François Quintin takes the reins of the Lambert Collection in Avignon

The Caumont hotel which houses the Lambert Collection, in Avignon, on October 29, 2021.

For several weeks already, his name rustled on everyone’s lips. After a trajectory between private and public, François Quintin will take the reins of the Lambert Collection in September, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary, in Avignon. The current head of visual arts at the Directorate General for Artistic Creation (DGCA), at the Ministry of Culture, succeeds the enarque Alain Lombard, who is stepping down after two terms.

The appointment of this discreet man, straddling ethics and public service, even when he served private interests, comes five months after the revelations by the daily Release of the risky management by the public authorities of the extraordinary donation made in 2012 by the former Parisian gallery owner Yvon Lambert, who became a bookseller.

Two years before closing its space rue Vieille-du-Temple, in Paris, the art dealer offered the State a collection of more than 500 works, an impressive panorama retracing fifty years of career. From minimal and conceptual art to today’s creators, via free figuration, the breviary makes you dizzy: Jean-Michel Basquiat, Nan Goldin, Daniel Buren, Robert Ryman, Sol LeWitt, Carl Andre, Cy Twombly and, for the most recent artists, Douglas Gordon or Andres Serrano… The ensemble, insured today for 200 million euros, half of which is on display until June 4 in Avignon, is simply breathtaking.

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Sacred flair

In a thorough investigation, Release nevertheless reported irregularities: missing or damaged works, pieces withdrawn from the donation following recriminations by certain artists… Hitches which have however been resolved, as evidenced by the thick catalog published this year by Dilecta (An intimate history of art. Yvon Lambert, a collection, a donation, a place, 440 pages, 45 euros). Evading the controversy, which he finds “unjust and unfounded”the new director prefers to praise the generosity of Yvon Lambert. “I have warm and friendly relations with Yvonhe said, and I am happy to extend the story of sixty years of gallery work with incredible artists. »

After studying art history at the Ecole du Louvre, supplemented by training as an exhibition curator at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, François Quintin joined the Fondation Cartier team in Paris in 1994, he left six years later to direct the regional fund for contemporary art (FRAC) Champagne-Ardenne.

In Reims (Marne), this fake phlegmatic, flamenco guitarist in his spare time, shows a sacred flair. In 2004, he organized the first personal exhibition of Adel Abdessemed, long before the Franco-Algerian artist became a star acclaimed by millionaire collectors. Two years later, he celebrated Céleste Boursier-Mougenot, this wave artist who was both an atmospheric artist and an experimental musician, who represented France at the Venice Biennale in 2015.

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