Sebastien's many years of experience as a European Senior Specialist in Contemporary Photography at Phillips led him to collaborate with important private and corporate collections. Soon enough, in 2011 Sebastien advised Tate Modern in the acquisition of the Jacobson/Hashimoto Collection, enabling it to become the West’s most comprehensive collection of vintage modernist Japanese photographs. He started The Private Collector Project, showcasing influential private collections to the public, in partnership with the Saatchi Gallery and Phillips. Later that year, in partnership with the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Relations, he secured the exhibition of the Juan Yarur Contemporary Art Collection. Sebastien is now the founder of Montabonel & Partners Post-War & Contemporary Art Advisory, which advises Governments, Foundations, Private Collections, Museums and International Companies.
If there was one piece of art you could feature in, which would it be and why?
Fountain, 1917, by Marcel Duchamp. It would be very flattering to have been somehow linked to possibly the most important work of the 20th century, having said that, who wants to be portrayed as a urinal?
Who inspires you and why? An artist, a family member, someone current or historical?
Ferdinand Cheval (1836-1924) was a French postman who spent thirty-three years of his life building Le Palais Idéal (the Ideal Palace) in Hauterives. The Palace is regarded as an extraordinary example of naïve architecture, and is just incredible.
What are your cultural aspirations? What do you still want to see, do and achieve?
At the moment one of the big projects that my team and I are working on is with the city of Sheffield. It originated from conversations between Mark Doyle (Head of Collector Development, North - Contemporary Art Society) and I about the future of public collections and philanthropy. The project is focused on directly engaging four major art collectors/philanthropists in an exhibition and accompanying events programme to take place in the city of Sheffield.
What are your favourite cultural cities in the world and why?
Venice and Berlin. Both are unique artistic hubs of their time. Somehow Berlin is giving us a taste of what Venice would have been during the Renaissance when it became one of the most important centres of art in Europe, attracting both artists and patrons of art.
What are you up to at the moment and where can we find it?
At the moment it’s all very confidential, but we are working on ideas for a foundation for one of our most important clients. The main focus will be to create educational links and dialogue with international museums worldwide. May 2014.