All in finesse and delicacy, the booth of Jean-Louis Manem is a small theater where each weekend, shadows and lights make their representation. With sweetness and passion, this enlightened antique dealer will welcome you to present you his luminous treasures.
What is your background ?
Before being an antique dealer, I was a musician, composer, singer. I had a music store in La Defense that I kept for 10 years. One fine day, 30 years ago, a little by chance, I made a flea market with personal items and I loved it. I fell completely into it and over time, I documented a lot, I worked to acquire knowledge.
At first, I was a generalist, I made a lot of successions and sold in merchant unpacking. I settled in Paul Bert Serpette 7 years ago. Coming to hunt around on a Friday morning, a friend who worked here told me about his wish to sell his booth. Having really wanted to work there, I bought him. I did not really know where I was going but I like to take risks and put myself in danger to avoid the routine. It is also for this reason I just opened a new booth in alley 5 of Serpette.
What is your specialty?
I specialize in lighting from the 1940s to 1970s, mainly Italian. I love its warm and expressive side, the gilding and everything that shines! The pieces I present have, for the most part, been made manually in Italy and are very often inspired by plants, this is what makes me special.
Your red walls are also one of the special features of your booth, why this choice?
On the one hand, because the gilding appears very well on the red and on the other hand, I really like this color which recalls the theater and its curtains. We can undoubtedly draw links with my former activity as a musician…
What does Paul Bert Serpette represent for you?
For me, this market represents everything. All the trends leave from here. We have real good customers and Paul Bert Serpette is a truly international market, we reach a very large customer base in the unpacking. We meet very cultivated people, who sometimes know more than us about a piece. This allows us to go always further and to deepen our knowledge. For me, this is the market where you have to be and I won't move anymore…
And what does the antique trade represent for you?
For me it's a passion, it's like we are constantly looking for a treasure. When I go hunting, I never know what I'm going to come across, it's very stimulating, my eyes are open and sparkling. What I prefer in this job is to go in search of the object that I do not have. It is also a job that allows you to wander through France, Italy and I like going to the field, it's always full of twists and turns.
What object from your booth would you like to present to us?
I just bought a large palm tree from Maison Jansen which is quite exceptional. It has three heads, which is quite rare and measures 2m40, which is particularly large. It is a piece that I have been looking for for a long time and when I saw it, I immediately fell for it
This palm tree brings together everything I love, gold, plant forms and light. It is a piece that is at the crossroads of everything you can find on my booth.