[Luxus Magazine] Pierre Cornette de Saint Cyr: The man who revolutionized auctioneering

Pierre Cornette de Saint Cyr, who passed away on August 20 at the age of 84, left his mark on the auctioneering profession with his flamboyant and original style. A friend of the People, he transformed auctions into one-man shows and gave contemporary art a visibility it had not previously enjoyed in France.


Will the family, friends and acquaintances honoring Pierre Cornette de Saint Cyr at his funeral be wearing black?


One might think not, given that the auctioneer, who passed away at the age of 84 on August 20 in Saint Tropez (Var), following a neurodegenerative disease, was able to break the codes of masculine attire. For a long time, he had been sporting colors considered shocking on our side of the Channel! According to Le Monde newspaper, he had even adopted a color schedule recommended by his clairvoyant: one color a day until yellow, the color of the sun, on Sundays!



Screenshot of filmed interview with Pierre Cornette de Saint Cyr, 2012 © We Agency


Highly colorful


Behind this sartorial anecdote lies the portrait of a man who was colorful in more ways than one. And one who enjoyed shaking up the established rules with elegance.


The fact that he was born in Meknes, Morocco, on January 1, 1939, may well have played a decisive role in his attraction to light-filled beings and objects, and his journey as a lover of beauty, eager to shed light on it without restraint, even if it meant shocking the establishment.


Be that as it may, all the tributes paid to this exceptional personality underline the fact that he had a profound impact on, and even transformed, the approach to his profession. Giving it an unprecedented celebrity and media dimension.


Decisive choice


After initially intending to pursue a career as an engineer and then as a lawyer, Pierre Cornette de Saint Cyr finally decided to become an auctioneer. His passion for collecting old drawings and photographs led him to his profession.


It was a decisive choice for him, but also for the art world, particularly the so-called “contemporary”, in which Pierre Cornette de Saint Cyr specialized.


For Bruno Vinciguerra, CEO of Bonhams, the man thus marked his era as “one of the most emblematic and charismatic figures in the art market for decades”. Last year, the British auction house Bonhams (14 salesrooms worldwide) acquired the company founded in 1973 by Pierre Cornette de Saint Cyr. Two of his sons, Arnaud and Bertrand, from a previous marriage, subsequently joined the company.




With his firm, based on avenue Hoche in Paris but also chaussée de Charleroi in Brussels, Pierre Cornette had shaken up the auction world in several ways.


Pierre Cornette de Saint Cyr defined himself as a contemporary art enthusiast © Press


A trailblazer, he introduced contemporary art to the auction world, which until then had been reserved for older, more established pieces.


Click here for the full article on Luxus Magazine.


Featured photo : © Bonhams

Picture of Sophie Michentef
Sophie Michentef
Sophie Michentef has worked for more than 30 years in the professional press. For fifteen years, she managed the French and international editorial staff of the Journal du Textile. She now puts her press, textile, fashion, and luxury expertise at the service of newspapers, professional organizations, and companies.

Our services

©2023 Luxus Plus. All rights reserved.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Sign up now to receive sneak previews of our programs and articles!

Launch offer:

Your participation in the Camille Fournet Masterclass reserved for annual subscriber !

Luxus Plus Newsletter