Following the success of its first auction last fall, BYDealers is back with a sale that promises to be the spring event of the art-collecting world: an auction of Canadian art featuring a catalogue of high-quality works selected by experts in the Canadian art market. Among the most highly valued works are an oil painting by Jean Paul Lemieux, Printemps à Québec-Ouest (1968), with an estimated sale price of $550,000 to $750,000, and one by Paul-Émile Borduas, Untitled (circa 1956), with an estimate sale price of $800,000 to $1,200,000! By proposing a new way of doing business, BYDealers is shaking up the very conservative world of Canadian auctions. Professional auctioneers are being replaced by an alliance of over 20 Canadian art dealers recognized for their extensive art market expertise.
I met with Louis Lacerte and Yves Laroche, the founders of BYDealers, at cozy Elio Pizzeria, just around the corner from their respective galleries in Little Italy.
WHY DID YOU CREATE BYDEALERS?
“With the arrival of the Internet, the world of auctions has been playing a growing role in the secondary art market. However, auctioneers are generalists; they are rarely familiar with artists from outside the auction world. This is why some high-quality works could be sent to auction with uninformed or even damaging estimates, due to a lack of background knowledge on the artist. Auctioneers aren’t concerned with protecting the market for artists in general, which also protects collectors. Major works have been sold for ridiculously low amounts, because the auction was not the proper platform to get the best price for the work. For us, the idea is not to sell at any price. If the right buyer is not there and ready to pay the true value of a piece, we will not sell it. We are not in the business of liquidating,” confides Louis Lacerte.
“We want to create wealth as part of a long-term process that respects the work of the artists and their collectors. We are the art dealers most familiar with the artists’ major creative periods, when they produced their best work. We have been fostering their development on the market.”
“Art dealers discover the best artists early in their careers, providing support and introducing them to the international stage. They have all taken part in hundreds of fairs and exhibitions. Traditional auctioneers only have experience with the auction world; they have never helped grow someone’s career, and only arrive at the end to reap the rewards of the efforts made by dealers with no thought to how underestimating the price of a work could affect an artist’s standing. Traditional auctioneers are simply there to sell, and have expensive, cumbersome organizations to support,” conclude the two men, who are clearly passionate about their work.
To remedy this situation, Louis Lacerte and Yves Laroche founded BYDealers, in association with Web specialist Marc-Antoine Longpré. The auction house’s next auction will take place Thursday, May 31, 2018, at 7:00 pm. It will be preceded by two preview exhibitions, one from May 17-21 at the Palais des Congrès de Montréal, and the other May 26-31 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Potential buyers can take part in person, online, by telephone or by absentee bid. Although regular auction goers are very familiar with how auctions work, these art dealers are making a point of offering guidance to young collectors, to promote a love of the arts. They are excellent teachers who are generous with their knowledge. Moreover, their catalogue is very educational, providing a biography of the artist as well as a description and the provenance of each work. As Rainer Maria Rilke so eloquently said, “Works of art are of an infinite solitude, and no means of approach is so useless as criticism. Only love can touch and hold them and be fair to them.”