July 20, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

Meet Century City: Jean Tardy-Vallernaud, Gainsborough Capital

Jean Tardy-Vallernaud.
Jean Tardy-Vallernaud.

Jean Tardy-Vallernaud leads a well-rounded and active life in both the corporate and artistic realms of Century City as the founder of an investment advisory firm and the chair of the Arts Council at the Century City Chamber of Commerce.

Can you tell me about what you do in Century City?

Three main activities:

(1) I run Gainsborough Capital LLC, the independent investment advisory firm I founded 13 years ago, with a focus on global private investing.

(2) I am also busy developing the art advisory practice, which I created as a formal business line two years ago.

(3) I serve as founding chair of the Arts Council of the Century City Chamber of Commerce, created in 2009, and as president of the Century City Arts and Culture Foundation, set up last year.

The art side is probably my most passionate and meaningful professional commitment.

What motivated you to get into this role?

1) Investment advisory followed an international career of almost three decades with large U.S. Financial institutions, with assignments in Europe, in New York and eventually here, where I have lived since 1985. I simply decided it was time to set up my own shop and offer my experience in the international markets to investors interested in diversifying their assets globally.

2) Art advisory was a natural evolution of what I was already doing with my art collecting clients. For years they asked me for opinions about their collections and introductions to sources of art…I am a very modest collector. And especially with my French family background and education, art has always been a part of my life. And so has the international arena. Today, I am very gratified that I have access to high-quality art both here and among European collections for my clients.

3) The Arts Council is another story: in 2009, I shared with Susan Bursk, then already CEO of the chamber, my concern that Century City’s architecture is as imposing as its other artistic and cultural life is, shall we say, ‘understated’? I felt an Arts Council could help both the community and the chamber, and Susan readily accepted that the council be a part of the chamber. I like to think she is very happy with that choice today. Credit also goes to Michael Carlin, then publisher of the Century City News, who was ever so supportive of the idea.

4) The Arts and Culture Foundation is a tax-exempt funding entity for the future activities of the council. Beyond our sculpture committee and our fabulous outdoor art exhibitions, we have grand plans for art and culture in our community – and beyond – and those plans will require funding an endowment.

Where did it all begin for you career-wise?

I’d like to say it was when I got my first job with a major New York bank upon my MBA graduation and was assigned to my first overseas position in Paris.

Today I am increasingly convinced that it really began when I set up the offices of Gainsborough Capital in Century City.  I function well here. My business and personal missions have more meaning here.

What do you love about Century City?

I love the resources and vibrancy of this community, its pool of talent and its variety of interests – Century City is a quality destination, a regional, if not a national business center. And beyond its business power and diversity, I have come to greatly enjoy the unique qualities of its permanent residents. It’s all about quality, you know?

I savor the architecture and the urban layout, and the direction it is taking. I love looking at the rising moon behind Fox Plaza, or peeking at the Century Towers through the 2000 Avenue of the Stars building. I am ever so relieved we have chosen to conserve the Century Plaza hotel building: the plaza/2000 Avenue of the Stars/Century Towers axis is one of the most imposing icons of urban architecture in all of Los Angeles.
My favorite eating venue is Breeze at the Century Plaza, especially the terrace at this time of the year – it’s peaceful and pleasing to the eye. Delightful staff.

My favorite break? A short walk, just about anywhere on Avenue of the Stars. Then again, my bias for the location may be due to the council’s sculpture exhibitions!

If you could add one component to the neighborhood, what would it be and why?

A theater. For obvious reasons – it’s lacking! I can feel that absence. We also need a sculpture garden, but I am confident that the Arts Council will eventually be working on that one.

What do you do in your spare time?

Art: galleries, museums, reading art history. Reading: novels and world affairs. Cinema, especially classic films. Travel, including discovering the parts of L.A. I don’t know. Walk on the beach. And time with my family and my wife, an artist herself.

What is one cool/unique activity you want to do this coming year?

I think I already did it. I just returned from the prestigious art fair in Maastricht, the Netherlands, where I spent three days connecting with old and new friends in the art market and seeing almost nothing but art and beauty. Then I went to spend one day with my 93-year-old mother and my two brothers in France.

Where was your last vacation?

Mexico city to catch up with the art in that great city, and to enjoy a traditional Christmas with my wife’s family. Then Puerto Vallarta for fun and a crazy New Year’s Eve party until the early morning.

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