The man with the hammer part

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Hervé Poulain is for more than forty years, auctioneer, has invented the Art Car series of BMW and, most recently, a Ferrari for 32 million euros, auctioned. Here he reveals how it tickles such amounts from people.



From Paris Christoph Stockburger reported

Christoph Stockburger

    More articles by Christoph Stockburger

    Friday, 10.02.2017
    12:45 PM

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    On the classic car show Rétromobile auction house Artcurial has rented a large area, but you are not allowed to enter any. In the case of too much crowding the cars could take damage. More than a hundred vehicles are gathered together, their value adds up to a two-digit million amount. The classic form is an alley at the end is a pavilion, where champagne will be served. There, Hervé Poulain, 76 sitting on a soft Sofa. “Maître Poulain” call him the employee of Artcurial awesome.

    The Maître d wearing a corduroy jacket, suit pants, shirt and tie, his socks glow orange. You will be outshone by a bright Laugh, the almost never Poulains friendly face disappears. Even when the Reporter asks him a lot longer than Dating questions. “Your recording device has good batteries,” he says.

    Hervé Poulain is one of the part-owners of Artcurial, the third-largest auction house in France, he is for the Department of “Motorcar”. Classic cars auctioned for more than forty years. “At Bonhams, and RM Sotheby’s (others on classic car specialist auction houses, Anm. d. Red.) they call me ‘father’,” says Poulain.


    BMW 3,0 CSl Art Car by Alexander Calder

    Some call him “the fastest auctioneer in the world”, because he was in addition to his work as a Commissaire-priseur racer. A total of eleven Times he went at the 24 hours of Le Mans at the Start, even though he drove his first race with 29. His debut in Le Mans he had prepared in 1975, clever With his proposal to make a racing car out of an artist’s design, he found a hearing in the case of BMW. The Art Car was created in series, including Andy Warhol, Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein, David Hockney and Jeff Koons painted the cars.

    Wanted to drive it, of course, Poulain. For the first kind of Car he had convinced the American artist Alexander Calder. “Before the Start in Le Mans Calder took me in the Arm and said: ‘drive carefully, but profit tells the races'”, in Poulain. “If I could choose one car to the Auction, then the Art Car from him.”

    SPIEGEL ONLINE: Mr Poulain, what makes a good auctioneer?

    Hervé Poulain: A good auctioneer will always be about a 20 percent higher price than an average talented. I think a mix of Charisma, authority, and Esprit. I must Wake up the people in the auction room obsession.

    SPIEGEL ONLINE: How do you do that?

    Poulain: Usually I improvise. I see myself as a sort of gospel preacher, I’m loud, and repeat my words again and again. It is not only to manuscripts of old books, but to cars. To fast machine, you hear and smell. Sometimes it is but hard to stay in rhythm.

    SPIEGEL ONLINE: what do you mean by that?

    Poulain: If the cars on the stage hazards are, which leads to interruptions. Then you have to start again, a little quieter, and re-clean boost. It can also be exhausting. Our auction at the Rétromobile, for example, will take about eight hours, as more than 150 cars come under the Hammer.

    Before the Interview, here is a short question to all the readers: you could have some Oldies you like?

    At the auction of the auction house Artcurial at the Rétromobile more than 150 classic to come under the Hammer. With a Porsche 959 of 1987, for example, a ‘ 62 Cadillac with famous previous owners, as well as several Lamborghini from the seventies. The commandments range from 30,000 euros for a BMW M5 of up to eight million euros for a Ferrari prototypes. Interest in a small Investment or just want to take photos of beautiful cars? Here is a selection of the auction’s catalogue – choose your favorite.

    And so it goes: you can see two photos in comparison. Click on the car you like better. The other one disappears, a new one appears – again, you can click on the, in their opinion, more beautiful. At the end of your dream, the car left. An evaluation of how the other readers have decided, after their vote.

    For the presentation Javascript is required.

    SPIEGEL ONLINE: What is your Trick to a price during the auction in the amount of driving?

    Poulain: It is credibility. You must be able to credibly convey that a car is worthy of a certain price. I’m long in the business, to me one of the. Most people believe that a classic car has a certain price. But that’s not true: In the case of auctions, the auction house sets the price. The observation of the market, of course, plays the main role, but it depends on how many information you deliver to the car and the environment in which the auction takes place. Earlier the images were in the auction black-and-catalogs-and-white, and each car has two rows. We were the First who explained the technical and historical background of the vehicles. A price can then be comprehensibly justified. The bidders should know what they are buying.

