Art under the hammer

The aim of Paris-based auction house Artcurial is to provide Israelis with a platform for art and culture – with a French twist.

May 23, 2017 21:22
3 minute read.

A TOURIST takes a picture of one of the reproductions by the Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn at Magna Plaza shopping center in Amsterdam.. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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There is a new auction house in Israel that is ready to advise, consult and inspire Israeli collectors.

“When we started in Paris, more than 15 years ago, we brought something new, something fresh to the auction world: a new way to talk with collectors. We share with them the same passion, speak the same language” say Artcurial Israel representative Philippe Cohen. “Today, we want to come closer to them, all over the world. In 2016, 75% of our clients, from our more than 25 domains of expertise, were international.”

Artcurial is a multidisciplinary auction house founded in Paris in 2002. With a handful of international offices and sales taking place around the globe, Artcurial offers collectors everything from jewelry and timepieces to blue-chip modern and contemporary works of art.

“We are friendly, knowledgeable and serious about what we do. It is our goal to provide Israelis with a platform for art and culture – with a French touch” says Cohen.

The well-established auction house opened its Tel Aviv office in 2015 and appointed Parisian immigrant Cohen to head the branch. A father of five, Cohen is a lifelong collector who is passionate about the arts.

“While this is new territory for me, I believe it is a great time for art” says Cohen.

“There are an increasing number of collectors with a growing interest in art and design.

Israelis connect with European style, specifically when it comes to design, modern and contemporary art.”

Choosing Cohen was a smart strategic choice for Artcurial, as his strong ties with the Israel’s art community go back decades. Cohen has supported major acquisitions and exhibitions at the country’s top cultural institutions, and has served on the board of the Israel Museum and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. Cohen also organized, alongside the French Institute in Tel Aviv, crossover exchanges between major French and Israeli institutions to further awareness of the two countries’ respective contemporary art scenes.

As a collector himself, Cohen is enthusiastic and available to be a resource and impart his industry knowledge.

“I admit that I was surprised at first when Artcurial asked me to be their representative in Israel. But I quickly realized that it makes sense: I know the Israeli art scene (collectors as well as artists) very well, I have a strong connection to Paris, one of the world’s art capitals, and my personal passion for design, contemporary art and Jewish culture,” says Cohen.

According to Cohen, what distinguishes Artcurial from the larger auction houses is the personal touch and focus on client needs.

“From the beginning, Artcurial wanted to be more than an auction house. The project was to build a cultural hub, with an auction room at its heart. It is animated by former collectors, like me, and passionate about the art market.

With this unique insight, we are able to organize custom- made sales to highlight every collection,” says Cohen.

Artcurial offers a variety of unique auctions throughout the year, and at the end of this month there will be a highlight sale in Paris. On May 30, Artcurial will auction the rare marble masterpiece Andromeda by the celebrated French sculptor Auguste Rodin (1840- 1917).

“We are very proud to be able to offer such a unique piece at auction, which also celebrates the 100th anniversary of Rodin’s death” said Cohen. “Certainly the most famous sculptor in the world, Rodin unveils with Andromeda a classic subject from Greek mythology that he twists with a modern representation. He gives the powerful vision of an abandoned woman offered to the gods” says Cohen.

Further information about this and future Artcurial auctions can be found at

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