France's Sinclair mines family art history for comeback

Thu Jun 16, 2016 9:59am EDT
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By Paul Taylor

PARIS (Reuters) - Delving into the history of a family art business she once shunned, French celebrity journalist Anne Sinclair is returning to public life by reconnecting with her roots.

She was France's star television interviewer in the 1980s and 1990s. But her gilded life was upended five years ago when her husband, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, was arrested in New York on charges, since dropped, of sexual harassment of a hotel maid.

While U.S. prosecutors investigated the case that forced the Socialist politician to resign as managing director of the International Monetary Fund and abandon plans to run for president in France, Sinclair stood by her man in public - before divorcing him after their return to Paris.

She used some of their "sad, enforced stay" in New York to research a book on her grandfather, Paul Rosenberg, one of Europe's greatest 20th century art merchants, who was the exclusive dealer of Picasso, Braque and Matisse.

"When I was growing up, my family told me a lot about him but I wanted to be on my own and make my career outside of the art family," Sinclair, 67, now editorial director of the French edition of the Huffington Post online newspaper, told Reuters in an interview.

More than 60 masterpieces that went through Rosenberg's galleries in Paris and New York - some looted by the Nazis and recovered after World War Two - will go on display for the first time together in the Belgian city of Liege in September.

The exhibition of works from public and private collections, including a couple of Sinclair's personal heirlooms, will tell the story of "21 rue La Boetie", the address of Rosenberg's pre-war Paris gallery. It was raided by the Nazis in 1940 and handed to their French collaborators, who turned it into an anti-Semitic propaganda center.

"A gallery that was a temple of art became a temple of horror," Sinclair said.   Continued...

French journalist Anne Sinclair speaks during an interview with Reuters in Paris, France, June 13, 2016. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen