Where to Buy Art in Paris

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Photo: Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac

Owing to its world-class museums and artistic heritage, Paris is one of the world’s top destinations for art lovers. It is also a prime destination for art buying, an endeavor which might seem daunting, particularly with the perceived language barrier. Fortunately, there are options for all budgets and English skills are now more widespread, which makes it much easier to buy art in Paris than one would assume. To facilitate your task even more, we’ve brought together this helpful collection of best auction houses and art galleries in Paris to suit various art buying parameters.

Photo: Hotel Drouot

Parisian Auction Houses

Some of the best art, furniture and design objects are sold in Parisian auctions. Buying from an auction house also ensures the authenticity of the works you are purchasing. Your best option might be l’Hôtel Drouot, France’s leading auction house. Opened in 1852, it’s the largest art marketplace in Paris and hosts 70 auction houses and 15 sales rooms under one roof. Their active calendar of sales includes both private collections and very precise themes, such as Medieval manuscripts, Modernist paintings and mid-century furniture. 

Although it is newer on the French auction scene, since opening in 2002 ArtCurial has established itself as one of France’s top auction houses. It distinguishes itself for its more modern approach, with both sales of historic art and contemporary topics like street art. International auction houses Christie’s and Sotheby’s also have substantial presence in Paris and hold a regular calendar of high-level sales.

galerie-gilgamesh-paris

Photo: Galerie Gilgamesh

Antiquities/Medieval Art

Paris has hundreds of art galleries, these are luckily generally grouped together by era and style. The Saint Germain district, overlapping between the 6th and 7th arrondissements, has a high concentration of antique dealers, a number of who specialize in art and art objects from pre-Early Modern periods. You can browse these along Rue de Lille, Rue des Saints Pères, Rue de l’Université, Rue de Verneuil and Quai de Voltaire. Most of these galleries and shops are members of the association Carré Rive Gauche, and so you can peruse its website in advance to have a better idea of which venues to visit. The Galerie Gilgamesh and Galerie Gabrielle Laroche are good options for Medieval Art and Antiquities.

Poncelin de Raucourt Fine Arts Gallery

Photo: Poncelin de Raucourt Fine Arts Gallery

Early Modern (1500-1800) 

Some of the above galleries may also carry art from this era, like the Galerie Gabrielle Laroche which often has Renaissance art and furniture. Also in the 7th district, the Galerie Gilles Linossier specializes in art from the 1700s. Over in the 8th district, the Poncelin de Raucourt Fine Arts Gallery specializes in Old Master paintings and drawings and has carried works by da Vinci, Raphael, Rubens, among others.

Tornabuoni-Art-Paris

Photo: Tornabuoni Art Paris

Impressionist & Modern (1800-1970)

The elegant and stylish 8th district of Paris has the highest concentration of galeries focused on late 20th and early 20th century art. The Galerie Ary Jan has a particular focus on Orientalism and the Belle Epoque. At the Galerie Hopkins you might find paintings by Berthe Morisot and Pierre Bonard or sculptures by Picasso and Brancusi. For mostly early 20th century art, visit the Parisian branch of the Italian art collectors, Tornabuoni Art. Across town in the 14th district is the Galerie Drylewicz which carries work from the turn of the century, especially Symbolist and Post-Impressionist art (by appointment only).

 Carré-d-artistes-Paros

Photo: Carré d’artistes®

Contemporary (1980s-today)

If you’re interested in getting involved in collecting contemporary art, you should come to Paris in late October in order to attend Fiac, one of the world’s premier contemporary art fairs. Outside of this time frame, you can find the best contemporary art in the galleries of the Upper Marais, in the 3rd arrondissement. These include Galerie Daniel Templon, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac and Galerie Yvon Lambert.

There is also an increasing number of modern “gallery shops” whose aim is to make art more accessible to the general public. One of the largest of these is the website Artsper which features curated artwork from contemporary galleries around the world with works ranging 100€ to 100,000€. Created in 2001, Carré d’artistes® was one of the first of these. They now have over 30 galleries around the world, five in Paris as well as an online gallery. Located in a former pharmacy in the hip 11th district, SLOW Galerie specializes in prints and illustrations by French and International artists. If you’re looking for “the next big name”, you might want to stop in at la Galleria Continua, a new “art supermarket” recently opened in the Marais in collaboration with international art star JR.

You may also like to have a look at Dr Susan Taylor-Leduc’s  new column in the Drouot Gazette. You can view her recent article Empress Eugenie, a Patron and Collector here.

Prepare for your art purchasing in Paris by taking one of our art tours led by Dr Taylor-Leduc, an art historian and licensed tour guide. Discover our various tours here or contact us for a custom experience. 

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