Sébastien Montabonel is the founder and partner of the cultural strategy agency Montabonel & Partners. He’s also the Chair of Trustees of the Foundation Art Institutions of the 21st Century which he established in 2017 to author research in the cultural field in support of art professionals.
He has advised governments on cultural policy, initiated foundations and private museums, devised strategies for artists’ estates, run international think tanks with leading figures in the art world, managed major curatorial projects in the form of international exhibitions and education events such as international symposia, as well as transacted on a large number of seminal artworks.
Montabonel’s many years of experience as a European Senior Specialist in Contemporary Photography at Phillips de Pury led him to collaborate with important private collections: advising the Tate Modern in the acquisition of the Jacobson/Hashimoto Collection; initiating The Private Collector Project in partnership with the Saatchi Gallery, London, organising the first public display of the Franks-Suss Collection (2010) and the exhibition of the Juan Yarur Contemporary Art Collection (2010); personal consultancy to the royal family of Abu Dhabi on major cultural projects.
Recent projects have included Media in the Expanded Field (2015), Going Public: International Art Collectors in Sheffield (2015), the European Summit: How can public art institutions unlock the potential of philanthropy? (2015), Lewis Baltz with works by Carl Andre and Charlotte Posenenske (2016), Art Institutions of the 21st Century (2016) and Cindy Sherman: Early works 1975-80 (2019).
He is also a Tate Patron, as well as nominator for both the Prix Pictet and the Inamori Foundation for the Kyoto Prize 2018 and was on the curatorial committee for Photo London 2015 and 2017.
In 2006, he founded Alaska Editions, a bespoke imprint focusing on artists’ editions and specialist documents including publications such as Dominique Lambert (2010), Lost and Found (2011), Pictures of Hell (2014), Lewis Baltz with works by Carl Andre and Charlotte Posenenske (2016). He has most recently authored and co-written with Diana Vives the research publication When Financial Products Shape Cultural Content (2018).
To his substantial knowledge of Contemporary Art and its socio-cultural environment, Sebastien Montabonel contributes his expertise in publishing, as former European head of Contemporary photography at Philips de Pury. Prior to focusing on the art market, Montabonel was an award-winning creative director in advertising on such accounts as Air France, Orange, T-mobile, Nissan, Air New Zealand and Blackberry, among others.