Artcurial, the leading French auction house, has announced the death of Francois Tajan, its long-serving deputy chairman. The 57 year-old auctioneer died from food poisoning.

A spokeswoman for Artcurial said: “It is with great sadness that we confirm the death of François Tajan. As auctioneer and deputy chairman of Artcurial, he took the first French auction house to a new level, as much through his vision for the business as through his intellectual curiosity.”

He set up the jewellery department at Artcurial, which holds sales every January and July at the Hermitage Hotel in Monaco.

Asked by artmarket guru to give advice to someone attending an Artcurial auction for the first time, he said: “To enjoy themselves and to make purchases with their heart and the eyes, and not with their ears.”

PHOTO: Francois Tajan Artcurial announces death of deputy chairman