In 1991, Didier Marien, a renowned authority on rugs and tapestries of every epoch, gained immediate success when he opened his first gallery on the chic Avenue Matignon in Paris. Despite his triumph, Mr. Marien’s most ardent ambition remained to establish himself in New York City. Cut to nine years later, and gallery pro’s dream was realized upon cutting the ribbon on his second gallery, located on lower Madison Avenue. Following that were years of hopscotching from Brussels and other world capitals to open more galleries. Finally, Mr. Marien decided to raise the curtain on Boccara, his most special gallery ever, a flagship location at 232 East 59th Street, right in the heart of the design center of the city that has so long enticed him.
There, under one roof, are showcased antique and contemporary rugs and tapestries by some of the greatest artists of the 20th century, including Sonia Delaunay, Jean Lurçat, Alexander Calder, Fernand Léger, Wassily Kandinsky and Victor Vasarely.
Besides these offerings, the luxurious 8,000-square foot space allows Mr. Marien room to present diverse selections in other decorative categories, including a glamorous furniture collection that he and Jean-Yves Lanvin–the great grandson of couturier Jeanne Lanvin-have created over the last ten years. With strong lines and the bold use of onyx, rock crystal, pink quartz, polished cast brass and bronze, the limited-edition pieces–handmade in Lanvin’s own foundry and workshop–embody an avant-garde sculptural approach with a focus on asymmetry.
Boccara also deals in sculpture and contemporary paintings by internationally acclaimed artists like André Lanskoy, Léon Zack, Pollès, Serge Charchoune, Flore Sigrist and Clement Rosenthal. Additionally, Mr, Marien collaborates with a group of selected artists—Anna Mac, Ellen Richman, François Bonnel, Benjamin Ewing and David Stein—to break new ground in innovative rug designs. “Each artist not only creates the design but at every step of manufacture maintains control over the project,” he explains. “The artistic rugs are not mere reproductions of the artists’ paintings but are also artistic pieces in their own right.” A designer himself, Mr. Marien has recently given life to an art rug called “Spirit.” Rounding out the textiles at Boccara is an extensive assortment of 18th to 20th-century Aubusson and Savonnerie rugs.
Says Mr. Marien: “My mission is to elevate the tapestries, so they garner the same respect that is accorded the highest levels of painting or sculpture.” Along that line, he has pledged to discover new artists, having already launched the careers of Emile Giolli, Mathieu Matégot and Marc Sans-Saëns.
In conclusion, he states: “I’m very excited to welcome interior designers, museum directors, curators and all design aficionados to visit my new space and see the splendid works of art that Boccara has. I am just so proud to show the world what pleases and excites my eye and hopefully will please and excite theirs!”
Born in the French region of Aubusson, Mr. Marien is a member of the Chambre Européenne des Experts-Conseil en Oeuvres d’Art (CECOA), the Confederation Internationale des Négociants en Oeuvres d’Art (CINOA) and the Association of Art & Antiques Dealers (LAPADA). His gallery regularly participates in the largest international art fairs, including The Winter Show in New York, Art Miami, Masterpiece London, LAPADA Art & Antiques Fair, PAD Paris and Fine Art Asia in Hong Kong.