JonOne tags up Eric Cantona’s Rolls-Royce for Artcurial

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JonOne, the New York train graffiti artist who, many, many moons ago, settled in Paris, has painted a Roll’s Royce donated by Eric Cantona as a publicity stunt for the ArtCurial urban art auction taking place this afternoon.

A little bit of vomit appears in this writers mouth, too, but before swallowing, make note that the money raised from this graffitied Rolls-Royce will all go to the Abbé Pierre Foundation, which is a charity helping the utterly impoverished.

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Exorbitant prices are staple at Artcurial, a private company with an annual turnover of €127 million in 2011, but Eric Cantona’s second-hand Rolls-Royce Corniche II covered with tags by JonOne is being flogged quite cheaply – bidding starts at just €20,000.

Today, nearly 330 works of street art are going under the hammer at the auction house in the Hotel Marcel-Dassault. Starting bids are at €400 and going up to €120,000, including the work ‘Kiss’ by Banksy’s protégéMr Brainwash.

Of course, Banksy’s work is represented at the Artcurial show, as well, with one work with a starting price of around €100,000. Banksy’s works are all sourced from the secondary market, however. Banksy generally does not participate in these sorts of bourgeois art affairs directly. Although, we hear from the Bankrobber gallery in London that he does feed the upper tier auction houses in the UK in an agreement to keep them from selling his ‘illegally’ gotten street pieces. In France it is actually illegal to take works from the street.

The Rolls Royce belonging to Kung Fu Kick Cantona, was painted by graffiti artist JonOne live on TV last November and will go under the hammer this afternoon. Artcurial has waived all fees and charges for the sale of the 1984 Roller, a Corniche model, which Cantona oversaw being ‘tagged up’ by JonOne on the French TV station Canal+ in June 2012. Cantona said (via a translation by Google): “I decided to donate it because it’s the ultimate symbol of wealth, and will help those in ultimate poverty.” Going on to add  (also, via a translation by Google): ” This Rolls Royce painted by the world-renowned street artist JonOne has a real coherence and a lot of force.” Not dissimilar to one of Cantona’s flying kicks, this writer imagines.

In the courtyard of Marcel Dassault yesterday sat the Rolls-Royce the former footballer bequeathed to Artcurial to benefit the Abbé Pierre Foundation that the American artist JonOne painted in November 2012 live on the Grand Journal show on French TV station, Canal +. The Roller is the largest of the 300-work sale, which is expected to raise around €1 million. In 2012, sales amounted to €1 million including costs, against €555 700 in 2011.

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Among the other artists and artworks present are “Chinese Soldiers” by Shepard Fairey (with an estimate of €30,000 to €40,000), “Flying copper” by Banksy (with an estimate of €90,000 to €120,000). France’s Space Invader is represented by a number of mosaics available at starting prices of €800 to €12,000.


Shepard Fairey aka Obey showing room at Artcurial. Photo of Fairey holding up image in by Philippe Bonan, taken in Paris in June 2012. See our film coverage of when that photo was taken, here.

banksy auction artcurial street art paris-IMG_0222‘Flying Copper’ by Banksy.

keith haring auction Artcurial- street art-paris-IMG_0195Work by pioneering New York street artist, Keith Haring.

john crash matos auction Artcurial street art-paris-IMG_0197Graffiti artist, Crash from New York.

cope2 artcurial auction street art paris -IMG_0194-Photo of COPE2, the infamous New York graffiti artist.

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jana und js performance Artcurial-jonone-rolls-royce-auction -IMG_0190Jana of street art couple, Jana und JS, painting live at the event, yesterday.

jonone-auction street art paris IMG_0199Spanish artist, Pez (top), middle bottom is by Chanoir. Top right work by FKDL aka Franck Duval. Bottom left work by Seize Happywallmaker.

may 1968 atelier populaire artcurial auction street art paris -IMG_0202Top right work is an original poster from the 1968 Paris riots, produced at the Beaux Arts, Atelier Populaire.

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Snap back to JonOne, a main figure in Parisian ‘street art’ (he admits he has not painted outdoors for a long time): JonOne is first and foremost from New York, where he learnt the original style of the subway graffiti movement, which he imported to France. Born in 1963 in New York, JonOne began to write his name in the city in the 70s, before getting into painting onto canvas in the late 80s. His work today is a blend of his graffiti roots – tagging – combined with an abstract expressionism, brightly coloured, often including tribal patterning, and to some extent free of the conservatism of ‘hip hop’ graffiti. The movement, however, he still defends strongly.

