The art market is full of personalities, but dealers and gallerists often seem little more than names when the market gets covered in print. In a new series, Apollo asks art dealers to introduce themselves and their businesses.
Tell us a bit about the history of your business…
My brother Nicolas and I represent the fifth generation of antique dealers, initially in Minsk, Belorussia, before moving to Paris in the 1920s.
What are your specialist fields?
Masterpieces in any field or media, from 500 B.C. to 1848.
What’s the most exciting work you’re currently offering?
From 18 September, we will be showing an exhibition called ‘Baroque Pearl’, exclusively on our website, comprising jewels and precious objects from the Renaissance to the art nouveau.
What’s been your greatest triumph as a dealer?
The gallery’s move into the Hôtel Collot, which I believe to be one of the finest private mansions in Paris.
How has the market in your field changed since you started dealing?
Antiques are out of fashion, which is a great thing because they are now left to the passionate collectors and amateurs.
Do you collect yourself? And in the same field as you deal?
Yes, but private collection is part of private life.
Which work have you been sorriest to part with?
None: I am not interested in possession but in discoveries.
If you weren’t an art dealer, what would you be?
I would be astrophysicist or brain neurologist, dealing with the infinitely big or small.
Alexis Kugel runs Galerie J. Kugel in Paris with his brother, Nicolas.