Art Corruption, Thefts Alleged At Hôtel Drouot

Hôtel Drouot auction corruptionHôtel Drouot, France’s oldest, largest, most storied and most profitable auction. DolceTracker| Jean-Claude Binoche, a Hôtel Drouot auctioneer from the esteemed house in Paris, denies that the commissionaires are dishonest. Convicted of embezzlement in 2006, Mr. Binoche and other defenders of the status quo, that was just the way things worked.

“We tell the truth from morning until night,” he said. “I don’t understand why, in their hearts, people don’t believe it.”

The authorities “don’t understand anything,” he insisted. “For them — a bit like all the French — art should be in museums, it should be forbidden to own any.” Today’s NYTimes reveals the seemingly scandalous reality of business in France’s oldest art house.