    SPIEGEL ONLINE: you once said that you have a “light Hammer” and a “special hammer”. When are the used?

    Poulain: Well, at the auctions there, there is usually in a good mood, because I need only the light Hammer, but sometimes, you know, because it’s like in swimming, you are in inclement weather, on-the-go, it flashes and thunders.

    SPIEGEL ONLINE: and more Precisely?

    Poulain: There is a lack of bidders.

    SPIEGEL ONLINE: Since the special hammer?

    Poulain: Exactly. But you have to swing this discreet and make sure he hits all the right bidder.

    SPIEGEL ONLINE: have a Look here, specifically people in the audience?

    Poulain: Yes, that can happen. I know most of the time, where the usual Suspects are sitting in the hall. But you have to treat every bidder is different. Some want to really be out and entertain required, other think in peace. As auctioneer, you have to recognize the.

    SPIEGEL ONLINE: How do you do it?

    Poulain: so, as you would a pianist and ask how he, without looking at the keys to look at is playing the piano. It may be that I know in a hall with 2000 people already, who will make the next Moment a bid. The people of rum to slip onto your chair or look in the catalog.

    SPIEGEL ONLINE: If nothing works and the proceeds under the expectation remains that the seller make you personally responsible for?

    Poulain: Clear, and are then disappointed. People usually have a close relationship with your car, you know the effort you have put in, and therefore see what others do not see.

    SPIEGEL ONLINE: last year, you have a Ferrari for 32 million euros, auctioned. Had you expected with this price?

    Poulain: no, in the run-up to hard-to-guess. Us was already clear that we had found something very Special. The price is started at more than twelve million euros.

    SPIEGEL ONLINE: do you Remember the Moment when you are at 32 million euros, the Hammer down, whiz?

    Poulain: There was in me a shock of peace, this was an almost religious Moment. All the Stress falls from a. It is comparable with the moment when you win the race a car, the Ego is satisfied. But such moments last only briefly, the work goes on and on.

    SPIEGEL ONLINE: How did you get the cars for the auction ran go to the seller or come to you?

    Poulain: We have a good reputation and are well known, many of the sellers come from. But the really expensive cars, of course, want to have all the auction houses, therefore it is necessary to maintain his contacts and the base of collectors.

    SPIEGEL ONLINE: How high is the rule, the Commission of the auction house to the auctions?

    Poulain: That is, it was previously in the published catalog, the buyer must be between twelve and 16 per cent of the proceeds again to it, and at the auctioneer’s pay. The fee for the seller, to be negotiated. Due to the high demand has shifted in the past few years, previously, the buyer had to pay less and the seller.

    SPIEGEL ONLINE: Today are often gigantic sums of money for the car classic paid. When have you noticed that prices are rising rapidly?

    Poulain: In the eighties there was the first High-rise, but the market was still poorly organized, and the prices fell again. From the nineties, it went uphill and then but constantly, and, since 2009, the Whole thing goes through the ceiling. The Image of the car has suffered: Today it is considered by many people as an Evil that polluted the environment and the streets are clogged. For classic cars this is not true, however, since people are nostalgic, they think of the big races from the past or to the idea of freedom, the vehicles embodied change.

    SPIEGEL ONLINE: you have your career more than 40 years ago started. How did you become at that time the auctioneer?

    Poulain: That was rather unplanned. One of my professors in law came up to me and told me that I had a Talent for the auctioneer, because I could effortlessly talk in front of the entire student seminar. Besides, he knew that I am interested in art. When I ran for the first Time, then an auction, it was like an Epiphany for me – I had found my dream job. Shortly before the auction, I was shaking, but from excitement.


    Poulain: Because of a picture of Salvador Dalí under the Hammer came from. And then the picture showed a naked woman.

    SPIEGEL ONLINE: you Have the auction still good on the stage?

    Poulain: Yes.

    SPIEGEL ONLINE: How old were you when your dream job?

    Poulain: 29. I was a late starter, but it then went rapidly upward. Before that, I had no real Plan for life. If I give today in schools and universities, Auction prices, I’ll tell you First of of this experience. I want to encourage all the young people who are desperately looking for your purpose in life: Look at me, I say, for me it worked at some point.

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