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Aude Louis Carvès and Rébecca Sack, founders of the Louis & Sack Gallery

Founded in 2020 by Rébecca Sack and Aude Louis Carvès, the Louis & Sack Gallery is located at the Cour de Rohan, in the heart of the 6th arrondissement of Paris.

The gallery specializes in Japanese painting from the Nouvelle Ecole de Paris, as well as contemporary Korean painting and ceramics.

Rébecca Sack and Aude Louis Carvès agreed to be interviewed for Printemps Asiatique. This is an opportunity to discover more about their career and their gallery.

Aude Louis Carvès and Rébecca Sack.

© Photo Camille Collin, 2021

Akashi Murakami (b.1971), Wind Wave, 2022, White stoneware, porcelain slip Dimensions : 21,5 x 36 x 30,5 cm

Could you describe your respective backgrounds? What brought you to the arts of the Far East?

Aude Louis Carvès : I have a background in Asian art that goes back some fifteen years, centered around auction houses. The first was Aguttes in Neuilly-sur-Seine, where I created the Asian art department at a time when Chinese art was exploding. The appetite of Chinese collectors to buy objects from Europe, from old collections, was incredible. There were a lot of objects at that time, a lot of very nice finds and record sales! I spent 9 years in this house before joining the international auction house Bonhams, where I worked in the Chinese art department between London and Paris for 5 years.

I was closely following the post-war Japanese painting market, through sales and around the world, with an idea in my head, which became a reality when I met my associate Rebecca!

The creation of the gallery is therefore a continuity, Asian art still, but modern and contemporary.

Rébecca Sack : I followed a different path, but complementary. Indeed, after several years spent in China, in Beijing, I spent about ten years working in a gallery in Paris.

My passion for China was born over 20 years ago. I studied Chinese and developed very early a passion for this culture: history, literature, painting and everything related to Asia in general.

I was director of the Jacques Barrère gallery, specializing in Buddhist statuary from the Far East, for 8 years. It is in this institution that I learned my trade. At the same time, I began to take an interest in and collect post-war Japanese painting. 

The creation of Louis & Sack gallery is indeed a continuity. The project was born from a meeting, from a common passion for Japanese painting of the Nouvelle École de Paris, from a desire to show what we liked, what we saw in these painters. We both became passionate about this relatively unexploited subject. These are artists who were supported in the 1950s when they came to live in Paris and who were subsequently somewhat forgotten. There is an enormous amount of research work to bring back to light the contribution of these painters to the abstraction movement.

A: We got together on this project because we had a very similar eye and taste. At the same time, we also wanted to confront the Korean contemporary art scene which is extremely interesting and in the air of time.

The common point of these two axes is Paris. Indeed, all of our artists have worked and experimented their art in France. It is the creation around the workshops, the free academies and the big galleries that made Paris a particularly important place in the 50s, and again particularly today. Paris is once again the capital of the arts, we are at the heart of this energy.

The Printemps Asiatique is precisely the opportunity to highlight the dynamism of the Parisian Asian art world. Rébecca Sack, you participated in the creation of this event, could you tell us about it? What was the ambition behind it ?

R: The idea in creating the Printemps Asiatique was to follow the existing model of Asia Week in London and New York, which have been essential events for Asian art for years. We felt that Paris could play as important a role as these Anglo-Saxon cities. It is thanks to the Jacques Barrère gallery that the project became a reality in 2018. I was the director of the gallery at the time, and co-founder of Printemps Asiatique alongside Antoine Barrère, Olivier Valmier and Alice Jossaume.

France has very beautiful collections, the Guimet and Cernuschi museums are a testament to that. There have also been very good sales of Asian art in France since 2010 with the explosion of the Chinese market, as Aude mentioned.

It was therefore the right time to create this event, including Asian art galleries as well as specialized museums and auction houses; in order to bring out certain objects from the collections for the occasion and above all to federate around the same subject: Asian art in its entirety.

Since Christophe Hioco took over the Printemps Asiatique last year, the event has taken on a whole new dimension, and the ambition is to make it an international event. In addition, with Brexit, quite a few international galleries have moved to Paris, as well as the Art Basel fair, Paris +. All these changes are indicators of the dynamism of the Parisian art market. The Printemps Asiatique can only develop and become more successful.

What makes the Louis & Sack Gallery special?

R: We specialize in two specific subjects: post-war Japanese painting and contemporary Korean art.

