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
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.
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?
What’s your in-flight entertainment pick?
Any TED talk.