What’s On Your Desk: Stephane Custot

Stephane Custot has been dealing in modern and contemporary art for 25 years. Formerly Director of Galerie Hopkins-Custot based in the prestigious avenue Matignon in Paris, he brokered the sale of major works of modern, postwar and contemporary art, placing many in important museums (Musee d’Orsay, Paris, The Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, The Art Institute of Chicago) and private collections.

Prominent in the international art market, the gallery exhibited in the most important international art fairs including the Biennale des Antiquaires, TEFAF-Maastricht, Art Basel, FIAC and the Pavilion of Art & Design.

In 2005, Stephane moved to London to open Custot Gallery London, specializing in Modern Masters’ pieces and leading contemporary works of European and American artistssuch as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Alexander Calder, Nicolas de Stael, Jean Dubuffet, Joan Miro, Joan Mitchell, Pablo Picasso, Pierre Soulages, Frank Stella with a focus on the prominent Chinese Masters Chu The Chun and Zao Wou-Ki. Stephane Custo

Between 2008 and 2011, the gallery participated in prestigious international art fairs such as TEFAF Maatricht, PAD London, Art Basel, Art Basel Miami and Art Honk Kong. During this period Stephane Custot co-founded the Salon des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and the Pavilion of Art & Design (PAD) Paris and London. Set in the heart of Mayfair, PAD is today London’s leading art fair for 20th century art, design and decorative art.

In 2010, Stephane joined one of London’s most established galleries -Waddington Galleries- to form Waddington Custot Galleries.  The gallery, based in Mayfair, represents a number of contemporary artists from Great Britain, Europe, and North America including Peter Blake, Ian Davenport, Peter Halley, Axel Hütte, Robert Indiana, Mimmo Paladino, Bill Woodrow, and the Estates of Josef Albers, Milton Avery, Patrick Caulfield, Jean Dubuffet, Barry Flanagan and Patrick Heron.

Regular solo exhibitions of gallery artists are interspersed with group shows of works by major twentieth-century artists including John Chamberlain, Dan Flavin, Henri Matisse, Fausto Melotti, Henry Moore, Ben Nicholson, Francis Picabia, Pablo Picasso, Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella and Antoni Tapies.

In 2015, Stephane Custot opened a new space, Custot Gallery Dubai in Alserkal Avenue, the new contemporary art hub in the industrial quarter of Al Quoz in Dubai. The gallery will represent and exhibit modern and contemporary artists across a number of platforms, including solo shows, group shows and curated exhibitions.

Stephane is an expert member of the Compagnie Nationale des Experts (CNE) and a specialist in Impressionist and Modern works of art.

What does you average day look like?
I am always traveling mostly within Europe and in Dubai (I take the plane on average 1-2 times a week), so it’s not easy to keep a routine but I try to make sure I do three things: play squash, have lunch either with an art collector or with one of my team members and see an exhibition. I usually work late at night.

What top five items compromise your desktop arsenal? Why?
I actually have two main offices, one in my London gallery and one in my Dubai gallery. I am used to not having many items on my desk as I like to keep the attention on the paintings and sculptures that surround me. On my desk in Dubai, I have a collection of glass by the artist Michael Glancy. Funnily enough, as we recently moved in the new gallery, for the moment I like working from different areas within the space.

What is one desktop item you just cannot live without?
Since I don’t have much on my desk, the bookshelf in my office, which has an important collection of art books and catalogues raisonnés of artists such as Jean Dubuffet, Pierre Soulages and Chu Teh-Chun is a crucial resource for me.

What are some must have art pieces for this year?
It is not easy to choose, but I can say that the Bernar Venet’s corten steel Arc sculpture presented in our inaugural exhibition inspires me!

Who is your greatest inspiration?
The Spanish artist Joan Miró for his artistic simplicity and equilibrium.

What is your favourite spot in the Dubai?
There are many spots that I appreciate going to – walk on Kite Beach or go out for dinner in DIFC at Roberto’s. I also really much enjoy being in Alserkal Avenue and visit my neighbour galleries especially in the late afternoon.