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Elie Schonfeld

La peau de l’ours was invited in Albert Pepermans ‘studio, in the company of Elie Schonfeld. The Antwerp gallery owner and collector tells us about his role as an art influencer for La peau de l’ours.
Here, we paint a portrait of a man who tells us about his relationship with art and presents two artists from his curatorial selection.

The Influencer

Elie was born and grew up in Antwerp, where he decided after a year of law school to take over the family business specializing in diamonds. His passion for art began at a young age when he would go with his grandfather every Sunday to the flea markets and auction houses of Belgium.

A collector for over 20 years, Elie then decided to open his gallery, a mix between a cabinet of curiosities from his personal collection and exhibitions dedicated to the artists he represents.

The Collector

Elie began his collection at the age of 20 when he bought a piece from Franco-Belgian painter Gaston Bogaert and another from artist Alain Kleinmann.
He then became interested in sculpture and bought his first piece from Italian sculptor Matteo Pugliese.

Unlike some collectors, he doesn’t impose any strict artistic line but instead considers his collection a trace of his evolution, a reflection of the people he has met and his discoveries.

His collection as a trace of his evolution, a mirror of his encounters and discoveries.

Elie tells us that at the moment he is focused on photography and that he recently acquired a piece from Dutch photographer Erwin Olaf.

When he ask him what two moments particularly stand out from all these years dedicated to art, he immediately tells us about a retrospective of the Polish painter Tamara de Lempicka at the Palazzo Reale in Milan and, more recently, about the exhibition “Not Afraid of Love” by artist Maurizio Cattelan at the Monnaie de Paris.

The Gallery Owner

It all began with the discovery of a building that once housed a bank in the centre of Antwerp. Elie saw in this site an opportunity to create a space dedicated to exhibiting the artists he had met over his years as a collector. He decided to gather his team and put together an initial selection of artists. Following major renovation works, the Artelli Gallery opened its doors in February 2015.

Elie still puts its collection together with the help of his team today. When we ask him what their selection criteria are, he answers simply:

To exhibit an art, I need to be able to evoke its strength and intensity in just a few words...

But, for the gallery owner,the success of his selection goes beyond sales and really occurs when there is a subtle complicity between the visitor and him.

Particularly attached to developing their artists, Elie and his team today focus on the presence of their artists in public institutes and cultural foundations.

Elie’s Selection for La peau de l’ours

As an influencer for La peau de l’ours, Elie has decided to introduce us to two artists, Albert Pepermans and Sylvain Polony, both part of the solid core of the Artelli Gallery.

He has chosen:

Albert Pepermans, for his figurative creations, the multiplicity of techniques used and the pugnacity of his creations.

Elie likes the effect of his large formats on paper, in which Albert uses symbols borrowed from Pop Art, American Comics and 1950s cinema. He is particularly fond of Albert’s Créations Brutes series and his portraits of Andy Warhol.

Sylvain Polony, for his bond with the plant and mineral world.

He loves the technique Sylvain uses, this work in progress and the precise selection of materials that Elie connects to his architectural studies. The meeting of a precise creative process and the use of unexpected elements.


Photos : Miles Fischler

Elie Schonfeld's curatorial selection