I meet many interesting and amusing people while hunting for brocante and antiques. Standing in the middle of damp fields before dawn tends to draw folk together! Stories are exchanged, jokes are made, loot compared … you get the picture. Of course most of the professional brocante and antique dealers here are men, so I particularly appreciate the girls I see in the business.
One of my favourites is my friend Erell. She has made a place for herself in the very specialised area of fine art, and when I asked her to share some trade secrets on the blog, she kindly invited me to join her at the big Paris auction house Drouot, where she had her eye on a couple of paintings.
Erell has a passion for art, she has chosen not to have a physical store, she prefers the liberty of selling at antique shows in Normandy and Paris. She also sells on line, and of course she now has her regular clients who often ask her to look out for a particular artist or style of painting.
I caught up with her inside the auction rooms, where she was examining a late 19th century painting that I immediately loved. Her expert eye however had spotted a tear that had been repaired, and she was also unconvinced by the signature … we moved on.
Drouot, the auctioneers, is open to the general public. Most mornings you can go in and take a look at the goods that will up for bids that afternoon. It’s not only paintings, there is furniture, jewellery, textiles and rugs too. There were a couple of rugs here that I would happily have taken home with me!
Finally Erell found a painting she liked enough to bid on. This charming village scene from Brittany in the west of France. It was in excellent condition ( she unhooked it from the wall to check), but she knew nothing about the artist so our next stop was the national art library to discover what it may be worth.
Here is the inside of the library, where it is of course totally forbidden to take pictures but you know the risks I am prepared to run for your entertainment! The library is only open to art students and to professional art dealers, the huge beautiful room was packed with silent workers, bent over art reference books, and computer screens.
Her research done, Erell and I had a quick lunch before she went back for the start of the auction. She told me later on that the painting had proved too popular and bidding had risen too high for her … no matter, there will be others!
This lovely watercolour of a house in Normandy is just one of the paintings that Erell is currently offering for sale.
If you would like to see her other items , then you can take a look at her site, here. The paintings change quite regularly and if you want any information Erell speaks very good english so you can always send her an email or a message on her facebook page.
Voila! a little piece of daily life in France, just for you. I hope you have a lovely weekend, thank you for reading me.