Former French prime minister draws on social network for new Hong Kong gallery based on ‘friendships’

Arthur and Dominique de Villepin

Undeterred by ongoing protests and fears over coronavirus spreading from mainland China, former French prime minister Dominique de Villepin and his son Arthur are moving ahead with plans to launch their ambitious new gallery in Hong Kong this March. The pair say they will employ a new business model based on their “friendships” and close relationships with artists.

The launch show in the new three-storey Modern and contemporary art space, located on Hollywood Road, will be dedicated to the late Chinese-French painter Zao Wou-Ki. The exhibition, entitled Friendship and Reconciliation, will include oils, watercolours and ink works priced between €60,000 and €10m.

“Our relationship with Zao Wou-Ki was based on friendship. We have put real soul behind the idea [of basing the gallery on strong friendships]," says Arthur de Villepin. "Perhaps the truth is we will do this a little more naively and in a less business-like way. Our approach will not just be commercial. The exhibitions will run for six months with three months devoted to creating salons [in the style of the early 20th century European salons]”.

The pair say they will draw on their contacts in the region. “I had the chance to travel and became friends with many artists. We have created strong roots in Asia since 2007, and have a strong network here,” says the former diplomat Dominique de Villepin, who was prime minister from 2005 to 2007 during the tenure of president Jacques Chirac.

Arthur de Villepin points out that Chinese collectors have always been interested in buying regional Chinese art, though there has been a shift towards international art. “We have always closely followed the market, with a growing interest in China," Dominique de Villepin says.

De Villepin says this will "be a gallery built by collectors for collectors,” and his son also stresses that they are “collectors first”— their holdings includes works by artists such as Anselm Kiefer, Miquel Barceló, Yan Pei Ming and notably Zao Wou-Ki—and hope to create a gallery that reflects this ethos. He remains bullish consideRead More – Source