Thomas Bompard Leaves Paris Gradiva Gallery, Funded by Yves Bouvier, For Sotheby’s
Is this the latest collateral from the Yves Bouvier scandal?
Thomas Bompard, a specialist in Impressionist and Modern Art, has left Galerie Gradiva in Paris, which he opened in 2014 with funding from former Freeport king, Yves Bouvier, to join the auction house Sotheby’s London.
Galerie Gradiva is located in a spectacular building on the banks of the river Seine opposite the Louvre in Paris’s seventh arrondissement. Could the gallery be the latest collateral of the Yves Bouvier scandal?
Bompard, 37, was formerly the director of Impressionist and Modern Art department at Sotheby’s France. Le Figaro reports that Bompard left Sotheby’s to everyone’s surprise after a very successful auction: The sale of Roger Dutilleul’s portrait by Amedeo Modigliani in December 2013 for nearly €6.5 million, a record for a painting in France at the time.
According to Le Figaro, Bompard had sought out the Swiss businessman Bouvier to help him finance his vision of transforming the dusty antiquarian dealership of Alain Demachy into a grand gallery for Impressionist and Modern art.
Galerie Gradiva was fully financed by Bouvier, who has invested in several other galleries in Europe and Asia, according to his spokesperson Marc Comina. “Yves Bouvier invested in galleries with great potential, such as Galerie Gradiva. But he doesn’t have an executive role in any of these galleries,” Comina told le Figaro.
And indeed, the gallery’s potential to shake up Paris’s art scene was undeniable. Bompard celebrated a major coup at the end of its first year with an exhibition of works by Ed Ruscha, who had just set a new record at Christie’s New York, showing a dozen of works lent by gallerists such as Larry Gagosian, Dominique Lévy, and Almine Rech.
But following the scandal surrounding the lawsuit against Bouvier, Bompard became concerned for the gallery’s reputation. On September 1, he returned to Sotheby’s in London as a senior specialist in the Impressionist and Modern art department.
“After the odyssey with Galerie Gradiva, it is a pleasure to return to my professional ‘homeland,’, Sotheby’s, where I have worked for 13 years,” Bompard told le Figaro. “Living and working in London opens exciting prospects like few other strongholds of the art market in the world,” he added.
Yves Bouvier’s reaction was diplomatic: “I fully understand that Thomas Bompard seized a professional opportunity by returning to a more prestigious position at Sotheby’s. As for the art market, London is more important than Paris,” he said via his spokesperson.
Galerie Gradiva will remain open, with Jocelyne le Brenn-Mercier at the helm.
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