Artcurial, Hôtel Marcel Dassault on Paris’ Champs-Élysées
Article by Roxana Florina Popa
Founded in 2002, Artcurial confirmed its position as the leading French auction house in 2014. Covering all the major specialist fields, from the Fine and Decorative Arts to Collectibles and holding two sale venues (Paris and Monte-Carlo), the auction house achieved an overall sales total of 192 M€ in 2014, representing an increase of 50% in 3 years.
In 2015, Artcurial opened an office in Munich and entrusted its management to Moritz von der Heydte. Von der Heydte studied law in Germany and completed the Art and Business course at Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London. He excelled during a six year stint at Sotheby’s London and took part in the implementation of the international development strategy for emerging markets, becoming later expert and deputy director in the Decorative Arts Department. During this time, von der Heydte also worked in close collaboration with the German offices in order to develop the business locally. He has most recently worked for the antique dealers Röbbig in Munich.
“Artcurial sells vintage classic cars and very often men who collect cars also collect watches and buy luxury jewellery for their wives“, says Moritz von der Heydte.
Moritz von der Heydte, Head of Artcurial Germany
© Hubertus Hamm
International collectors are increasingly selecting Artcurial Motorcars as the leading auction house to buy and sell the most important cars.
After a record year in 2015 featuring the remarkable Baillon Collection, Artcurial Motorcars has confirmed its own status and that of Paris as a venue for collector’s car sales with this year’s Retromobile sale. Totalling 56.1M€ / 62.6M$ including aftersales and up 21 % on last year, the 2016 edition of the sale attracted buyers and sellers from around the world. The very last Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta offered at auction during Retromobile 2016 was sold after the sale to an European collector for 8.1 M€/ 9.2 M$.
The Munich Artcurial office hosts preliminary presentations of important pieces from future Parisian and Monegasque sales, establishing itself as an essential venue for collectors and art lovers.
In addition to the valuation days organised by the office, our specialists can meet clients at their home throughout Germany by simple appointment, all year round, for a complimentary and confidential valuations, in any of the House’s twenty-five specialities, ranging from Ancient Paintings and Drawings, Furniture and Art Objects, Books, Design or Contemporary Art.
With a strong international bias, Artcurial maintains its presence abroad with offices in Milan, Vienna and Brussels, representatives in Beijing and Tel Aviv, and twice-yearly exhibitions in New York. In October 2015, Artcurial held its first sale in Hong Kong and Morocco.
Artcurial has confirmed its position as market leader for Comic Strips in Europe, Collectors’ Cars in continental Europe, jewellery and watches in France and Monaco and Old Master Paintings in Paris.
Interview with Moritz von der Heydte, Head of Artcurial Germany
Roxana Florina Popa: What is the role of Artcurial Germany? Which was the main reason for Artcurial to set up a branch in Munich? Which advantages does the Munich market bring to Artcurial’s clients?
Moritz von der Heydte: Artcurial is a dynamic, successful auction house, the very first French auction house to have been opened in Germany. Opening an office in Munich is a natural development because Munich is an art capital. There are lots of collectors, galleries and traditional art, many great museums, an active circle of museum visitors and art lovers. Last, but not least, it is an area of great wealth for Artcurial which sells luxury goods and expensive art. Munich is a very nice city to operate a business in. From here, we can work on other markets and collaborate with our consultants across Germany.
Artcurial Germany © Clemens Fantur
RFP: How does Artcurial position itself in the world in relation to auction houses like Christie’s and Sotheby’s?
MVDH: Sotheby’s is across the street, so we are next to each other. Sotheby’s and Christies’ are the market leaders and they compete on the market of multi-million works. Artcurial focuses on the middle market where there are so many more works to sell. Some pieces may suit better in a London or New York auction and others in a Paris, Vienna or Monte Carlo auction. It depends very much on what you want to sell.
RFP: With regard to the auction in Monaco, can the offered luxury objects still be found in the luxury brands’ shops or on their websites?
MVDH: These pieces are secondary market. They cannot be found in shops anymore, so collectors have to go to auctions if they want to own them.
Sometimes, we might also sell pieces, for example, a watch, which is still available in shops, but it goes into the auction because the owner does not want to wear it anymore or he got it as a present and decides to sell it. In this case, the seller will have to agree to a much lower estimate than the price in the shop.
RFP: How is a “collector” defined from the perspective of an auction house?
MVDH: There are collectors who have an entire room full of jewellery or who wear a different watch every day. Some women like collecting a great variety of Hermès vintage bags, each of them fitting another dress or outfit. They are also people who like investing because a good watch is like a good wine and because good jewellery has an intrinsic value compared to fashion jewellery. The limited-edition Hermès bags rise in value, too. There are different reasons why people collect luxury goods. Anyway, the investment reason may be second since most of the time people make these acquisitions out of passion for that luxury piece and because these collectors like to surround themselves with beautiful things. The same goes for art.
RFP: Which are the most exciting moments in an auction for you?
MVDH: It is the moment when you suddenly realise that two bidders are really determined to get one and the same extraordinary object. This is when the real competition starts. The auctioneer looks at one bidder while an assistant is on the phone with another bidder for quite some time and this latter gives his ok for bidding more. This is the moment when the auctioneer turns to the former and asks whether he would like to overbid and then, tangible tension can be felt in the room.
RFP: Which is the most enjoyable moment for a client: the winning of the acquisition or the auction game in itself?
MVDH: From a buyer’s point of view, it is often the game which makes it really exciting. Of course, the acquisition is a great moment in itself, too. From a seller’s point of view, it is the moment when you realise the bidders are really competing for your piece and you see your bank account going up.
RFP: Does the auction in Monaco allow also online bidding?
MVDH: There are different ways to bid both in Paris and Monaco: 1) by being in person and raising your hand, 2) by phone – when an Artcurial assistant will call you at the time your lot is being auctioned and he will act for you in the bidding process, 3) by leaving a written bid up to a certain amount by bidders who cannot attend the auction – the auction house will bid for you up to the specified amount or 4) via the Internet.
the Hermitage Hotel in Monaco
RFP: How does the Monegasque Riviera highlight the auctioned luxury pieces?
MVDH: Monaco is a place where extremely wealthy people live, spend their time or have a second house. In the summer, there is a lot of good mood and people spend their holidays focusing on the good things in life. So, they can dedicate their time to buying beautiful objects.
Monaco is one of the few places in the world where people can wear and show their fabulous jewellery and watches. For example, who wears tiaras? Only royalty at their weddings and people going to balls and parties in Monaco. In Monaco, one can wear very expensive beautiful jewellery without worrying about having it stolen or stirring up envy or jealousy. Monaco is a good place to sell these luxury goods.
Special Thanks go to Moritz Freiherr von der Heydte, Manager of Artcurial Germany, and Simone Nickl Public Relations
Read more on famous Artcurial auctions
Roxana Florina Popa is the author and self-publisher of the book “Beauty Elegance Creativity – 12 Interviews on the Act of Creation“