Young Collectors 2023 Art

A Jeweler and a Tech Impresario Fell in Love. Then They Had To Fuse Their Art Collections.

Portrait of Emmanuel Tarpin and Marc Ambrus with Albert Oehlen's Schallplattenexistenz, 2001.

This profile is part of CULTURED’s 2023 Young Collectors list.

Emmanuel Tarpin and Marc Ambrus grew up frequenting museums and galleries with their parents, and have oriented their lives around art ever since. For the couple, beauty is the raison d’être, and collecting is just one means of serving it. Every morning, when they wake up in their glassy SoHo sky box, they have breakfast beside an Albert Oehlen and a night sky by Thomas Struth. They spend their evenings in the wooden embrace of Charlotte Perriand and Pierre Jeanneret chairs, awash in the warm glow of their extensive collection of lamps. Their flat in Paris has its own aesthetic, but the couple assures me its confines are likewise filled to the brim.

Tarpin and Ambrus’s shared taste for the exquisite is not relegated solely to their living spaces. On Ambrus’s wrist, I spy a Cartier Crash—the perfect embodiment of a household in which the little things are held to the same high aesthetic standards as the big ones. Indeed, Tarpin, a jeweler, harbors a fondness for kinetic art (pieces that utilize gravity, time, and movement), which he luxuriated in during his four-year apprenticeship as a Van Cleef & Arpels bench jeweler. These hard skills—paired with his studies at the prestigious Geneva University of Art and Design, and a lifetime of sculpture work—culminated in the launch of his namesake atelier in 2017. Following in the footsteps of jewelers like Joel Arthur Rosenthal, Tarpin makes pieces that are one-of-a-kind: some are commissions; others are born of spontaneous inspiration and later devoured by his eager waitlist. “A piece of jewelry is something a person will give to their child,” explains Tarpin, “It will stay in the family. It’s something symbolic.” The natural world is often Tarpin’s jumping-off point, but over the years, art has become more of a reference.

Donald Judd's 101 Spring Street. Image courtesy of the Judd Foundation and MoMA.

Perhaps this shift in Tarpin’s influences is owed to the unique perspective of his tech entrepreneur partner, who was shaped by 1980s titans like Christopher Wool, Donald Judd, Martin Kippenberger, Struth, and Oehlen. Tarpin recalls that, though he was always impressed by Judd’s 101 Spring Street home, he did not relate to the work at first. “You changed my mind,” Tarpin says to Ambrus. “Judd is essential,” Ambrus replies, nodding. “Sometimes I make him change his mind, and he does the same,” Tarpin adds. Not long ago, the jeweler made a number of bracelets inspired in part by the 2020 Judd retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Beauty is an evolving rubric—the fluctuations of which the two lovers track with care—but always with the same wide-eyed awe of two children who once looked forward to a day at the museum.

Want to meet more young collectors? Read our profiles of Reilly Opelka, Hannah Bronfman, and Seth Stolbun.