Meet Anne Kolivanoff

20 Feb 2014

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Anne KolivanoffAfter studying law and specializing in the history of art, Anne Kolivanoff earned her diploma as an Art Auctioneer but never actually took up the profession! After trying her hand at antiques dealer and art dealer, she has become a recognized authority and lecturer on the workings of the art market, objets d’art and tableware; she also teaches on a regular basis at the professional training institute attached to the Hotel Drouot in Paris. We met her...

Where does your interest in fine tableware and setting the scene for a meal come from ?

As a qualified auctioneer, I am supposed to focus on all different types of works of art, objects of “general interest”.  However, I worked in an antiques gallery specializing in “fine tableware” for a number of years and once you get a taste for something it is difficult to stop.  I dived headfirst into this world and have remained there ever since!!  I learned to love fine tableware by being surrounded by it on a daily basis.  I then started to examine the history of fine tableware throughout the centuries, the dining customs that went with it and eventually the “ceremonial” side with Kings and Princes.

Tableware plays a very important role in the art of entertaining.  Do you believe this is the case ?

Of course!  Any important party must have an exquisitely presented table, the two go hand in hand!  This is, in fact, why I criticize top restaurants, which do not, in my opinion, put enough effort into “decorum”.  I know that it is logistically very difficult for them to have beautiful tableware but I really dislike their “standardized” tables.

"When it looks good, it tastes good":  Do you believe that the content of a plate influences our sensorial perception and appreciation of a dish and a wine ?

There is an influence but it is fleeting.  Our taste buds soon bring us back down to earth!

Does fine tableware still have something to offer in the face of new consumer trends and evolutions in the art of entertaining ? 

Fine tableware has managed to evolve with new ways of living and entertaining: Objects have become simpler to use and to maintain. Nevertheless, for those who are passionate about “traditional” fine tableware and who have time to go antique hunting, thousands of delightful objects found in auctions or at second-hand markets will allow them to lay a unique table!

Finally, a taste sensation that you still remember today ?

Veal sweetbreads in a pastry crust which I had in a very good restaurant in Paris.

During a conference on March 13, Anne Kolivanoff will invite you to discover the origins of gastronomy, the first restaurants and their menus, as well as 'artist' cooks and their cookbooks, with numerous illustrations. Book your seat now.

Institut des Hautes Etudes du Goût, de la Gastronomie et des des Arts de la Table

  • Phone: +33 6 60 46 40 81
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