confidence!” This could be – if one were needed – the motto of this 29th edition of the Biennale, formerly known as the Biennale des Antiquaires, currently on at the Grand Palais until 17 September… And it’s not Christopher “Kip” Forbes, chairman of this new opus, who will say the contrary. “La Biennale Paris is the most important fair in its field in France, and one of the most important in the world,” claims the American billionaire who, this year, succeds Henri Loyrette, former president of the Louvre. “I’ll try to keep up the level of excellence established by my eminent predecessors and I hope to contribute to making this edition of the Biennale the most brilliant one to ever exist.” The stakes have been set… Will Christopher Forbes manage to meet them? Christopher Forbes, the ambassador of shockwaves By calling on a major figure from the art market this year, the Syndicat National des Antiquaires, the event’s organiser, has made the choice of competitiveness. In this milieu, Christopher Forbes is one of those people that we no longer introduce. Forbes is a name with a planetary resonance, associated with the eponymous magazine, one of the major US financial publications, known for its yearly ranking of the world’s greatest fortunes. The businessman’s renown already speaks in his favour. If we had to sum up Christopher Forbes’ profile, we could say that it more or less corresponds to that of the consummate artlover. After obtaining a degree in art history...

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Christian Deydier loses his appeal against the SNA

On 17 February 2015, the Paris Tribunal de Grande Instance dismissed Christian Deydier’s demands to be compensated for his dismissal from the post of president of the SNA. The Chinese art dealer and former president of the Syndicat National des antiquaires (SNA) was dismissed from his post in June 2014 and sentenced to pay a €4,000 fine to the SNA. The previous demands made by Christian Deydier, about his dismissal and the naming of an interim president, had been rejected. His dismissal was judged by the court as to have been justified, both in respect to the reasons for his dismissal, and the manner in which his dismissal was effected. The nomination of Jean-Gabriel Peyre as the SNA’s interim president was also deemed to be justified. Deydier’s request for €250,000 in damages was also dismissed. At the time of his dismissal, which was voted by a majority of ten votes against five, Deydier declared that during his tenure as president “he had taken the interest of his adherents into full account in his responsibilities as...

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The Syndicat National des Antiquaires wins against Christie’s

Paris, 20 December 2012, Art Media Agency (AMA). The Paris Court of appeal has recently given right to the Syndicat National des Antiquaires against Christie’s. The French justice has deemed the payment of the droit de suite should stay at the seller’s expense, as stipulated by the Intellectual Property Code, and not at the buyer’s expense as stipulated by the clauses established by Christie’s. The case began in February 2009, on occasion of the dispersal of the Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé Collection. Christie’s decided the droit de suite should be paid not by the seller, but the buyer, taking advantage of a legal grey area to grant itself a competitive advantage, for other French auction houses apply the droit de suite to sellers. Actually, Christie’s wished to encourage collectors to sell their works in France. However the Syndicat National des Antiquaires opposed to that decision, charging the auction house with unfair competition and abuse of dominating position. In 2011, the Paris Court dismissed the case and deemed the SNA’s action inadmissible. Indeed, as the droit de suite protects the artists, only they and their heirs can ask nullity. The Court of appeal then decided otherwise and agreed with the Syndicat National des Antiquaires, declaring the nullity of the clause appearing in Christie’s France general conditions of sale. The auction house will have to pay out €10,000 at the SNA, as stipulated by the article 700 of the Code of Civil...

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