Search for content, post, videos

Re-opening of the Galerie Agathe Gaillard: “To keep the soul of this mythical place”


After two years spent searching for a buyer, the Galerie Agathe Gaillard in Paris, which never really closed, is re-opening with a collective exhibition, Entitled Tribute to Beauty, echoing the twentieth anniversary exhibition of 1995, it brings together some historic photographers – Álvarez Bravo, Boubat, Riboud, Charbonnier – and begins a crucial period for this real Parisian institution. L’Oeil de la Photographie interviewed Agathe Gaillard, today the advisor to the Gallery, and Fiona Sanjabi, its new director.


Two years after the “closure’ of the Galerie Agathe Gaillard was announced, the place is “re-opening” its doors. Can you explain these events for us?

Agathe Gaillard: David Azéma, one of the Galerie’s long-time collectors, decided to ensure its continuity. It was important for me that this place remained devoted to photography.

Agathe Gaillard, you retire and hand over to a new owner and new management. Can you introduce these people and explain how they were chosen?

Agathe Gaillard: The future of photography belongs to photographers and those who’ll be determined to protect it.

Why did you decide to have the Galerie continue to live without you?

Agathe Gaillard: A lot has happened since 1975 when I opened the Galerie. Photography has established itself but there is a lot still to be done. To ensure the future of photography, it seemed to me that a younger team was needed.

The first exhibition is a collective one. Tell us what it contains.

Agathe Gaillard: In 1995 Tribute to Beauty was a reaction against the fashion for ugly photos.The idea was to ask each photographer for a photo which represented their idea of beauty. In 2017, I’m curious to see what is considered as beauty because when I look around me, the idea of beauty doesn’t appear very present. Fortunately, the artists express more or less what we feel and find beauty even in the most commonplace things, that’s why we need them.

Fiona Sanjabi: Firstly, it’s passing on the torch. That’s why we chose to continue by echoing the 1995 Tribute to Beauty exhibition. The main thing is that the artists being shown are artists who were already in the Galerie. There are some newcomers: Claude Iverné, Emmanuelle Bousquet and Alexandre Arminjon. We asked each of the artists to reflect on the idea of beauty for this exhibition. There was discussion and we concluded that beauty can be found in the artist’s eye: a woman’s sculptural body, a landscape, a scene from everyday life, or even in the street, in architecture including in a jicama (Mexican root vegetable) when it’s photographed by Manuel Álvarez Bravo, for example.

What other projects can we anticipate in the coming months? 

Agathe Gaillard: You will see.

Fiona Sanjabi: We’re going to have a programme, to be announced, alternating between historic and contemporary photography. There’s also a new exhibition space in the basement that can host photographers, of course, but also presentations and other things, let’s leave a bit of a mystery.

Can we know how many artists you represent at the moment, the names of the most famous and can you tell us if you’re going to accept new ones?

Agathe Gaillard and Fiona Sanjabi: Currently there are about thirty, some stayed with the Galerie, some others returned. The most well-known are twentieth century photographers, who’ve been with the Galerie since it began.

What photographic genres or styles are we going to find next at the Gallery?

Agather Gaillard: Whatever photographers produce and seems to us to be important.

What is the future of the Galerie Agathe Gaillard and what are its long-term objectives? 

Agathe Gaillard: To ensure the continuity of a certain idea of photography.

Fiona Sanjabi: In France, from its opening the Galerie Agathe Gaillard was the first to show photographs as works of art, which was, in 1975, very avant-garde and surprising. Forty-two years later, we wish to keep the soul of this mythical place and continue to astonish.


Interview by Jonas Cuénin

Hommage à la Beauté
22nd September – 18th November 2017
Galerie Agathe Gaillard
3 Rue du Pont Louis-Philippe
75004 Paris

Create an account or log in to read more and see all pictures.

Install WebApp on iPhone
Install WebApp on Android