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Stephen Camburn who runs Camburn Fine Art France.

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1. How did you get your start?

I wanted to work in the arts but didn’t want to slave away at an auction house, wearing an apron, for no money. I managed a small gallery in Windsor and, later, I was a buyer for a New York department store and helped build ABC, one of the largest antiques retailers in the US. In the late 1990s I returned to my roots, dealing in contemporary art.

2. How has the antiques market changed?

The overseas interest in brown furniture has virtually disappeared. In my case this was due to the importation into the US of reproduction and original antique furniture. There were also factories buried away which ‘improved’ old furniture of no distinction – this has gone on for centuries but never on such an immense scale.

The vast oversupply could not last, and when taste and fashion changed at the millennium the market collapsed. Cause of death: too much mahogany.

3. How would you like the market to change?

Anyone can become an ‘art dealer’; there are no qualifications. Slick presentation, fashion and salesmanship should not replace knowledge. The public need and want art education. If they have it they will feel more confident and buy more. Everybody benefits.

4. How do you use the internet?

As we are based in rural France we use the internet constantly. In particular we send newsletters via Mailchimp, which is our essential marketing tool. We also like Instagram where the image is everything.

5. A piece you love (other than stock)? My cat.

camburnfirneart.com

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