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The most notable of these is the acquisition of Drouot-based auction firm CalmelsCohen, who specialise in tribal and 20th century art, most famously staging the André Breton sale in 2003. Sotheby’s say they plan to develop sales of Modern and Contemporary art in Paris, and have appointed Cyrille Cohen as a vice-president of Sotheby’s France.

CalmelsCohen will continue to stage auctions as a subsidiary of Sotheby’s, under Cohen’s wife, Laurence Calmels. There will also be co-operation between Sotheby’s and the independent firm SCP Calmels Cohen that is entitled to stage court-order sales in France (something Sotheby’s cannot do).

Sotheby’s have also announced their first sale of Asian art in Paris for June, while Sotheby’s Paris chairman Philipp von Württemberg has been appointed vice-president of Sotheby’s Europe.

The firm’s new director of global strategic initiatives, Bruno Vinciguerra, recently began a six-month assignment to France to “identify axes of development”.

Chief executive officer Robin Woodhead says the moves “show our confidence in the potential for growth in France. We want Paris to play an even more important role within the group.”

By Simon Hewitt