Shock in art world as Artcurial's François Tajan dies suddenly

François Tajan, the Deputy Chairman of French auction house Artcurial, has died at age 57 after suffering complications from a bout of food poisoning.

The art world is in shock and mourning over the loss of Tajan, a father of three who shook up the auctioneering world by famously jumping ship from his family-owned auction house Tajan in 2005 to join Artcurial.

The death comes as a surprise, not just because of its suddenness, but also because of the strange circumstances. Tajan fell ill with food poisoning two weeks ago, and the complications stemming from that are what eventually took his life.

After graduating in law and art history in the early 1990’s he took over the Art Deco sales department of Tajan that was then under his father’s rule. He rose to become chairman of the company. After Tajan was sold to LVMH, he decided it was time to make a move and joined Artcurial, becoming instrumental in developing the Monaco branch.

Tajan led some of Monaco’s most successful auctions including the sale of stairs coming from the Eiffel Tower which brought in a staggering €523,800. He was also responsible for Artcurial’s expansions into Belgium, Italy, Morocco and Austria as well as the creation of the company’s jewellery department. He established two main jewellery sales each year in Monaco, the last one being in January of this year.

Artcurrial Director Louise Grether has expressed her deep emotion and immense sadness at the news, saying: “The Artcurial family will forever be imbued with the knowledge, passion, creativity and curiosity of this incredible man. His human qualities, his humour and his kindness were known to all. François was also, above all, a generous friend, available and very attentive. All my thoughts, my affection, go out to his wife Véronique and his children as well as to his whole family.”