Madam President, [Ms Bernadette Chirac]Mr President of the Chamber of Auctioneers, cherLudovic Morand,Madam President of the Voluntary Sales Board, dear FrancineMariani-Ducray,Dear Master [Le Fur],Dear Jacques Garcia,Dear graduates,

Balzac’s descriptions have been described as “inventories of
auctioneer”: what an honour for your profession to be so
close to the one who knew how to bring out a world, that of the Comedy
human, a bit like these sunken continents and these lives
buried that you exhume through an object. The National Chamber of
judicial auctioneers and the Council of Voluntary Sales of
public auction furniture - jointly responsible for organizing the
training of future auctioneers - have become accustomed to organize
every year, in a place of culture, a real ceremony of presentation
of these degrees, under the chairmanship of
choose the graduates who make up the promotion.
After the National Assembly and its questure fairs in 2008, after
the Cartier Foundation in 2009, it is my duty to welcome you to the Palais-
Royal today, on the initiative of Francine Mariani-Ducray, who knows
well this house and who asked me to grant hospitality to the
2010 graduation ceremony. I responded positively to the
stagger the schedule for restoration work
after our small ceremony, for at least two
- not only because, alongside the Guard of Seals and the
Minister of Economy, Minister of Culture and Communication
is obviously one of the government actors supporting the activity
auctions, so important for the art market;
- but also because you are going to undertake, dear graduates, a
which, for many of you, will be a career of actors of the
culture, heritage and artistic creation. And I am delighted to greet
through you the young generation of professionals in this field.
Allow me first to congratulate you on the choice of your sponsors and
and turn in the first place to them, who make us
the honour of their presence to present, in a few moments, your
Madam [Bernadette Chirac], it is very natural that young people
auctioneers turned to you, you who, year after
organize at the Drouot Hotel, to support the actions of the foundation
Hospitals of Paris - Hospitals of France, of which you are the President
for sixteen years, auctions in the presence of many
personalities of arts and culture who hold the hammer.
By choosing you as a godmother, it is also the whole of your action
particularly marked by your social commitment and
that the promotion has wished as an emblem. Allow me to
cite not only the attention you paid to achievements
President Chirac, whether it is the Musée du Quai
Branly, the renovation of the Guimet Museum or the Sarran Museum. These are
also your social achievements that have been highlighted, through the
Fondation Hôpitaux de Paris - Hôpitaux de France, which you have
and for the past three years, the Claude-
Pompidou, which aims to help the elderly, the
and children with disabilities. The Trophy of the
Woman of Heart awarded to you in 2010 translates this radiance.
Dear Jacques Garcia, your own journey is edifying: you are
today known, admired, envied for your countless
great decoration. Your motto is Combine great genre and simple way,
Castle Life and Easy Life, and It’s Palpitating.” Your talent is such that
you give the impression that it is enough with a magic wand and
some drawings to decorate, restore, transform hotels and houses,
on all continents, in the richness and elegance of a «great style»
of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries transformed.
Your eye is very quickly exercised, your taste quickly assured: it is said that
you bought at 14 a pair of candlesticks from Thomas Germain, at
18 years old, paintings by Klein and Fontana, and you have chosen your home,
student room of Jean-Michel Frank, one of the
precursors of minimalism.
I would like to salute your most personal work, without doubt, the
resurrection of Battlefield Castle in Normandy. You the
contemplate, child; you have succeeded in acquiring and restoring it and
decorate completely. You have welcomed the commissars sprispriateurs there
Your original mastery of spaces, your erudite knowledge of
the history of art, your love of objects and textures, which have you
As a result of the creation of a large personal collection,
fail to attract the attention of the young auctioneers who
have chosen as sponsor.
For this evening, the talent of two young designers, the duo
Antoine [Audiau] and Manuel [Warosz], will also be
through the invitation and the realization of an ephemeral work. I wanted you
thank you and pay tribute to you. Between pop mythologies and subtle
typographical research, you develop collaborations with
prestigious names in the field of fashion and visual arts [Hédi
Slimane, Christian Lacroix, Yvon Lambert], with venues dedicated to the
choreographic creation, up to the poster of the exhibition Casanova for ever
proposed by FRAC Languedoc Roussillon in 2010, which won a
great success. It is a great joy and honour to count you
all of us tonight.
