‘The contemporary art market is still expanding’: Daniel Templon, Founder, Galerie Templon

Daniel Templon - Galeriste - Photographié dans son bureau de la Galerie - 4 Avril 2016 - Paris

In 1966, a 21-year-old Daniel Templon set up Galerie Daniel Templon in Paris’s Saint Germain des Prés. The gallery was first recognised for exhibiting conceptual and minimalist artists such as Donald Judd, Richard Serra and Martin Barré.

Later, Galerie Templon became a pathway for several American contemporary artists into France. The likes of Ellsworth Kelly, Willem de Kooning, Frank Stella and Andy Warhol became known to the French public over the 1970s and 1980s.

Galerie Templon now has three exhibition spaces – two in Paris and one in Brussels – and Daniel Templon, who has seen more than 50 years from within the art industry, has certainly had his takeaways.

Templon spoke to Private Art Investor ahead of the New Year and shared his top five trends of the 2010s.

In his opinion, they have been: “the explosion of art fairs, the rise of the Asian market, the return to figurative painting, the multiplication of international venues for galleries and the quest for their ‘global branding’.”

While many art market players will warn of an imminent economic recession, Templon remains optimistic for the future. “2019 was a good year and the contemporary art market is still expanding. Unless there is a major crash or signs of an economic recession, it should stay this way,” he said.

Galerie Templon. Courtesy of the gallery.

He has, however, been paying close attention to Brexit, which he thinks can have either a negative or an “extremely positive impact on the French market.” On a global level, the political turmoil in Hong Kong has also, no doubt, affected art sales this year.

Templon added: “Over the past few years, Hong Kong has become a major hub in Asia both for art galleries and for auction houses. If the violence escalates, it could impact the entire Asian art market for a few months.”

He believes that today’s collectors have it easier as far as accessing auction results goes. “They think the prices at auction determine the objective value of an artist or an artwork,” he said. But there are many other aspects to be considered when pricing an artwork.

Read: What really drove art sales in New York last November?

First, he says, each artwork has its own unique aesthetic qualities, making it “impossible to draw exact comparisons.” Second, art possession remains irrational and therefore: “top prices at auctions are only driven by a couple of bidders who are fighting for the same piece.”

However, more importantly, with auction prices only reflecting a very small portion of the transactions, it can often be misleading. He stated, “Most sales are made privately – in galleries, in shows or at art fairs. There is no public record or statistics for those. In terms of pricing, the art world is one the least transparent of markets.

“Therefore, I caution anyone who simply wants to ‘invest’ in the art market. It requires experience, knowledge of the art market and art history, as well as a great deal of humility.”