PERROTIN

Emmanuel Perrotin founded his first gallery in 1990, at the age of twenty-one. He works in close collaboration with his artists, some for more than twenty-five years, to help them accomplish their ambitious projects. Today, Perrotin represents nearly 60 artists with names as prestigious as Murakami, Cattelan and JR, while continuing to discover new talent. Perrotin totales approximately 7,600 square meters (80,700 square feet) of exhibition. Now established in seven cities, Paris, Hong Kong, New York, Seoul, Tokyo, Shanghai and Dubai, the gallery continues to expand its reach with the opening of a new permanent address in the Middle East. The new gallery in Dubai is located in a dynamic and culturally vibrant neighborhood – the DIFC – not far from Christie’s, Sotheby’s and other art galleries. This venue will offer artworks from both the primary and secondary markets.

PERROTIN

Emmanuel Perrotin founded his first gallery in 1990, at the age of twenty-one. He works in close collaboration with his artists, some for more than twenty-five years, to help them accomplish their ambitious projects. Today, Perrotin represents nearly 60 artists with names as prestigious as Murakami, Cattelan and JR, while continuing to discover new talent. Perrotin totales approximately 7,600 square meters (80,700 square feet) of exhibition. Now established in seven cities, Paris, Hong Kong, New York, Seoul, Tokyo, Shanghai and Dubai, the gallery continues to expand its reach with the opening of a new permanent address in the Middle East. The new gallery in Dubai is located in a dynamic and culturally vibrant neighborhood – the DIFC – not far from Christie’s, Sotheby’s and other art galleries. This venue will offer artworks from both the primary and secondary markets.

Contemporary Art

76 rue de Turenne, 75003 Paris, FR
+33 1 42 16 79 79
[email protected]

2bis avenue Matignon, 75008 Paris, FR
+33 1 83 62 51 64
[email protected]

8, avenue Matignon, 75008 Paris, FR
(Perrotin Secondary Market)
+33 1 89 16 76 60
[email protected]

130 Orchard Street, New York NY 10002, USA
+1 (212) 812-2902
[email protected]

807, 8/F, K11 Atelier Victoria Dockside
18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Kowloon, Hong Kong
+852 3758 2180
[email protected]

1F 5 Palpan-Gil, Jongno-Gu Seoul
+82 2 737 7978
[email protected]

1F, 6-6-9 Roppongi, Minato-Ku, Tokyo
+81 3 6721 0687
[email protected]

3/F, 27 Huqiu Road+86 21 6321 1234
[email protected]

Gate Village Building 5, Podium Level
05 Sheikh Zayed Road – Trade Center – DIFC, Dubai UAE
[email protected]

Perrotin Dubai
Perrotin - Dubai

Gate Village Building 5
Podium Level
05 Sheikh Zayed Rd – Trade Center – DIFC
Dubai, UAE
Opening 2022

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Interview with Emmanuel Perrotin ~ Founder

Emmanuel Perrotin

Emmanuel Perrotin © Photo: Claire Dorn

Interview by Pauline Loeb-Obrenan, founder of artfairmag.

With 9 galleries in 7 countries and approximately 160 employees, Emmanuel Perrotin is today at the head of a mega-gallery, one of the most influential in the art world. Despite his resounding success, this French art dealer continues to practice his profession with the same passion that animated him in the beginning. Having just announced the opening of a new space in Dubai, Emmanuel Perrotin talks to artfairmag about his career, his vision of the gallery business and his constant commitment to the artists he represents.

artfairmag: Emmanuel, anyone interested directly or indirectly in art knows your name. How did you come this far?

Emmanuel Perrotin: I’ve been working since the age of 16. I had several small jobs when I was young in various fields, but I was mostly passionate about culture. At 17 years old I started as an assistant in an art gallery. I soon decided I wanted my own gallery which led me to take an apartment at the age of 21 and start to exhibit inside. Every morning I had to fold my bed into a closet to transform the apartment into an art gallery. Without any financial support, I had to overcome obstacles one by one. It was hard but I was lucky and got to partake in the biggest art fairs around the world very early on. The key is hard work. You have to be willing to serve your artists no matter what; to choose their interest in the long run rather than reap the benefits of their success early on. You have to encourage your team the same way, by cultivating trust amongst collaborators; your clients, the institutions, the press and again, your artists. Because everyone plays a key part in the collective success of the gallery.

artfairmag: Today, Perrotin represents almost 60 artists, coming from more than 20 countries. Some are huge stars such as Murakami, Cattelan, JR or Sophie Calle, and some are still more confidential. Their art is so different and varied that they don’t seem linked by anything else than your personal taste. How and why do you choose an artist?

E. P.: Today we represent almost 60 artists and 7 estates and collaborate with about twenty other artists. When I started I was lucky to work with artists who were totally unknown such as Damien Hirst, Maurizio Cattelan and Takashi Murakami. I was selling works by the three for about 500 dollars, before they became super stars. This gave me the credibility to add many other great artists to my roster. I’m open minded; my artists offer a combination of very different profiles, from different generations, different countries, and with different aesthetics. The audience of my gallery can thus witness various worlds without misleading prejudice. The opening of several spaces has allowed me to discover younger artists while remaining loyal to my program I’ve been elaborating for over 25 years.

artfairmag: Many of the artists you represent are loyal to Perrotin. You have been working with some of them, as Takashi Murakami for instance, for nearly 30 years. What kind of relationship do you develop with them?

