Meet Eric Turquin, the Art Historian-Detective Who Keeps Finding Multimillion-Dollar Old Masters Hiding in Plain Sight

by AryanArtnews
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For older master professionals, you’ll come across a lost event or a previously misattributed masterpiece-a kind of one-time career-that is, a “sleeper”. But every time you hear about the sale of major French sleepers, a particular name comes up over and over again. This name is Eric Turquin, a 70-year-old expert who has become Titanium in the field.

Three years ago, Turquin wasn’t outside the very well-known little world of classical painting. But it changes to 2019, when he discovers his work unknown to the Holy Grail, Caravaggio. Since then, the hits don’t seem to stop. That same year Apparently an expert from his small but powerful office in Paris A rare painting of Cimabue Someone’s stove, hanging on, sold for $ 26.8 million. In June 2021, it was Fragonard was collecting dust on the walls of the apartment before it sold for $ 9.1 million.

Last month, a small auction house in Toulouse Long Missing Burnhard Strygel $ 4 Million Made After one of Turquin’s team recognized the subject as a pendant on another religious panel in Louvre Abu Dhabi. When I was called Turquin in a story about Strigel, he also discovered a famous still life in Chardin, which is scheduled to be sold at Artcurial on March 23rd.

“We don’t have magical dust, but we have a way of working that helps us make these discoveries,” Turquin told me on the phone. secret? Teamwork.

Le Pannier de fraises de BoisShown on January 20th at Turquin, the Cabinet of Paris, 2022 Photo by Stephen de Sakutin / AFP. “width =” 1024 “height =” 674 “srcset =” 1024w, /app/news-upload/2022/03/GettyImages-1237850979-300×197.jpg 300w,×33.jpg 50w “sizes = “(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px” />

Jean Simeon Chardin Le Pannier de fraises De Bois, Photos by Stephen de Sakutin / AFP will be displayed via Getty Images on January 20, 2022 in the Paris Cabinet Turquin.

Turquin’s selection team includes Motais Denalbonne, Philippines, trained in the auction world, academics, Stephen Pinta, seasoning restoration specialists, as well as two researchers, three archivists, and five internships. Fleet is included. Together, they charge a lot of 5% commission on sale and perform 15,000 appraisals all year round. In 2021, the business will be built somewhere between 30 and 20 million € and €.

“Of course, we have an intuition and this is very, very important. In mathematics, people instinctively call it,” Turquin said. “It’s essential, but you need to confirm that intuition because it can drive you towards mistakes.”

This business works with approximately 350 small to medium sized auction houses that do not have in-house expertise. Pauline Maringe, who owns the house of Toulouse, selling Art Paugée and Strigel since she founded her company in 2018, has been working on Turquin “Cabinet Turquin is France, the oldest known best today. One of the companies specializing in painting, “she said, ARTNET News added that the archive to the French market is” unrivaled “.

The company is even more attractive because it is a painting, simply attributed and not dealt with. This is a game changer for local auction houses and should be enabled to competitors like Christie’s and Hotel Droo to previously certify their jobs and which raids to clinch sales. Maybe it was like her. “Today, pictures of this quality can be sold just as well at local auction houses like us, thanks to good communication and the potential for online sales,” Maringe said.

Photo by Martin Bureau / AFP, French art expert Eric Turquin, 2020, via Getty Images.

Photo by Martin Bureau / AFP, French art expert Eric Turquin, 2020, via Getty Images.

Passport to success

Turquin, whose parents were farmers, was first introduced to the collection by stamps, then silver, his great grandmother who turned him over porcelain. As a teenager, he quickly moved to sales at Sotheby’s and Christie’s, spending the summer in London traversing the Chelsea antique market for treasure. After studying at the prestigious Ecole du Louvre in Paris, he was trained as an auction in Druo.

A contemporary expert, initially immersed in the vibrant Parisian art scene of the 1970s, Turquin decided to switch categories, feeling that it would give him a strong position in the market. “It hit me that the field’s expertise did not have the value and importance that it was a more difficult area, such as old master drawings, paintings, manuscripts, and sculptures.” He said. “You don’t need an expert in contemporary art. You need an art adviser, you need an eye, but you don’t need an expert. At Old Masters, you need an expert in need. Do, believe me. I need an expert. “

Turquin was picked up in Sotheby’s London in 1979 when the pivot was paid off and the house was looking for a French painting expert.There he studied Creme de la creme Experts such as Philip Pouncey, former director of Italian drawings at the British Museum, Neil McLaren, former deputy keeper at the National Gallery, and Derek Jones, who is still active today as a respected dealer. Turquin manages his method to work from an entry-level position as an inventory to become the head of the classical painting department in 1985.

