Each Vendu–Sold auction raises many recurring questions: Does the event contribute to the dynamism of the Quebec art market or revitalize the community of collectors? Does this platform for artists improve the recognition of Canadian contemporary art? How do funding campaigns and benefit auctions like this affect the art market? For nearly ten years now, we have countered the belief that auctions are merely charitable events that lead to a devaluation of artworks and the art market.
We also firmly reject the idea that there are too many artists, galleries, and magazines. Éditions esse’s role extends beyond that of critical analysis and documentation: it is also deeply committed to contributing to artistic proliferation. The eclecticism and scope of the works presented at Vendu–Sold represents a prescient example of this commitment.
On the occasion of our ninth auction, it’s important to remember that Vendu–Sold is much more than just an evening of events. The promotional work (relating to the artworks, artists, and partners) entails several months’ work, and the related documentation—the catalogue and web site—remain in circulation for a long time. When it comes to evaluating our success, therefore, I hold “symbolic capital” particularly close to my heart. This kind of capital can’t be calculated in dollars—in fact it often defies regular accounting. Instead, it represents the exposure and recognition that we and our partners receive thanks to this event. In a sense, symbolic capital is an expression of love and appreciation.
Obviously, love and recognition—although necessary and appreciated—are not enough to ensure the functioning of organizations such as ours or to secure the livelihoods of our artists. For this reason, your generous support as collectors and art lovers is paramount. Thank you for helping us, through your presence and acquisitions, to fund our projects and cultivate love and appreciation for our artists.
Sylvette Babin, Director of Éditions esse
Photo: © Jean-François Brière