Photo by Rachel Helfand of the Montpellier Auction House

$35 USD per device. This program is 60 mins, including time to ask questions and exchange ideas. Suitable for all ages, no background required.

  • Sunday, May 2, 2021 at 10:00 am EST
  • Wednesday, May 5, 2021 at 11:30 am EST
  • Saturday, June 5, 2021 at 9:00 am EST
  • Wednesday, June 9, 2021 at 11:30 am EST

The French auction house system is the pinnacle of treasure hunting in Europe, but it can be overwhelming and even confusing, with its centuries-old customs and practices. Get an insider’s take on the history of how they work. We will demystify French auctions (hôtel des ventes) so that you can browse and bid with confidence. Bring a piece of French art and history into your home.

You will:

  • Understand how auctioneers find art and objects and set prices for them.
  • Acquire the basic French vocabulary used in auction catalogues and during sales.
  • Recognise how pricing works (decode hidden fees) to start bidding with more confidence.
  • Hear how the history of the French auction system impacts how houses work today.

Your educator Rachel Helfand, is an avid photography and ceramics collector.  Currently based in Montpellier, France,  she has also lived and worked in London, Paris, Geneva and Aix-en-Provence.  She holds an MA in Art History from Richmond University London.  Rachel previously taught classes about the art market at the American University in Paris and worked as both guide and management team member for Paris Muse. She currently collaborates as an art consultant with her French husband at his Montpellier auction house.

You can also sign up for our series Collecting France.

Any questions? Check out our FAQs.

Image: © Rachel Helfand Giuseppi

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