E. P.: For nearly 30 years, I have always been faithful to my artists, and the reverse is also very true. Some have become close friends, such as Takashi Murakami, or others. I have indications that enable me and my team to know when there can be difficulties for an artist, so we try to make things up. But never forget we don’t own the artists. We work hard to give them a lot of independence.

artfairmag: As an art dealer, what role do you play in their creative work? Do you have a say in what they produce?

E. P.: My passion, my ambition, my dream is to offer more and more services to the artists, not to control what they do! I have been trying to reinvent the job of a gallerist and the way we do it. My job is to enable all our artists to live by their work and make sure no one is left behind. And unfortunately we don’t succeed every time. We take nothing for granted! I do whatever it takes to realize artists’ projects.

“The key is hard work. You have to be willing to serve your artists no matter what; to choose their interest in the long run rather than reap the benefits of their success early on.”

artfairmag: You began by exhibiting emerging artists in your apartment and Perrotin is today what might be called a mega gallery. What are the impacts on the way you do your job? Are you still working directly with the artists or do you delegate to the directors of your different galleries and manage the whole as a business leader?

E. P.: My main goal is still the same now as when I was 21 years-old : to pass on information to the general public, to collectors, but also public institutions, museums. But also to help produce works that couldn’t exist without the support of the gallery. We could say I am just a small gallery that has grown. Of course, in my 32-year career, I have opened 20 different spaces, but my job is still the same. The main difference is that I am no longer alone. Amongst the people who work with me, there may be 10 potential gallerists. We defend the artist’s work, try to explain to the press why they are important, and to clients why they have to buy them.

artfairmag: Participation in numerous art fairs around the world seems to be an integral part of Perrotin. Fairs have come to an abrupt halt with the Covid-19 pandemic. How did you face this unprecedented situation? Will participation in all these art fairs remain in the gallery’s DNA?

E. P.: This pandemic is a tsunami. At Perrotin we have been facing it live on 3 continents as our 160-person team is based in Paris, New York, Hong Kong, Seoul, Tokyo and Shanghai. We are determined to defend our profession which is based on the collective enjoyment of freely accessible exhibitions. This, in fact, is possible through the support of collectors, who render art accessible to a far-ranging public. The market, despite significant turbulence in recent months, is essential to the survival of artists and to the development of artistic creation. Every exhibition represents the work and dedication of artists, assistants, sellers, collection managers, communication officers, transporters, subcontractors and other actors in this fragile ecosystem.
The art fairs are part of this ecosystem and it’s essential for our artists to be present, the artists meet their audience during this time and might convince other public or collectors. Participating in art fairs all around the world is part of the gallery DNA.
I made the decision very early to exhibit in international fairs, despite my then limited means: thus from 1993 to 1996 I participated in NICAF in Yokohama – where I met Takashi Murakami – Gramercy Park in New York, Art Basel in Switzerland , Château Marmont in Los Angeles or Art Chicago. The gallery is now participating in around 20 fairs per year.

artfairmag: Perrotin has developed diversified activities such as bookstores, exhibitions in partnership with other galleries and non-profit initiatives such as the education workshops for children. What drove you to expand your reach?

E. P.: The gallery has expanded its mission in recent years, most notably through the production of thoughtful editorial content, such as podcasts and videos. We publish numerous catalogs, booklets, organize talks, events, kids workshops….That gives us the opportunity to work on developing artist’s careers and to deal with a larger base of new clients. In a way, to be part of art history!
We have bookstores – in Paris, New York, Seoul and Tokyo – where you can buy items starting from 5€. The audience is pretty large, considering that we have an average of 650 visitors per day in the Paris gallery for instance! We don’t do that for the small profit we can expect but to give a louder voice to our artists and the opportunity for them to reach a larger audience. We had the opportunity to set up a pop-up store at the Samaritaine on the occasion of the reopening of the renewed store during 6 months.
Recently we launched our podcast L’Amour de l’Art that invites artists to talk about other artists. It’s a different way for the audience to learn more about our artist.
We like to be where we are not expected. In October 2020 for instance, we organized WANTED! a special event that took place in the empty nave of the Grand Palais while FIAC had to be canceled due to the sanitary situation. This special scavenger art hunt gathered nearly 3000 people over 2 days, and everyone had the opportunity to win an artwork. Art is for everyone!

artfairmag: You are still very young and you have achieved everything a contemporary art dealer can dream of. What next for Emmanuel Perrotin?

E. P.: We have just announced the opening of a new gallery in Dubai in 2022, once development work is completed. With this new permanent address in the Middle East, I am now established in 7 cities with Paris, Hong Kong, New York, Seoul, Tokyo, Shanghai (and now Dubai.) The gallery is located in the DIFC, the heart of Dubai, not far from Christie’s, Sotheby’s and other galleries, and close to many of the city’s best restaurants and landmarks. The new 100-square-meter space will present primary market works by artists represented by the gallery alongside secondary market works, a recently launched and successful business founded by Tom-David Bastok, Dylan Lessel and I, that continues to grow.
This new gallery, which is six hours by plane from two-thirds of the world’s population, will create connections and strengthen Perrotin’s ties with the Arab world, which have been developed over many years to promote its artists in the region; whether through participation in the Dubai and Abu Dhabi art fairs, or with large-scale projects such as Murakami-Ego at ALRIWAQ in Doha or Jean-Michel Othoniel’s Alfa installation at the National Museum of Qatar.

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