When he finally left Sotheby’s, he sold his flats in London and placed proceeds-£ 150,000 in a treasure trove of art books from Thomas Heneage against time. He then set in 1987, “Photographs, especially in the continent, about the talent of recruitment to enter the business for himself in Paris, mainly in France, they lose their attribution. Losing history, they lose their passports, basically, “Turquin said. “And that’s our job to give them a new passport.”

Visitors will take a picture of Caravaggio's painting

Visitors take pictures of paintings Judith Beheading Holofernes (1607) Caravaggio at the Druo Auction House on June 14, 2019 in Paris. Chesnot / Getty Images Photos.

Wheel of fortune

The discovery of Caravaggio, who created the international name his company, has come to perhaps the most challenging junction of Turquin’s decades of long career. Attribution was the result of what Turquin described the field, including many longtime friends, as a five-year battle to persuade. “This was a very very tiring, exhausting, and very energy consuming process, but with the final victory,” he said.

Salvator Mundi, due to Leonardo da Vinci, can divide the most veteran experts, even in such an opinion, if the continuous heroic biography of over $ 4.5 million teaches us. That’s what you can (and those who don’t qualify often tend to weigh in if you have the exciting price tag that comes with it).

“There is some purpose in the painting. There are paints themselves, pigments, oils, panels, or canvases, signatures, but what makes the painting 100% subjective,” Turquin said.

Caravaggio’s victory transformed Turquin’s company from a small, local French business to an international name. “In my opinion, Eric Turquin treats not only for the quality and scope of the work of art, for the work committed by him and his team among the outstanding figures involved in the art market,” Keith. Christiansen said, the chair in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the art department of European painting.

For his part, Turquin is still distrustful: “If I had been told for three years that people would spend millions on images based on my explanation without seeing them. , I wouldn’t believe it, “he said. “But now they do it.”

Employee view of JMW Turner A Sotheby's Auction House

A View of Sotheby’s Auction House employees From Mount Aventin, Rome JMW Turner on November 28, 2014 in London, England. Rob Stothard / Getty Images Photos.

Market resuscitation

Success stories like Turquin make a lot of the necessary boost outs of the field as the age of sexy old guards with an out-of-date master market look. Adding to decades of sleepy activities and complaints about the lack of supply means that young people are being prevented from entering the conflict.

Turquin admitted that the master market was “half dead” ten years ago, but it has recovered in the last five years. This was actually accelerated by lockdowns and improved online access to sales that broke the barriers to entry for collectors. Today, Turquin sees new buyers dipping their toes in the market: “They are very young, and with a completely different approach to painting-and money,” he said. “I’m very optimistic for the market.”

These new buyers often come from the contemporary art market, where the approach to collection is not as different as one might imagine. Lovers of both contemporary art and masters are bargain hunters who want to make discoveries. When you buy a contemporary artist, you are betting on him, “There is a concept of involvement. You are a bank on him. You are betting on him,” Turquin said. “You are the same as a master. People challenge the attribution, or because they disagree with the fact that this school of painting was forgotten and needed to be more truly valuable. I always buy masters. “

When the market suddenly flooded, including the 20th century, the Nazis in Germany, and the Soviet Union in Russia responded to questions about the lack of supply to the market when they began selling property from the museum, Turquin in history Some periods are listed off in.

“Who believed in 1914 that Catherine II paintings would come to the market? They came to the market, but not only did they come with hundreds,” Turquin said. .. “Who would have many pictures, because they were looted during World War II, sold by their legitimate owners and returning to the market, but you would have thought 15 years ago. ? “

With these potential inventories and the addition of Turquin and a strong demand for expertise, he sees a lot of scope for his young intern.Meanwhile, he is BEefing his own business to make sure it survives his retirement. But he is still reluctant to give up his job. It’s a curse for all those who are passionate about their work. Turquin puts it briefly: “I can’t do anything else in my life.”

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