In just a few short years Hong Kong has positioned herself smack bang at the centre of the art world – chokka with modern galleries and sitting pretty at the doorstep of east and west. In the lead-up to 2016 Art Week, we sat down with a few of the city’s leading characters to find out what’s on their radar and where they unwind after all that action. Pascal de Sarthe is the owner of de Sarthe Gallery in Hong Kong and Beijing.
What brought you to Hong Kong?
I have been an art dealer all my life, buying and selling original paintings and sculptures by French Impressionist, Asian and Western modern, post-war and contemporary artists. We opened our first gallery in Paris in 1977 then moved to San Francisco in 1981 where we had a gallery until 1990. I have been coming to Asia since 1981 and was spending two weeks here every month, so in 2010 it was time to fully establish my business and Hong Kong was the obvious hub to open a gallery.
What’s de Sarthe Gallery’s mission?
Our gallery focuses on showing historically important works of art by Asian and Western major artists. We have a close relationship with the collectors we work with and provide them with great paintings by Monet, Picasso, Rothko, Zao Wou-Ki or Chu Teh-Chun, just to give a few examples. Our son Vincent manages our Beijing gallery, so we are also part of the emerging market of a new generation of Chinese artists.
Your thoughts on HK’s art scene?
For the last five years Hong Kong has grown to become the art hub of the Asian region. With the presence of the most important international galleries, auction houses, Art Basel Hong Kong and other fairs plus hopefully soon adding M+ to the exciting museum bases, Hong Kong has the chance to finally become a cultural destination.
What can we expect from de Sarthe at Art Basel this year?
Our show this year focuses on the colour red. This colour has been widely used by many artists across many different cultures. We are proud to bring major works by Joan Miro, Alexander Calder, Gerhard Richter, Kazuo Shiraga, Chu Teh-Chun, Zao Wou-Ki, Park Seo-Bo and Robert Motherwell amongst others.
Where can you be found after-hours during Art Week?
You will most likely find me at Café Gray Deluxe at the Upper House – great bar and ambiance, or at the counter of L’Atelier Robuchon, it’s the best food. I’ve found a great place for lunch called Arcane in Central; a simple quiet place with good food.
Who will you be wearing during Art Basel?
Fantasy dinner party. Who’s invited and what’s on the menu?
I’ve had dinners with famous artists before, and they were all fascinating, but what I love the most is to be with my son and the younger artists from Beijing. They are lots of fun, witty, and the conversation is all about art, about today and the future. Usually they like good Chinese food.
Find de Sarthe Gallery at Art Basel’s 3D13 stand, or visit de Sarthe Gallery Hong Kong, Club Lusitano, 16 Ice House St. +852 2167 8896, desarthe.com
Portrait shot by Ken Kwok, courtesy of de Sarthe Gallery