François Tajan, the deputy chairman of the Paris-based auction house Artcurial, has died aged 57 after suffering from food poisoning. A spokeswoman for Artcurial says: “It is with great sadness that we confirm the death of François Tajan. As auctioneer and deputy chairman of Artcurial, he took the first French auction house to a new level, as much through his vision for the business as through his intellectual curiosity.”
After graduating in law and undertaking further studies in history of art, Tajan joined the family auction house, which was founded by his father, in the early 1990s overseeing its Art Deco sales. In 2005, he quit as chairman of Tajan in a surprise move, joining rival auction house Artcurial (then known as ArtCurial-Briest-Le Fur-Poulain-Tajan).
Tajan told the artmarket guru website last year: “I worked at the family auction house Tajan for 13 years. [Because of] its sale to the LVMH group…. I decided to join Artcurial and took an active part in its development. For me, the adventure seemed too promising and ambitious to pass up on.” He established the jewellery department at Artcurial, organising sales every January and July at the Hermitage Hotel in Monaco.
Tajan led some of Artcurial’s most successful auctions, including the 2016 sale of some stairs from the Eiffel Tower in Paris (1889) which fetched €523,800 (estimate €40,000). According to a statement from the auction house, he also boosted the company’s international profile by opening offices in Belgium, Italy, Austria and Morocco. Asked by artmarket guru to give advice to someone attending an Artcurial auction for the first time, he said: “To enjoy themselves and to make purchases with their heart and the eyes, and not with their ears.”