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Descended from a family of antiques dealers and experts in Islamic art, Laure Soustiel is the fifth generation to follow the family tradition.

The Soustiel company was founded under the Ottoman Empire in 1883 by Moïse Soustiel (1836-1916) who took over the company from his father Abraham. Based in Salonika (Thessaloniki), the family also owned several shops and warehouses in Istanbul, Sarajevo and Skopje. In 1913, the business was transferred to Istanbul, where it was run by Moïse’s son, Haïm (1871-1939).

In 1921, his son Joseph Soustiel (1904-1990) left Istanbul for Paris. In 1926, he went into partnership with a French antiques business that was based at 26 rue Grange-Batelière and traded under the sign « Art Musulman ». In 1935, Joseph married Irène, his associate’s daughter, and they set up business at 146 boulevard Haussmann where the gallery of Islamic art was to remain until 2004. He was an antiques dealer of great renown, and made valuable contributions to numerous public and private collections.

Carte de visite de Joseph Soustiel dans les années 1950

Joseph and Irène in costume, at the home of the collector Emile Chesneau Marçais, in 1932

Their son Jean Soustiel (1938-1999) continued in this tradition. He was named an expert in 1963 and took part in many public sales, several of which involved highly prestigious collections. He organised numerous exhibitions on Islamic objets d’art and Indian miniatures, and then took over the gallery in 1983. He devoted a very large part of his life to ceramic art and published a reference book on Islamic ceramics in 1985. He was working on a study of tiles from Central Asia when he fell ill and died.

So it was quite natural that Laure Soustiel should take over the business from her father Jean. After studying at the École du Louvre and at university, she started her career in 1987 at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, and then went to England where she spent two years at Sotheby’s as an expert in their Islamic department, then two years at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. She returned to France where she was named as an expert at the S.F.E.P. in 1993. She also took part in numerous public sales. On the death of her father she took over the gallery, which she ran until its closure in 2004. She wrote several articles and works on ceramics and organised an exhibition on Ottoman ceramics at the Jacquemart André museum in Paris in 2000. She now runs her business from Aix-en-Provence in the South of France.

Joseph, Irène and Jean Soustiel with two Japanese clients in front of the shop in Bd Haussmann in 1965

Laure et Jean Soustiel en juillet 1997


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