Elsa Halfen, the heart's choice

Elsa Halfen
Elsa Halfen

Discovering Elsa Halfen's booth is foremost immersing yourself in a universe. A universe of objects chosen with the heart, as you can feel it. Her course of action? Let her emotions speak, but above all transmit objects loaded with stories to sensitive amateurs and esthetes ... So it's your turn to express your sensitivity and go to meet her. 

What is your background ?

My professional career started in the advertising. This activity leaving me a lot of free time, I went regularly to Drouot, which for me is the best school, because you can see a large number of objects there. I first interested in primitive art and folk art. After 5 years, I decided to give up everything to open a shop that I kept for 15 years and in which I started selling folk art. I then left for 5 years to exercise my activity in the United States. When I returned to France, I wanted to find a partner because for me, working alone is not fulfilling. I already knew Clément Rosenzweig and I suggested to him an association, we have been working together for 15 years now. We started by doing trade fairs and after a while, instead of storing our goods while waiting for the next one, we found it wise to take a booth. That's how we got to Paul Bert Serpette. 

When we work in pairs, we are sharing and it allows us to look at things on which we might not have stopped. Clément studied at the Ecole du Louvre and has a much more classic course, there is a real complementarity between us. We have a fairly close taste, but he is a little more classic and will bring something else to my eyes. I may be more emotional than him, who is more academic. This is a beautiful association but above all a great friendship. 

What can you find on your booth?

I don't know if we really have a specialty… We like beautiful materials, fairly refined lines. We have great satisfaction in mixing genres and bringing harmony with different styles. You can find on our booth a Louis XVI piece of furniture with an abstract painting from the 60s, this is what brings things to life. This creates a dynamic and this is what we try to show, not to stop at one time but to mix things to create harmony.

How do you choose your pieces?

I can be moved by a material, a form ... The emotion often speaks first, it's really something difficult to describe ... When African art and popular art are attracted, we realize that they are the materials and shapes that affect us. Our job is to dare, to assume our taste and to impose it in a way. 

What does Paul Bert Serpette represent for you?

The richness of Paul Bert Serpette is its diversity, this mix of people with different backgrounds, different personalities. Paul Bert Serpette is the source. When we go hunting in the provinces, we realize that we would not find elsewhere such a quantity of object and such a beautiful selection. 

What is your relation to objects?

I have never been a collector, I find it hard to keep objects. What interests me is the transmission. I am more attached to the person who will buy the object because I enjoy sharing with people. I happened to have tears in my eyes not when I spoke about the object, but when I felt what the person was sending back to me. I am moved by the fact that an object of my selection can please someone else. When I do not have a good feeling with a person, it hurts my heart to give him a piece. Transmit an object is not harmless, we make him live a second life in another universe and it is up to us to create this other universe. Our responsibility is important. 

What is the object that is most important to you right now ?

Over time, it becomes harder and harder to have lightning strikes. I can present this abstract painting from the 70s that I like very much. I don't have much to say about it because what is important is what we can associate it with. Mixing abstract things from the 70s with much more classic objects is very interesting. The most important thing is the mixture and not the piece itself.