The other specificity of the gallery is its setting: we are in an apartment. We offer tailor-made hangings, prepared for our collectors. It is easier to imagine the artworks at home. We privilege the experience in a place that is quite exceptional. The Cour de Rohan is one of the most beautiful courtyards in the 6th arrondissement! It is a rather magical historical place. I think that the experience of arriving in a soothing place, out of time, corresponds well to the artists we present. It is a painting that is at the same time very dynamic, mixing gesture and matter, but which remains contemplative.

A: We also introduce a little-known segment of 1950s abstraction to which we take collectors who are already interested in those years, but rather in European or American artists such as Georges Mathieu, Sam Francis, Franz Kline, or Henri Michaux. We present to them artists of great quality, only less well-known, and therefore more affordable. It is this aspect of discovery that collectors are attracted to.

How would you define the Japanese painting of the Nouvelle École de Paris ?

A : These are artists who left their country right after the war to come to Paris, the capital of the arts at that time. They came to mix with the avant-garde movements: informal art, lyrical abstraction and abstract expressionism. This resulted in a very singular art. Indeed, one finds in the aesthetics their Asian roots with the calligraphic gestures and the material, nourished by what they learned in the Parisian workshops and academies. Their art is also marked by their exchanges with the art critics of the time such as Pierre Restany, Michel Tapié or Michel Ragon.

R: Abstraction in Japan actually came quite late. Indeed, the artists were fed with surrealist and impressionist images during their training, and really discovered a form of abstraction very close to their sensibility. We are working with several art historians on a publication about these Japanese artists, which is scheduled for release at the end of 2023. This will be a first basis to discover their work and the impact of their exchanges with Western artists of the time.

Do you have a landmark object?

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Akira Kito (1925 - 1994), Diadème, 1960, Gouache on paper, Signed lower left, titled and dated on reverse, Dimensions: 24,8 x 15,5 cm

A: Landmark objects, yes. More than a particular object, it is the dialogue that we like between the works. The artists we select always respond aesthetically to what we already have in the gallery. There is a thread.

Could we know more about the objects that will be on display during the next edition of Printemps Asiatique?

For this new edition of Printemps Asiatique, we will focus on Japanese artists with some small surprises that will correspond to this idea of dialogue and thread.

Seungho Yang’s ceramics

A: Suengho Yang is a very famous ceramist in Korea. He works between Korea and France with a workshop in each country. His specialty is the "Tongkama" firing, in the wood kiln. It is an ancestral Korean technique that consists of firing for about three weeks, with a very particular control of the temperature. Seungho Yang is an artist that we have been presenting since the opening of the gallery. It's a small production that is always eagerly awaited with only two firings per year from which only a few pieces come out.

R: Seungho Yang is very popular, people always see something in his work because of the very organic, earthy aspect of his forms. It looks like the pieces are coming out of a crater.

Seungho Yang (b.1955), To Be or Not To Be, 2022, Ceramics, Tongkama firing, Dimensions:  35 x 36,5 x 19 cm

Hisao Domoto's paintings

R: Hisao Domoto is one of our leading Japanese artists of the 1950s. He was also part of the Gutai movement in Japan. He is an artist with several very interesting periods. We focus mainly on the 50s and 60s which are quite calligraphic. It is a very pure, abstract, work with a real fulgurating gesture.

A: Domoto is one of the three Japanese artists we focus on with Toshimistu Imai and Key Sato. They are three major artists in our research.

Hisao Domoto (1928 - 2003), Ink on paper, 1958, Signed and dated lower right, Dimensions: 45 x 55 cm, Provenance :Galerie Stadler

Which work would you like to present?

A: The work of Fabienne Verdier which is absolutely extraordinary. She is a French artist-painter who has a deep mastery of Chinese calligraphy techniques, while having a unique and very recognizable style. She has achieved a rare synthesis, and there would be a very nice bridge to make with Japanese and Korean artists.

R: It's a kind of reverse synthesis because Fabienne Verdier went to China by herself at the age of 20. Her journey is incredible. She is one of the few Westerners who is considered a true calligrapher by the Chinese.

The place that inspires you?

A: The Soulages Museum in Rodez, which has a high quality program. Of course the Guimet and Cernuschi museums for the beauty of the place and the collections, but also for the dynamism of their engagement in contemporary Asian art.

R: The Carmignac foundation in Porquerolles is an exceptional site, and also in the south of France the brand new Lee Ufan foundation in Arles in the beautiful Hôtel de Vernont, that is an inspiring place.

The work that inspires you?

R: Junichirô Tanizaki's In Praise of the Shadows, discovered in China 15 years ago and which has never left me.

A: I really like biographies of great art dealers. Monsieur Loo - Le roman d'un marchand d'art asiatique, by Géraldine Lenain, was fascinating.


More informations :

 Galerie Louis & Sack


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