Business Traveller (Middle East)

AIR MILES WITH Adrien Meyer

Adrien Meyer is the Head of Private Sales at Christie’s, which offers a service for buying and selling art outside of the auction calendar

- WORDS HANNAH BRANDLER

What attracted you to the profession? The art world is animated by passion and unpredicta­bility. No two days are the same and you learn something new every day.

Which piece of art has left a lasting impression?

Peter Paul Rubens’ The Massacre of the Innocents (1612).

Do you collect art yourself?

I buy sporadical­ly. One of my most treasured pieces is a small sculpture by Jules de Balincourt when he was exhibiting amongst other students from Hunter College (New York) 20 years ago. I fought for the work in a silent bidding auction up to US$145.

Favourite artist

Pablo Picasso.

How do you source rare works of art?

A mix of discipline and luck.

Is it challengin­g to move fragile works of art across the world?

We are used to it and we have amazing teams who make it happen seamlessly, but I do get nervous if we have to move things in a rush. That’s when you really do need a profession­al team around you.

Has Brexit affected shipments of art?

It has made things more complicate­d. But we are lucky as most of our business in London is done with internatio­nal clients. It can slow things down but, again, it’s all about having a great team to support and we are lucky to have great logistics people at Christie’s.

Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the auction world?

Hugely – we had to adapt and move much of our business online. It propelled us into a virtual environmen­t with transactio­ns over jpegs and digital views and that’s why everyone is craving for a return to a more normal pattern. But it also changed our behaviours and many of these innovation­s have given us even greater reach.

What’s the most expensive piece that you have sold?

The 1932 Picasso of Femme assise près d’une fenêtre (Marie-Thérèse) sold last May for US$103 million.

What has been your most rewarding travel experience?

Meeting an unknown client at a toll station on a Christmas Eve, which led to the discovery of a wonderful trove of unlocated works by Claude Monet.

And most challengin­g?

Never challengin­g enough!

How are you adjusting to the “new normal”?

We are so used to hopping from Zoom to Teams meetings like it’s always been this way, but I really am missing the thrill of travelling and meeting people face to face.

What are your dream destinatio­ns?

I still haven’t been to Istanbul or Tokyo, and I’m longing to visit.

What’s your indispensa­ble travel gadget?

Google Translate.

What’s your in-flight entertainm­ent pick?

Any TED talk.

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 ?? ?? BELOW: Meyer’s favourite artist is Picasso
BELOW: Meyer’s favourite artist is Picasso

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