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The new auction firm will be known as Artcurial-Briest, Maison de Ventes, and stage twice-yearly sales (with longer viewings than is possible at Drouot) of Modern & Contemporary Art at the Hôtel du Rond-Point on the Champs-Elysées, as well as continuing Briest’s policy of staging four/five sales of late 19th and 20th century art at Drouot under newly-appointed expert Bruno Jaubert.

The Dassault aviation dynasty, who own the Hôtel du Rond-Point, will have a major stake in the new firm, which will employ 40 staff and aim to “form a European group of artistic and cultural activities”, ranging from the marketing of cultural events to art publishing and online auction sales.

Briest’s offices will relocate from Avenue Matignon to the Hôtel du Rond-Point, where Artcurial already operate their art gallery and bookshop from basement premises, by summer 2002, confirming the growing importance of the Champs-Elysées/Faubourg St-Honoré district, already home to Sotheby’s and Christie’s.

Francis Briest, who joined International Auctioneers in March 2001, ranked third amongst Paris commissaires-priseurs in 2000 with a turnover of Fr183m. He told the Antiques Trade Gazette that the new auction firm could welcome other commissaires-priseurs in due course.