The ‘casa’ is open

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PH auction house makes European art accessible

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In classic spy movies and noir masterpieces, auctions almost always involve fabulous garb, paddle boards that rise incessantly and coveted pieces whose prices can blow the roof.

It is therefore not surprising that auctions have long been regarded as an exclusive event for the higher class.
While there is some truth in the extravagance of this activity—in larger auction houses like Chritie’s, that is—in real life, Europe’s own auction houses have actually made the activity more accessible for people from all walks of life.

Casa de Memoria auction house offers European classic and contemporary pieces that may not be readily available to Filipino art enthusiasts

The same concept is what Casa de Memoria, a young auction house based in Makati, want to bring to the Philippines.

“Art with these large auction houses like Christie’s has inflated some uppity where as art, especially for me, should be your connection to that piece. We really want to elevate the auction scene, where there is more variety and more need from people from all walks of life,” Camille Lhuillier, Casa de Memoria’s marketing manager shared during a small huddle with the press.

“I found that people are intimidated by the process of bidding. I think people regard auctions as always like this amazing thing made for the high end buyer and collector. That’ because I think in the Philippines we are so used to seeing prices like up to 40 to 50 million for Filipino paintings,” the young art patron continued.

Aware with the notion that Filipinos have, Lhuillier and Casa Memoria therefore know that accessibility is the name of their game from the onset.

The passion to make art accessible roots from Lhuillier’s belief that more than an investment, art is something one should really fall in love for.

Camille Lhuillier, Casa de Memoria’s marketing manager, is a firm believer that art should be accessiblePHOTOS BY RENE H. DILAN

“Yes it is an investment, yes it is something to hang in your home with pride but we also think that art is something that will cultivate you to a different level of being—you can learn from it, it can basically beautify your life. Therefore, instead of it thinking about it as just an investment art should also be something you really like,” Lhuillier remarked.

With that, Lhuillier further described the kind of thinking they would love for their buyers and bidders to have towards a piece.

“When bidding for a piece that you like, it should be the first thing that you see and what that means to you. So we don’t think it should be who made it or how much this artist is worth. We’re more of, ‘I see this beautiful painting and I would love to have this in my home and share it with other people.’ That’s really what our message is,” Lhuillier stated.

Located at the corner of Jupiter and Comet streets in Bel-Air, Lhuillier said their name means house of memories.

“We want to be the middle ground between let’s say the former owner who loved his item, and pass it down to the whole family to the next owner. Part of our job is looking for people to auction and to know what the clients want and look for certain pieces that they like,” Lhuillier described.

Having fully established their passion of bringing art to people, Lhuillier allowed The Sunday Times Magazine to know why she has such fervor towards the advocacy.

“I grew up in Europe and lived in Rome from when I was 7 years old until college. My father was an ambassador there and he was always interested in art. So it came very easily for me,” Lhuillier recalled adding that during her formative years, going to a museum for the weekend is a common activity among kids of 10 or 12 years of age.

“There’s like a dialogue that’s very natural and normal there whereas in other places it might not be,” Lhuillier added.

The young art advocate then happily noted the changes she has seen in the local art scene.

“It’s nice to see that scene is growing. The gallery scene, for one—there are really amazing thinkers who are just doing amazing, big things out there,” Lhuillier

Wrapping up the roundtable discussion, Lhuillier summarized Casa de Memoria’s ultimate goal and said, “We just love art and we want people to love it as well.”

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