I head back to 560 Broadway today, not to see Taki and Etheleen but to meet Corinne Tapia, a French art dealer who moved to New York several years ago to open the gallery space Sous les Etoiles.
I had already met Corinne in the past – for other reasons – and was eager to hear her New York story… We all have one. She provides the first elements of her tale by taking out a print by André Kertész from 1927, Montmartre. Paris. When she bought that picture for her daughter, it was “like picking a flower,” she says. She did it instinctively, without really thinking. She adds that the brain has no role in buying a picture, only the heart does. Noted. The photo reminds her of her childhood in Montmartre, leaving school each day, the afternoon snacks she’d have at home. But it also transports her to the world of Paris between the wars, a period she didn’t live through but that she cares for very much.
A lively, fresh, revolutionary and creative period, she adds. A time of intellectual stimulation and flourishing culture – particularly for eastern European artists who took refuge in Paris where they could express themselves freely. When she looks at this picture, she hears Trenet singing in her head. My favorite part of the story of this picture is very recent: when I asked Corinne if she would bring her favorite picture to our meeting, she had doubts – not on the choice, but the form.
Should she bring her framed print or just a reproduction? Her husband finally decided and pulled the photo down from the wall. That’s exactly what I like best about this project: what can be said without words through original prints, a little something, practically invisible, a little hint of the person behind the art dealer.
Thank you, Corinne.
From her first encounter with photography to the opening of her own gallery space…
Corinne says she always loved wandering through the flea markets, buying things whose usefulness her friends and family didn’t understand. She has been collecting all sorts of art objects, and photographs as well, for a very long time. In the 1990’s, while working in publishing in Paris, she pitched an exhibition of jazz to the FNAC gallery. It went well. Later, when she followed her husband to New York, she decided to open her own exhibition space. She says she is curious and adventurous. More than anything, she hates being bored, and so she’s always ready to try something new.
Her best memory as a gallerist…
Corinne answers the question by talking about the memorable people she has met: photographers Wendy Paton, David Zimmerman and Reiner Riedler. And she emphasizes the pleasure art dealers can enjoy from working with their artists and helping them grow.
The first photograph she bought for herself? Or one that has a special importance in her life…
Montmartre d’André Kertész
On her bedroom wall…
A whole medley of photos of herself, her husband, and her children when they were little.
If she were a famous photographer…
She would be a street photographer. Perhaps Elliot Erwitt for his spontaneity, or Kertész for his particular way of capturing light to highlight childhood.
If she had to choose another job…
She would probably publish books. But then she quickly adds that she loves variety, mixing things up, non-linear harmony. Who knows what is in store for her tomorrow?
Stéphanie de Rougé