Malat’s mission is to open the door to would-be art collectors and budding artists. Known for championing emerging names, the first exhibition at the JD Malat Gallery showcases the work of Henrik Uldalen, a self-taught artist he discovered on Instagram just eighteen months ago.
For Jean David-Malat, the irrepressibly charmant art dealer to the stars, buying art is a rite of passage – just like getting married, or having children. “Celebrities buy art like everyone. When you have the house, the family, why not? Then you need the art,” he declares.
“It’s a good way to entertain when you have dinner in your house – just like talking about wine. It’s also about stature: if someone has a Jeff Koons or a Damien Hirst, they’re proud of it.”
The 43-year-old is sitting in his new gallery next to Claridges, which opens its doors to the public on 11th June 2018. The well-connected Malat is one of the most powerful people in the art world, and has worked with a glittering roll call of friends and clients: Kate Moss, Bono, Madonna, Gordon Ramsay, Dolce and Gabbana… “You want a Picasso, I have a Picasso, you want a Bacon I can find you a Bacon, a Condo, I can find you a Condo,” he assures me.
“I’m so happy to see Henrik’s rise. We’ve come a long way from a discussion we had in Soho House a few months ago, and now his exhibition is on the wall…when he came and saw it he was very sensitive to it. He’s young, you know? 31 years old. It gave me a good feeling,”
Malat admits earnestly.
“Of course, I often deal with masterpieces, if that’s what clients want – but the way it feels to push a young artist internationally, and give collectors the opportunity to buy before the price goes up – that’s very exciting. You need to create a desire, a buzz”.
It’s easy to see why Malat’s celebrity clientele trust him so. He possesses the distinct quality of authenticity in spades- and there’s no hard sell involved.