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Gilles Diyan: Gallery Owner and Entrepreneur

Published on , by Pierre Naquin

As Opera Gallery celebrates its first quarter century in 2019, its president and founder Gilles Diyan talks about changes in the art market and the gallery owner's profession.

Courtesy Opera Gallery Gilles Diyan: Gallery Owner and Entrepreneur

Courtesy Opera Gallery

His rapid development could have irritated some people. In the art world, Gilles Dyan, born in Tunis on 1 October 1960 to teacher parents, was not really part of the "club". After his baccalaureate, he found himself somewhat by chance selling lithographs by young 1980s artists from door to door. Today, his Opera Gallery group has fourteen branches in Asia, Europe, the US and the Middle East, which exhibit works by Picasso, Miró, Chagall and their ilk alongside post-war artists or emerging talents under exclusive contracts, including Manolo Valdès, André Brasilier (whose lithographs Dyan sold for a few hundred francs when he was starting out), David Kim Whittaker, Andy Denzler and Lita Cabellut. His highly original business model made the brand a success: in 2014, twenty years after its creation, it posted a turnover of €200 million, employed around 100 staff and had a stock of seven thousand works. How has your perception of the art market changed over the past twenty-five years? It has altered profoundly.…
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