Deceased November 24, 2022
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Sadly, Jean-Yves passed away on Nov. 24, 2022, at his home near Tours, France. He is survived by his wife, Chantal; two children, Eric and Caroline; and five grandchildren.
After his French high school baccalaureate, Jean-Yves started at Amherst (first-generation college) as a sophomore. Junior year, he studied sociology (major) abroad at the Université de la Sorbonne, France, and lived senior year off campus with his bride, Chantal. Marrying her was his best decision ever. At Amherst, he stood out for his ever-present French peasant hat; pronounced accent; and readiness to debate, never in doubt, whether right or wrong.
Postgrad, Jean-Yves planned upon a journalism career in France. Instead, he became an antiques dealer, starting from nothing. Sharp business acumen and an eye for “good stuff” earned him success. He had a shop at the Paris Flea Market (an Amherst decal displayed on the window) and, with daughter Caroline, maintained others in London and NYC. His merchandise was showcased in major antique exhibitions in the United States and Europe over the years. He was highly active in antiques organizations, including teaching about antiques at l’Ecole des Antiquaire de Paris.
Turning point: Jean-Yves came upon the then-bankrupt Royal Manufacture of Aubusson Tapestries. Seeing opportunity, he purchased a large supply of “carton de tapestry.” These are century-old, hand-painted exemplars used to standardize manufacturing of finished tapestry or wall decor. Nowadays, these models could guide historically correct restorations or give an authentic old look to new homes. Jean-Yves repurposed the “Aubusson tapestry cartoons” into framed standalone art pieces. In so doing, he founded a new antique niche and became a leading authority on their history. Such Aubusson tapestry cartoons grew into a cornerstone of his store’s offerings.
Jean-Yves was always proud of being a French Amherst man.
Harry LaRacuente ’71, Eric Lhomond and Mike Simko ’71