Florence and Daniel Guerlain
Inheritance (perfume); philanthropy (Contemporary Drawing Prize)
Since Florence and Daniel Guerlain started collecting art in the mid-1980s, drawing has been their primary focus. Within that time they’ve amassed a collection of 1,200 plus works. In 2007, the couple founded the Daniel and Florence Guerlain Contemporary Drawing Prize, which annually honors three artists. Since 2010, the presentation has been held at the Parisian Salon Du Dessin art fair. The winners have been Silvia Bachli, Sandra Vasquez de la Horra, Catharina Van Eetvelde, Marcel Van Eeden, Jorinde Voigt, Susan Hefuna, Tomasz Kowalski, Jockum Nordstrom, Cameron Jamie, Ciprian Muresan and Mamma Andersson.
In an email interview with ARTnews, the Guerlains expressed their desire to stay the course, but not without a certain level of self-regulation. Their plan, they said, was to continue buying “essential” works, “but not so compulsively!” In 2013 donated 1,200 pieces from their collection to Paris’s Centre Pompidou, linking pieces in the resulting exhibition together by what a critic in the Brooklyn Rail described as the loose rubric of “works on paper.” Though further subdivisions,” he wrote, “ can be applied—such as sketches, doodles, ‘preliminary’ or ‘preparatory’ or ‘finished’ drawings—the categories merely frustrate, as they all seem at cross-purposes to one another.”
In Fall, 2019, works donated to the Pompidou travel to the Albertina in Vienna. Artists included in that exhibition are Mark Dion, Marcel Dzama, Marcel van Eeden, Catharina van Eetvelde, Jana Gunstheimer, Erik van Lieshout, Robert Longo, David Nash, Cornelia Parker, Joyce Pensato, Chloe Piene, Pavel Pepperstein, Javier Pérez, Anne-Marie Schneider, Kiki Smith, Nedko Solakov, Renie Spoelstra, Aya Takano, Sandra Vásquez de la Horra, and Jorinde Voigt. The Guerlains’ collection is widely varied in style and message, containing works such as Jenny Holzer’s “HOW DO YOU RESIGN YOURSELF TO SOMETHING THAT WILL NEVER BE?” (1980-82), Chloe Piene’s “Sitting 01” (2005), Eén” (2004), a figure study by Berlinde de Bruyckere, and a watercolor by Atul Dodiya.