• gerard van weyenbergh

Galerie Perrotin, New Gallery in Paris

He never stops expanding his empire.

Emmanuel Perrotin, one "The ArtReview Power 100" is ranked #3 gallerist most influential worldwide, behind American Larry Gagosian and German David Zwirner. Despite the current pandemic context, he will open in 2021 a mansion of 380 square meters on avenue Matignon. It is its fifth Parisian site, in addition to the branches in New York (an entire building), Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul, and Tokyo.

The premises on Avenue Matignon are located near Christie's, Sotheby's, Artcurial, and Piasa. This is good because this new exceptional space with five floors is dedicated precisely to the secondary market, that is to say, to the purchase and resale of contemporary and modern art. It will therefore compete with the private sales of these large auction houses. A new bowstring from this star gallery owner of contemporary art to famous artists (JR, Maurizio Cattelan, Murakami, Soulages…), who is joining forces in this project with two young specialist dealers, Tom-David Bastok and Dylan Lessel.

His associates started their careers in 2010: Tom-David Bastok by launching the first joint-ownership art buying platform, Dylan Lessel, by working for the Kamel Mennour gallery and developing private collections. "We will be able to rely on Perrotin galleries around the world, to provide global service to customers," explains the duo, used to find works that are rarely seen on the market, to verify their authenticity and to guarantee their provenance.

Emmanuel Perrotin, who, with the tandem, signed his lease during the first confinement - which made it possible to include a Covid clause on rents - did not want to take a wait-and-see attitude. "With each crisis, I took risks, tried to come out stronger. And Paris is once again becoming a stronghold of art, with the installation of galleries such as Levy Gorvy, David Zwirner, Pace…", he assures us.

Beneficiary year

For the fifty talents of his team, this will be an additional opportunity to participate in the unexpected projects of the gallerist, who celebrated his 30 years of profession in 2020. Thus, when the FIAC was canceled in October, Emmanuel Perrotin organized with the Grand Palais "Wanted! », A treasure hunt with 20 works by 20 artists from the gallery. After the first confinement, he opened his space in the Marais to 26 Parisian colleagues for several weeks, in a spirit of solidarity.

With his innate sense of marketing and brilliance (he was the one who hit the headlines at Art Basel Miami in 2019 with Maurizio Cattelan's banana taped to the wall and sold for 120,000 euros), he achieved a better year 2020 than expected. He sold more than 2,000 works and very low costs in the absence of fairs - hence a profit balance. "Our turnover will only drop by 20 to 25% compared to last year, thanks to our advance in digitalization - with our virtual rooms, our activism on Instagram, our tailor-made software to meet the expectations of our customers - and our presence in four Asian countries that have managed the pandemic well. In Paris too, we did well, better than in New York," he says.

This art businessman, who employs 145 people, refuses to reveal his turnover—latest known figure: 34.5 million in 2018 for the Hexagon alone. But when we are present in six countries via different companies, we can also arbitrate between the possible places of invoicing.

© Les Echos, Martine Robert