Frédéric Jousset, the frenetic art of business

By Gaspard Dhellemmes

Posted on December 26, 2021 at 1:43 a.m. – Updated on December 27, 2021 at 2:57 p.m.

Frédéric Jousset, at the Cité internationale des arts de Montmartre, in Paris, in the studio of artist-in-residence Anri Sala, on November 19, 2021.

Frédéric Jousset had been telling us about his life as an adventurer businessman for about an hour. Whirlwind of nine-digit financial assemblies, ascent of Shishapangma in Tibet, horseback riding in the pampas, hunts in Tajikistan, parts of skiing in the Caucasus and speeding up the tracks of Le Mans behind the wheel of his 1964 AC Cobra. So many exploits that earned him to be portrayed by the business press as French Largo Winch, this daredevil billionaire comic book hero. Suddenly he leans forward, his eyes shining and twisting: “Three weeks ago, I almost died. “

He recounts without being asked the tragedy which occurred on September 12: he was spinning off Tuscany on his 1.2 ton catamaran when a swerve catapulted him onto a capstan. “I suffered, screamed, unimaginable pain”, he remembers, sitting in an office at Fine Arts Magazine, monthly he bought himself in 2016. During his transfer to the hospital, a rib punctured his pleura, triggering a pneumothorax. “Within a few minutes, I was dying”, he said in his deep voice.

Followed three weeks “Atrocious” at the hospital in Grosseto, Italy, then in Tenon, in Paris. Once he got back on his feet, Frédéric Jousset published for its 4,600 Instagram followers a photo of him in the hospital, shirtless and covered with electrodes, breathing mask on his face. Before calling the Karmitz brothers, owners of MK2 cinemas, ” friends “, in order to organize for a “Thirty friends” a preview of To die can wait, the latest James Bond.

Patron of the “start-up nation” sauce

A taste for risk, flamboyance, interpersonal skills and a keen sense of direction: the episode says a lot about Frédéric Jousset. Whoever, at 51, dreams of himself as the new prince of the French art world is eager for thrills and light. The man, who grew rich in call centers with Webhelp, now revisits the figure of the patron in a “start-up nation” style.

A year ago, he gave up all his operational functions to Webhelp, of which he remains a 23% shareholder, to devote himself to his foundation, Art Explora. The 201e professional fortune in France (500 million euros in 2021), according to Challenges, also appears as an early support of Emmanuel Macron: he was the midwife of the Culture Pass, cultural emblem of the five-year term.

“When Frédéric told me about his foundation project, he told me very seriously that he wanted to create the Greenpeace of art. »Bruno Julliard, Director of Art Explora

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Frédéric Jousset, the frenetic art of business