Dear graduates, I know that a number of you will
other sales rooms. However, you will understand that the
Culture and Communication seizes the opportunity that brings us together tonight
to evoke, on a few points, the situation of the art market.
Dear young graduates, you are beginning a difficult and demanding journey because
you’re going to have to gather economic talents - you’re going to sustain and
develop businesses, you will strengthen the skills of
women and men - but also talents
of erudition, aesthetic discernment and the construction of taste.
You will collect entire collections that will be entrusted to your expertise
and your know-how as adjudicators those who constituted them or their
You will pamper the major works that we trace since
a few decades or centuries.
You will also search, discover, uncover, access the
best economic value of unknown or seemingly obsolete assets.
Your job goes well beyond the economic function and
commercial: it is often a question of revealing the beauty of unknown objects or
forgotten, to transmit the part of dream, imagination, epic sometimes
attached to it.
But you are not alone in this mission so decisive for the
individuals, families, collectors, but also for institutions
public heritage. Merchants, antique dealers and gallery owners have a
determining role by their patient stockpiling, by the relationship
the privileged bilateral relationship they have with their clients, through promotion
of artists discovered young, sometimes supported until
celebrity. You will work in relationship with them throughout your life
professional. I am very happy to greet them tonight, I thank them
associated with this graduation ceremony. It is not
only a promotion party, it is also a meeting in
tribute to all the actors of the art market.
A few days ago we had a Biennale des Antiquaires, which
attracted more than 50,000 visitors. The
a few weeks, the International Fair of Contemporary Art will open
(FIAC). These major international events are
economic and artistic activity, they serve all the professions of art.
It seems to me that, beyond the differences in the legal system in
commercial activity – I’m not talking about legal sales here – kinship
and the solidarity of the actors of the art market in our territory is
primordial. France is today in a special situation on
which we must all ask ourselves. It is a country particularly
rich in movable heritage, and a particularly liberal country, counts
the export of cultural goods. I would like to remind the
that my predecessors and I, since the 1992 legislation, still
liberalised in 2000, we say on average less than 15
refusal of an export certificate each year.
Because of this community of interest, I would like to pause for a moment.
on considerations that are common to you.
In a highly competitive European and global market, while
our country was shaped by the historic model of the
auctioneers”, certain realities weaken us: the great
number of stakeholders, their modest size, absence, until recently
of years, concerns of financing companies in the
French art. We probably have to go beyond that. We have to do that.
preserving the highest level of artistic and scientific competence
private actors in the art market.
At the time of the globalization of the art market, when we have
exceptional assets and that we observe a good resistance in
some sectors - art deco, art of Africa and Oceania, books and manuscripts,
among other things - the trend of the decline of the Paris square is confirmed. Our
collective responsibility is to ensure that France is not
simply an otherwise exhaustible attic of cultural goods, including
most prestigious parts are exported to be marketed at
best price outside France. You, young auctioneers, go
develop your business in an open economy. This will be for you,
as for merchants and public authorities, to ensure that
our country finds in certain markets the capital square that was its own.
You need to be able to compete on a level playing field with your
European and global competitors, without being limited in your
development by legislation, which remains too restrictive or by
competitive disadvantages in the world market.
In close collaboration with the Minister of
Economy, I therefore support the further consideration of the proposal of
Modernization of Public Auctions Act, which is to start
the National Assembly before the end of the year. I appreciate the fears
I am attentive to it. Nevertheless, I am convinced that
the mandatory - and now urgent - transposition of the
Services” will foster new development opportunities. It will
will also allow the maintenance or relocation in France of operations that
escape our territory.
Other initiatives are at Community level, such as
harmonization of the regime applicable to resale duty, which is levied in
our country on the occasion of the sale of any work made by an artist
living or deceased for less than 70 years. It is clear that an application to
Two speeds within the countries of the Union is not an element of healthy
competition between your companies and those working in our neighbours.
We are nearing the end of the first application period
of the European Commission’s “resale right” directive.
to our knowledge has still not launched the balance sheet study foreseen by this
text. The Government’s representations to the Commission will
The Commission will therefore step up its efforts to draw up a report on the implementation of the directive.
