From London trader to Riviera collector with his own classical art museum in Mougins – some step! The 43-year-old Englishman has made a resounding success of moving from one world to the other.
His eyes twinkle and he exudes joie de vivre, but Chris Levett also demonstrates a very British composure that has served him well. As a London trader and the founder of Clive Capital, he figured 17th in the Forbes list. But finance is fickle. "You win and lose, prices go up and down; you mustn't let it get to you. It's a tough, aggressive business, whereas collecting art is sociable and enjoyable – my way of winding down."
From finance to ancient art
Chris Levett has always loved history: "My parents took me to castles and cathedrals and I was fascinated by ancient times. When I visited Pompey I saw that its people lived more or less like us; it was all about aesthetics. I started collecting when I was eight." Levett possesses the qualities indispensable to a collector: curiosity, perseverance and that little grain of folly that spurs you on. More than art, history is what fascinates and thrills him.
Mougins, a perfect showcase
Charmed by the Côte d’Azur, Levett has lived in Monaco and has now settled his family in Old Mougins and there opened his Musée d'Art Classique displaying sculpture, vases, coins, jewellery and the world's largest private collection of ancient weapons, helmets and armour. The perfect way to share with the public these pieces he would never dream of selling. And linking the centuries together, he also displays contemporary sculptures, paintings and drawings alongside his antiquities. "The artworks were purchased later to "match" with the ancient pieces." Busts of emperors, Olympian gods and goddesses, and Ancient Egyptian artefacts rub shoulders with Toulouse-Lautrec, Calder, Chagall, Modigliani. The museum has already won a number of accolades*. Being a gourmet too and immensely fond of "his" Mougins, the collector has now combined his passions by buying L'Amandier and La Place, with the blessing of chef Denis Fétisson, where he exhibits pictures and photos of celebrities. Chris Levett certainly has a well-developed success gene!