Gérard Mizel, the insatiable
As his booth, Gérard Mizel goes from one anecdote to another with inexhaustible fervor. Instinctive and curious, this antique dealer offers you a selection of eclectic pieces for which he will be able to tell you the legend and perhaps even convince you to love them…
Tell us about your background
I started by working in a design office as an industrial designer to finally resign following a disagreement with my technical director, listening only to the passion of my youth. At this same period my father being recovering, I embarked on the works to redo his room and make his daily life more pleasant. I thus discovered the installation of wallpaper, then trained in the installation of fabric. Thread in needle, the customers told me about projects more ambitious such as a kitchen to install, marble to do ... Everything that was asked of me, I accepted and trained on the job. The pleasure of learning, discovering, expanding my field of skills.
I started to print flyers to offer my services leading me to multiple adventures, as enriching as they were varied, which made me aware of decoration until becoming a decorator. In the 80s, I then opened my own boutique on rue Legendre, offering Chinese furniture and decorative items. Some time later, I settled further down, in the same street, to open a more broc-oriented boutique. I began to flirt with the world of antiques…
How did you end up becoming an antique dealer?
A childhood friend, also a settled at Paul Bert Serpette, put me in the stirrup. One day, he helped me distribute flyers to individuals to find antiques to buy. I quickly realized that this job was made for me. I was able to hunt around, trust my eye, let my taste speak and then offer it to others and make a living in this way. I then developed my network, I sold my finds in my store. Then friends also took me to unpack on the sidewalks, in Vanves for example. I consider myself lucky, everything went pretty well for me.
Why did you settle in Paul Bert Serpette?
At each unpacking and fair that I did, I sold to Paul Bert Serpette's antique dealers. I knew St Ouen well but I was intrigued by the reputation of Paul Bert Serpette and the influence of its antique dealers, present everywhere to find gems. I thus decided that it would be wise to settle at the source, there where antique dealers and professionals of the environment swarm. I arrived around 1998, if my memories are good, and I sold Empire, Jacob, XXth century furniture. I very quickly realized that the reputation of the market was justified, it is a fabulous point of sale where renowned professionals and sophisticated customers from around the world come to hunt.
What is your relationship to the profession?
I consider myself a bit of a trader. I always did and bought what I liked in life, the feeling of freedom is very important to me. I buy to sell, but I have confidence in my choices. I really love it. Recently I bought a XVIIth century Dutch chest of drawers, without even knowing what decor I could integrate it. I still try to organize my booths harmoniously in order to offer customers a view of relatively coherent whole. The Clientele of Paul Bert Serpette has a trained eye and knows what she wants. Once on my booth, each client focuses their eye on the style to which they are sensitive.
It is all a question of feeling, I am sometimes attracted by pieces without even knowing their history, signature or origin, this work is done after purchase in this case. The relationship to the object is almost like order of the intimate, of confidence, we can be attracted by a part in an almost irresistible way. A friend used to say "When you buy a large part, think first of how much you are ready to lose! »There is a notion of risk to take into account in the impulse to buy, which is also a little paradoxical. It is essential to trust yourself and trust your intuition.
I enjoy comparing our activity to the eclecticism of my musical tastes. I like listening to classical as well as jazz and varying the songs according to my mood, like my booth. You find today a XXth century Danish sofa and armchairs set but tomorrow I can very well buy a tomb dresser…
Tell us about a piece you care about
It is a pair of armchairs by Ettore Sottsass, an Italian architect and designer that I love very much. It is rare to find a pair for sale. As a former industrial designer, his architectural work inspires me. I had an immediate crush on these armchairs, I bought them on photo before I even saw them. The colors are special and make me think of Harlequin's multicolored costume. They date from the 80s and the fabric is in perfect condition, I never tire of contemplating them like real little works of art.