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In Memoriam : Pierre Cornette de Saint Cyr (1939-2023)


He was handsome, charming, passionate.
He loved photography, which he collected and for which in France he was one of the first auctioneers.
Pierre Cornette de Saint Cyr has just died.
Goodbye Pierre!

Jean-Jacques Naudet


Bonhams shared this text :

It is with great sadness that Bonhams announces that Pierre Cornette de Saint Cyr passed away on Sunday 20 August 2023. He was 84 years old.

His name will forever be associated with introducing the first Contemporary Chinese art, photography and Comic art sales in France which quickly became a speciality of the auction house and he was renowned for lending his gavel to numerous charity sales.

Pierre Cornette de Saint Cyr spearheaded many important collections. Among them, the collection of abstract paintings belonging to French actor Alain Delon (2007); the Estate of the painter Foujita (2011-2013); furniture from the Hotel Royal Monceau (2008) and the Couture Collection belonging to Hélène Rochas (2016).

“My father was a luminous, enthusiastic man who taught us passion, courtesy and love of others. His commitment to contemporary art guided his life, from his first sales to his presidency of the Palais de Tokyo. A tireless discoverer, he kept his youthful curiosity intact right to the end,” said his son Arnaud Cornette de Saint Cyr, Chairman of Bonhams Cornette de Saint Cyr alongside his brother Bertrand Cornette de Saint Cyr, Director of Valuations.

Bruno Vinciguerra, CEO of Bonhams, added: ” Pierre Cornette de Saint Cyr was one of the most emblematic and charismatic figures in the art market for decades. His humanity and enthusiasm will be missed by all of us at Bonhams and the art market as a whole. Our thoughts are with his wife, children and family at this difficult time.”

Pierre Cornette de Saint Cyr was born on 1 January 1939 in Meknès, Morocco. A collector of old drawings and photographs, he studied to become an engineer before taking up the profession of auctioneer, which he embodied brilliantly throughout his career. In 1973, he opened his own auction house and was later joined by his two eldest sons, Arnaud and Bertrand.

Pierre Cornette de Saint Cyr was Chairman of the Palais de Tokyo Association from 2003 to 2012 and was also the author of several books, including L’art c’est la vie: Souvenirs d’un commissaire-priseur (Editions Michel Lafon 2004).

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