Rus News Journal

The foreign art market

the French antiquarian trade waits for changes

the Annual turnover of the Parisian auctions in 1995 in comparison with the previous season has decreased on 7 %. Successes of main competitors Drouot, English trading houses Sotheby ` s and Christie ` s, are perceived by the French public as reproach. The role, undoubtedly, that plays also the tax to a surplus value in France above, than where - or. And it weakens its positions in international antiquarian business. The French auctioneers have too got used to leadership and the big separation from competitors, after all up to the end 50 - h Paris was capital world art - business. Now Frenchmen hardly adapt to the changed realities of international trade. One try to open the new markets abroad, others - to reconstruct all system of antiquarian trade and to revive former Grand Drouot.

Auction house Drouot, some kind of a barometre marking weather in French art - the market, tries to have adequately not the best for it times. The firm trade turnover - 2,9 mlrd francs that on 7 % is less, than in 1994. The conclusion involuntarily arises: all structure of French art - the market is sick. Meanwhile Sotheby ` s and Christie ` s, English trading houses - the main competitors Drouot, prosper. The turn of the first of them in 1995 has reached $1,66 million, having increased by 25 %. Christie ` s advertised $1,47 million figure that on 17 % exceeds a result of last year.
in the beginning 50 - h years Drouot steadily was in the lead among world auctions. The American dealers and collectors did not leave Paris literally, watching for titbits, after all 80 % of clientele of the Parisian galleries arrived from - for ocean. This Golden Age has come to an end with powerful approach of the American art which have captivated the markets, and also expansion Sotheby ` s and Christie ` s. After that Drouot has not managed to restore former positions any more. Taxes are guilty, the Parisian auctioneers and commissioners - appraisers unanimously repeat. But how requisitions were heavy, it is impossible to dump all on them. The true reason that French art - dealers, having got used to the unique position in the world market, have absolutely ceased to care of a gain of the new markets. At the same time British actively opened worldwide the branches and organised regional sales. Some Frenchmen by their example have opened representations abroad, however operated especially at own risk: the National chamber of auctioneers and appraisers refused to give any guarantees concerning the sales made out of habitual sphere of influence. Financial solidarity of the French appraisers as it was found out, operates only in territory of France. In particular, one of provincial French auctioneers has had an opportunity to be engaged in ancient castle sale in Great Britain. However he has been compelled to refuse the good bargain, having been afraid risk though had excellent possibility to beat British on their field.
nevertheless the commissioner - appraiser Drouot metre Jacque Tajan tries to extend the activity for limits of France: Whereas my compatriots persist in the errors, I prefer to co-operate with foreign trading houses. The French auctioneers do not give themselves the report that the world has changed. Today things move faster, than their sellers . Methods of Tajana are simple and effective, it of all - navsego makes use of experience and principles of work of the Anglo-Saxon colleagues. As it is known, it is theoretically forbidden to auctioneers to be engaged personally in advertising, to hire buyers or to give tentative estimations of the future auctions. However in practice all only and arrive. The dealer or especially simple seller, urgently needing money, instantly get under guardianship of the auctioneer. That begins work with the owner long before the auctions, in particular providing it the necessary loan in bank.
unlike bipolar British system Christie ` s - Sotheby ` s, in France other scheme operates. Here some hundreds small art - businessmen and small associations, each of which try to operate the same as English giants, carrying out thus much less sales. It would Seem, joint employment pull together. Being guided by these ideas, Millon, president Drouot and the basic advocate of a course on association, intends to recreate Great Druo and to organise the big holding company, capable to compete to mighty Englishmen. In a society the rule of cross participation will operate: The auctioneer becomes the proprietor bolshej parts in own trading society whereas the smaller part will be supervised Drouot Holding. However there is a set of questions. Total absence of any sympathy of auctioneers under the relation to each other can become a stumbling-block, after all usually any unions between them appear the extremely fragile. Besides, supporters of creation Great Druo should charge itself with a heavy burden of putting in order of the building of hotel Druo - Rishele the extremely inconvenient construction. Still the big polemic is caused by excessive dearness of rent of a building. As a matter of fact halls Drouot removed in metre by Tajanom, the expensive even for this largest French auction house: the Hall in 120 sq. metres in ` Druo - Rishele ` costs to me 3,8 million francs for 250 days of using. It is a robbery . Recently Tajan has arrived resolutely, having paid for a hall such rent what, in its opinion, it is worthy. Now it should settle this business with the higher judicial instance.
and still what were its lacks, hotel Druo it is necessary: after all it is on the brisk place, known to all dealers antiques. Besides, its free, a bit careless atmosphere as well as possible answers the essence of auction trade. It reminds that dump in which it is possible to find pearl grain. Tajan remembers the case which has occurred in 1993 when the auctions passed without the catalogue. As a result the anonymous modest picture hanging where - that in a corner and estimated in 8 - 15 thousand francs, has appeared not than other, as George`s original de Latura. Later a picture have sold in Monaco for 11,1 million francs. Has sold, of course, Sotheby ` s. So while the kernel of future great auction house Drouot Holding serves basically as the supplier of funny things for the international antiquarian market.