JonOne developed his style alongside graffiti artists, A-One and Phase II, drawing inspiration from the New York subway graffiti movement. Many graffiti artists would denounce his canvas work, however, due to the additional influences of non-graffiti painters such as Matisse and Kandinsky, and abstract expressionists, Joan Mitchell, Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Robert Motherwell.

jonone-auction street art paris -IMG_0220JonOne canvas painting.

Real name John Perello, JonOne was born in New York’s Harlem neighborhood to parents from the Dominican Republic. He first came into contact with graffiti aged 17, first tagging his name Jon with the suffix 156. Around this time he came into contact with graffiti artist, Bando. Following an invitation from Bando, Jonone moved to Paris in 1987, beginning his canvas work at a former hospital building converted into a squat, the Hôpital Ephémère (Ephemeral Hospital), located in Paris’ 18th arrondissement, painting alongside artists, A-One, Ash, Jayone and Sharp. A notable exhibition from his early days in Paris was the 1990 show at the Gleditsch 45 gallery in Berlin

His ties with the annual Artcurial Urban Art auction extend to its roots. In 2007 a canvas made at the Hôpital Ephémère in 1993 named Match Point, sold for almost €25,000 to a collector from  New York. It remains the highest bid ever received for a piece of French graffiti art.

JonOne mastered the stylistic conventions of graffiti during his New York days, but is ill at ease conforming totally to this school of art. Even before arriving in Paris in 1987, JonOne’s output  had never matched up to the archetypal notion of the graffiti artist. When he would rock up to a subway train in New York, he is known to have brought with him paintbrushes in addition to spraycans. Through the graffiti artist, A-One (Anthony Clark), JonOne, had a direct connection to Jean-Michel Basquiat, or, rather, a link between the graffiti world and the gallery world. Allowing himself to adopt mainstream ideas and techniques into his artwork, JonOne’s pieces show great movement, intense mixtures of colour, freestyle and precise strokes, repetition, all balanced to create a dynamic visual experience. (This last sentence is mostly plagiarised from the Wikipedia article on JonOne).

One of JonOne’s most significant paymasters, Artcurial (he is also represented by the top two Paris urban art galleries, Galerie Le Feuvre and Galerie Magda Danysz) is the foremost French auction house, and is fronted by three auctioneers: Francis Briest, Hervé Poulain, and François Tajan. It is an independent business, with shareholders including the Dassault Group, which owns among many other enterprises, the French newspaper, Le Figaro. It was located at 9 Avenue Matignon (which now houses Britain’s largest auction house, Christie’s), but is now based out of the  Hôtel Marcel Dassault at 7 rond-point des Champs-Élysées, owned by Dassault. Artcurial holds more than one hundred sales per year, across 20 specialties. Formerly holding the monopoly on auctions in France, a change in the law in 2000, opened up the market, and saw the arrival of British auction houses, Christie’s and Sotheby’s. Artcurial’s first partner and founder, Francis Briest, works with Hervé Poulain, and François Tajan, with auctions all being held at the 2,000 m² headquarters and open to the public.

Artcurial’s departments of expertise include Modern and Contemporary Art, Art Deco, Tribal Art, Asian Art, Eastern Archaeology, Islamic Art, 19th Century paintings and drawings, antiquarian books, autographs, engravings, antique cars, wines and spirits, among a number of other fields. It also sponsors and organises events, including the Artcurial Book Award for Contemporary Art and the Marcel Duchamp Prize.

It also controls four subsidiaries in France: in Toulouse, Deauville, Marseille and Lyon, as well as Artcurial China in Shanghai. In total it manages eight auction houses worldwide.

Head auctioneer, Hervé Poulain, was also an amateur race driver and has participated in eleven of the 24 Hours of Le Mans races, the the famous endurance race, held annually since 1923 and is the inventor of the “Art Cars ” concept, whereby artists decorate cars participating in Le Mans. Previous designs have been made by Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. Poulain is also the author of a number of books on art, including, Art, Women and Automobile (1989) and Pop My cars (2006).  He is the founder and president of SYMEV (the French national union of auction houses).


Artcurial Urban Art Auction

January 22nd, 2pm


7 Rond-point des Champs-Elysées, 75008

[Originally published on 22 January, 2013]

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