On the one hand, it is a question of guaranteeing the protection of artists' rights, but also
the competitiveness of European marketplaces in art. I
have written to Michel Barnier, who is the
European Commissioner responsible for this subject.
Dear young graduates, at a time when there are signs of a recovery in
market for French art, we must probably go even further, in
other initiatives, other projects. On the eve of FIAC, the
October 18, I will organize here, at the Ministry of Culture and
Communication, a round table, so that professionals confront
their experiences and make new proposals for the future, in
the framework of the art market observatory.
However, it should be borne in mind that the developments likely to make
the emergence of stronger, more competitive and larger French players
are primarily dependent on the professionals themselves,
and therefore of you.
I mean in this respect the attention I pay to the situation of the Hotel
Drouot, this emblematic place of auctions in France. Because beyond the
ongoing court cases, the critical issue – and this issue is
not new - concerns the strategy of an institution which, if it remains the
first place of auction in France, has constantly seen its weight decrease
on the French art market. Unique and attractive place of sale,
the Drouot Hotel must undoubtedly evolve its structure to become a
operator able to compete with the main international
art market, which is the bearer of an ambitious and yet respectful
history and specificities of the institution. Its future is in the hands of
its officers and shareholders.
The managers of the Drouot hotel have taken in recent weeks
important measures to reorganize their logistics, which should be
It was the indispensable prerequisite for any other reform project.
Mindful of the developments that will emerge, I will take care to encourage all
initiatives that will strengthen the institution.
In the continuity of the action led by several of my predecessors,
I consider that if the Minister of Culture does not have direct jurisdiction
or exclusive to the art market, it must foster convergence
interests between public cultural institutions and companies
market. Museums and art centres enrich their
collections through purchases on the market, and sometimes preemption for sale
a rich and well-stocked market, relationships of esteem and
trust between market players and stakeholders in
heritage: these are the conditions for shared development. I do not
will continue along this path. With respect to
system of pre-emption, indispensable to public collections, known
and respected by the auctioneers, I asked that it continue to be
exercised with prior discretion and discernment.
I would like to reiterate the role of heritage cultural institutions and
artistic creation in the development of the art market. I know
how their programming is a support to the activity. The obvious example
is that of the Quai Branly Museum, which has contributed significantly to the
France is the place of major sales in the field of primary arts.
The Department of Islamic Arts at the Louvre, and the Guimet Museum,
play an equivalent role in these areas. Exhibitions
are also a factor of awareness and visibility: thus
was 2010 a Lalanne year, thanks to the proposed exhibition
at the Museum of Decorative Arts.
Finally, I would like to mention training issues. In the
a continuation of the dialogue you have initiated at the School of
Louvre, I suggest to the Sales Council and the National Chamber of
auctioneers to discuss with the National Heritage Institute
(INP) the possibility of inserting promotions in the training
an opportunity to meet and dialogue between the
Auctioneers and future Heritage Curators. He
It is important that you master the rules of
protection of heritage, movement of cultural property, fight against
illicit trafficking, archaeological looting and laundering.
The profession you have chosen and are about to practice
is one of the most prestigious and demanding in the world of
business. For many of you, you will drive a double
career of auctioneer, judicial on the one hand, and sales
volunteers on the other hand. Both auxiliary to the justice, and held to this
with very strict rules, you will espouse a code of ethics
that must be conceived by you as an absolute necessity and a
commercial asset. You will adapt to forms of circulation of
emerging goods and trade. Be innovators,
listen to the world, know how to export your know-how, that you
be independent contractors or that you joined large
Whatever your future specialties, know that you will find here
Rue de Valois but also in all directions of the
Culture and Communication, in all cultural institutions that
a warm welcome, a constant attention to promote
your development and value your successes.
I hope you will show the same diplomatic skills
that one of your distant predecessors in The Skin of Sorrow
de Balzac: "Three months later, an auctioneer handed me eleven hundred
Twelve francs, net and liquid proceeds of the paternal succession. The
creditors had forced me to sell our furniture. Accustomed to it since my
to give great value to the luxury objects of which I was
surrounded, I could not help but mark a kind of astonishment to
the appearance of this cramped remainder. - Oh! said the auctioneer, all this
was very rococo. "
Good luck to you.