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Aurelie Deplus

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Artsper has met with Aurélie Deplus, Director of Société Générale’s art collection, who, starting June 12, will become more open to the public. We have asked her a few questions.

1. What is your mission as a Director of Société Générale’s art collection?

My job revolves around three main directions:
- strengthening the opening of the collection to the general public, and especially to young audiences, thanks to the partnerships we established in order to initiate a new dialog with students.
- promoting the Collection internationally, in order to respond to the diversity of subsidiaries of the group and to the deployment of the art world today.
- conceiving synergies between the different axes of Groupe Société Générale’s corporate philanthropic initiatives - solidarity, music and contemporary art - to develop large-scale projects.

2. How long has this collection existed and how was it acquired?

Initiated in 1995, Société Générale’s Collection has brought together nearly 350 original works and 700 lithographs, editions and serigraphs. Structured around three axes - painting, sculpture, photography -, it brings together works by famous artists and pieces by emerging talents. Since its origin, it is permanently accessible to employees, and it is actually exhibited in the Société Générale towers in La Défense and in our headquarters in Val de Fontenay.


3. At a time when corporate art collections are growing, do you think that businesses have become the new art patrons?

Businesses have been very important patrons for several years already, but they are not the only ones. The world of art needs the support of all its players - companies, foundations, private collectors, and institutions - to boost the sector and promote new vocations for the art patrons.


4. You have chosen Jean-Michel Othoniel for a commission for September 2014. Are you particularly keen on promoting French artists?

As a French company, we are keen on supporting French artists, but this was not a criterion for the selection. Half of the artists in the Collection are foreign, and this corresponds to the diversity of the Group and to our international presence.

5. What are the collection’s projects for the years to come?

It is a little early to speak about the next years. We have a rich program this year because we are celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Group with new works on show in the Défense premises on the theme of travel, we have an exhibition of a selection of works from the Collection that will travel to the Multimedia Museum in Moscow, we are supporting the cultural event Le Musée Passager, we loan works by Moroccan artists from SG Morocco to the Institute of the Arab World in Paris and we organize an exhibition at the LACC Dunkirk at the end of the year.
We are also working on the opening of the collection by launching for the first time, from June 12, a program viewings of the collection in Défense for the public. The ones who are interested can registrater for these tours via our internet site.

6. What do you think of Artsper and the sale of fine art online?

I think that the arrival of new players is positive and contributes to the dynamic of the market. Sites like Artsper contribute to promote contemporary art upon new audiences, and to generate new collectors’ roles. Nevertheless, when we acquire works for the collection, we do not buy at auctions or online, we only buy from galleries.

7. What is the cultural event that you can’t wait for in 2014?

Personally, I was particularly impressed by the Bill Viola exhibition at the Grand Palais.
For the Collection, we can’t wait to unveil Jean-Michel Othoniel’s piece at our Basalt tower in La Défense.

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