Geneva art dealer Yves Bouvier has sold Natural Le Coultre (NLC), his family’s company that specializes in the storage, packaging, and transportation of art, to the French shipping business André Chenue for an undisclosed amount, Roland Rossier of Tribune de Genève reports. André Chenue beat out a number of American buyers who bid for NLC.
The business was founded in 1859 by Etienne Natural. In 1901, after Albert-Maurice Natural partnered with Emile-Etienne Le Coultre, it became A. Natural, Le Coultre & Cie. The Bouvier family bought the company in 1983, and in 1997, Bouvier narrowed its focus to the handling of art and sculpture. It is currently the largest tenant at the Genevea Free Ports. According to NLC director Franco Momente, the ownership transition will not result in job cuts. “We need everyone,” he said.
Bouvier is currently embroiled in legal troubles. He has been accused of overcharging Russian oligarch Dmitri Rybolovlev for several artworks by artists such as Henri Matisse, Paul Gauguin, Mark Rothko, and Leonardo da Vinci. In 2015 a Paris court also charged him with concealing the theft of two works by Pablo Picasso, which he also sold to Rybolovlev. According to the Art Newspaper, the Russian collector maintains that he was swindled out of $1 billion.