Artcurial has appointed Christophe Person as head of their contemporary African art department, a category within the house’s modern and contemporary art departments, established only a decade ago. In the new position, Person will be based at the house’s Paris headquarters.
In his previous post, Person served as head of the contemporary African art department, which he founded, at French auction house PIASA since January 2016, making inroads into the market in Europe for emerging African artists. Prior to his tenure in the auction industry, Person came from a background in finance, serving in positions at French asset management firm Amundi and the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation where he worked in fundraising. He also holds a Master’s degree in Art Law and Business from Christie’s Education in London.
The move follows the department’s regional expansion in 2019, when Artcurial established a second location in Marrakech; the auction house currently holds two annual sales in Morocco. The director of the company’s Morocco branch, Olivier Berman, said in a statement, the department will look to Person to “develop this young and dynamic market in Paris and Marrakesh, with the aim of promoting talent in Africa.”
In the past decade, Artcurial has been growing its presence in the regional hub as the market around contemporary African artists expands internationally. The Paris house held its first Contemporary African Art sale in 2010, and in 2017 they staged “Paris#Marrakech, African Spirit,” the debut auction at its second sale site of Marrakech. Since 2018, according to a statement, Artcurial has moved up 12 records for artists frequent in the category such as Bodys Isek Kingelez, Malick Sidibé, Omar Victor Diop, Abdoulaye Konaté and Seydou Keïta.
“The development of new markets is part of our DNA and has largely contributed to Artcurial’s success,” said Martin Guesnet, Artcurial’s director of Europe. “I am confident that this young speciality will benefit from access to a growing number of collectors,” added Person.
Outside of his role as a specialist, Person currently serves as president and founder of BISO, the first International Biennial of Sculpture of Ouagadougou and as an Advisory Board member of the Connecticut-based Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, where he is advising on a museum initiative in Senegal.