Conducting Blue Chips
At The Opera
By Robin Jay
An exclusive interview with world-renowned fine-art gallery proprietor Gilles Dyan
When Monteverdi composed the first opera 400 years ago in Italy, he aimed to make music acquiescent to the lyrics. Four centuries later, in 1994, when Frenchman Gilles Dyan opened the firsta Opera Gallery in Singapore, he aspired to launch another kind of global opus – one that focused not on auditory works of art, but rather on fine visual works of art.
“I chose to name my first art gallery ‘Opera’ because in Latin, the term can involve many different forms of art and it’s easy to remember,” said Dyan, who discovered his love for fine art as a boy in Paris. “I entered the art world by chance. My parents were both schoolteachers, and every day on my way to school, I walked past a small art gallery with very nice abstract painters’ prints. I was dreaming of owning a fine-art piece in my bedroom.
“I bought my first work of art at the age of 13, a lithograph by Miró, with the money I was offered for my Bar Mitzvah. When I was 25, I started door-to-door selling prints by French contemporary artists on weekends; I was working in an advertising company on weekdays. Afterward, I changed my career to be an art dealer.”
Humble Beginnings to Global Enterprise
When Dyan first got into the art business, the average price of the prints fetched no more than $500. “Since the business was prospering, I took on a few people and opened galleries in shopping centres on the outskirts of Paris. In 1994, I utterly changed my target when I opened Opera Gallery in Singapore with very different collectors. I was then featuring young contemporary artists.”
Today, Opera Gallery is one of the leading dealers in modern and contemporary American, European and Asian art with an exclusive list of museum and private clients worldwide. With presence in 11 major international destinations including Paris, London, Geneva, Monaco, New York, Miami, Singapore, Hong Kong, Seoul, Beirut and Dubai, Opera Gallery sets the industry mark in showcasing artworks of exceptional quality supported by two decades of client service excellence and integrity in the field.
Opera Galleries in the U.S.
Last March, Dyan opened Opera Gallery in the Miami Design District (after having a 14-year presence in nearby Bal Harbour), with forthcoming new U.S. locations planned in New York and Aspen, Colorado.
At an Opera Gallery, you’ll find works by blue-chip artists, including Picasso, Chagall, Botero and Warhol. Dyan described some of his favorite pieces currently or recently on display in Miami
“L’Âne bleu is one of Chagall’s very typical paintings with all the items that made him so famous worldwide: the donkey, the coq, the lovers, etc.,” Dyan said. “Tennessee Williams by Warhol is an iconic portrait of the American writer, and Tête de femme by Picasso is a portrait of a girl with the artist’s famous composition and colours.”
Fine Art as Investment
“The art market is still very strong all over the world: Over the last few years, the transaction values have amounted to over $65 billion. More people collect art; museums and foundations are opening throughout the world,” Dyan said. “One cannot be wrong when investing in nice paintings by the blue-chip artists mentioned above: They are historical artists. Since blue-chip artists are much sought after by young rich collectors and museums, which need to feature these names in their portfolios, the prices of their paintings have doubled in less than 6 years. Investing a part of one’s assets in art is a good choice, even for young collectors. Art has become an asset more than a passion for many investors.”
For more information about Opera Gallery, go to www.operagallery.com.