The Financial Times spends a little time with Stéphane Custot:
He is co-organiser of the Pavilion of Art & Design London fair (formerly DesignArt London), which will run from October 14-18.
Why did you move to London?
To have more contact with artists and collectors. Dealers in London come from all sorts of backgrounds. As an impressionist and modern art dealer, I wanted to extend my knowledge of the contemporary art scene. People are buying art in a different way now. They visit fairs rather than galleries, or ask dealers to visit them, so it is less important to have a big gallery these days. I thought there was an opportunity to show modern and contemporary art and design at a unique fair. I worked with Patrick Perrin to launch it in 2007. […]
You were born in Paris. Is this where you grew up?
Yes. I lived with my parents and younger sister in a big apartment next to a park in Neuilly. Both my parents had great taste and it was beautifully decorated with a mix of post-impressionist paintings, bourgeois furniture and Cambodian and Chinese pieces. My grandfather worked in east Asia and my mother was born in Singapore, so we had some lovely things from that part of the world. There was a massive Empire-style buffet in the 18th-century living room where my father’s Chinese snuffbox collection was displayed. My parents understood how to mix classical furniture with post-impressionist art to create a smart yet cosy ambience and it helped to develop my artistic “eye” early on.
Did you continue living in Paris?
I was studying law in Paris when I fell in love with the art world. I realised I wanted to turn my passion into a career so I came to London for a year’s course at Sotheby’s and then did a six-month internship at Christie’s in New York. I wanted to be an independent dealer rather than work in a large firm, so I spent the following 20 years working with my cousin, Waring Hopkins, who runs the Hopkins-Custot gallery in Paris. I resigned my directorship when I moved to London in 2005.
I Fall in Love at First Sight with Design Pieces (Financial Times)