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A former high-level athlete and member of the French Greco-Roman wrestling team, Tarik Bougherira entered the world of art by managing one of the most prestigious private collections of First Empire objects in the world. For nine years, he built this collection so he could be able to sharpen his curiosity and his sense of expertise on this historically and artistically rich period. He founded Imperial Arts, an art gallery with a solid experience with the decorative arts of the “Empire style” present in Europe and Asia. Imperial Arts just dropped the first-ever NFT auction based on real-world historical objects that belonged to Napoleon.
1 — Why have you decided to launch an NFT project?
This year marks the bicentenary of Napoleon I’s death, as well as the 216th anniversary of the Battle of Austerlitz and the 217th anniversary of the emperor’s coronation. I always wanted to initiate a special event on this occasion, something unique that would be up to the celebration of such a great French and international historical figure. Above all, to be an expert is to develop a spirit of curiosity and a strong sensitivity through experience.
To be an expert, it is necessary to have an intellectual rigour that must be constantly fed by numerous readings and documentations to preserve a critical mind. This is how I was interested in blockchain and NFTs. The idea of creating an NFT collection of physical objects that belonged to Napoleon Bonaparte matched my ambition. Being the first art gallery to hold an auction of real historical works of art in NFT was an exciting project, the kind of project that make me proud to be an art collector.
2 — Do you think that the classical and Napoleonian art market could adapt to the blockchain revolution?
I do not see this auction as a communication coup that follows a current trend. I believe that blockchain and NFTs can change radically the art sector and the way we do our jobs as art collectors. Of course, until now, modern and digital arts have been more impacted by NFTs. But I hope that this sale will initiate a movement in classical art to get on the NFT bandwagon.
I want to use this technology to make new people fall in love with the passion of art collection. The Napoleonian art market is very active: new collectors and enthusiasts arrive every year. There is a strong focus on certain collectors in the market, and many others are more discreet collectors who build up formidable collections. Because Imperial Arts are well established in Europe and Asia, I hope we could build a bridge with new collectors that will discover the Napoleonian art market through this NFT sell!
3 — You believe that there is a future for blockchain in the art world?
After having worked in this auction, I can answer you positively. I still can feel that in the classical art sector, there is a mixture of incomprehension and perplexity. This is understandable: we try to change a market that has been untouched for hundreds of years! I met many of my fellow Napoleonian art passionate that asked me the real interest of NFTs and blockchain in art. I understand them, but I feel that the more we will try to do operations such as we did, the more they will catch the value of these technologies.