The 20th anniversary edition of Art Paris Art Fair, which brought together 142 galleries from 22 countries from April 5th – 8th 2018, saw a record number of visitors with a total of 58,789 from 50 different countries, in other words an 8 % increased compared to 2017.
The record attendance was noticeable right from the start: the preview was attended by 17,255 visitors (an increase of 10 % compared to 2017) and both “An overview of the French scene” – a themed selection showcasing the work of 20 artists to mark the fair’s 20th anniversary curated by François Piron – and the rich programme devoted to this year’s guest of honour, Switzerland, were both very successful. Thanks to Karine Tissot, visitors were able to discover the work of emerging Swiss talents, both on the gallery stands and as part of various side projects such as the Project Room, digital projections on the façade of the Grand Palais, wall art and “Panorama”, an exhibition presenting works from the Helvetia Art Collection.
A lot of the visitors praised the quality of the fair and its original positioning. Art Paris Art Fair allows visitors to discover or rediscover artists and provides a wide variety of perspectives on the different European scenes, whilst hosting a wide diversity of creations from all around the world – Asia, Russia, Africa and the Middle East – with this year the noteworthy participation of the Misk Art Institute, which focuses on the emerging Saudi art scene.
The fair was pleased to welcome 99 friends of museum groups and art circles (compared to 79 in 2017), mainly from France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Italy and Switzerland.
These included: the Zürcher Kunstgesellschaft patrons of the Kunsthaus Zurich, Spirit Now (London), Les Amis de la Fondation Guerlain, The Friends of the Museum of Women in the Arts (Washington), FLUXUS, and Le Wiels Club (Brussels). Numerous celebrities were spotted at the fair including: Charlotte Rampling, Joey Starr, Pascal Obispo, Rick Owens, Laurent Fabius, Jack and Monique Lang, François Pinault, Edouard Carmignac and Jean-Jacques Aillagon, as well as representatives of Paris’ cultural institutions such as Fabrice Hergott (Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris), Jean de Loisy (Palais de Tokyo), Catherine David (Centre Pompidou), Laurence des Cars (Musée d’Orsay) and Laurence Engel (Bibliothèque Nationale de France) amongst others. Around one hundred specialised guided tours were organised for collectors with the help of the Observatoire de l’Art Contemporain. Almost 650 French and international journalists were accredited during the fair. Sales were generally good and even excellent on the last day after a rather slow start – the transport strikes on April 3rd and 4th having prevented a certain number of foreign visitors and people from other regions of France from attending the fair. The fair’s many monographic exhibitions drew the attention of collectors – this year there were 36 solo shows and their interest rewarded those galleries who had accepted to take a risk. Hessie’s feminist body of work at Galerie Arnaud Lefebvre was a major discovery that met with unanimous acclaim. The gallery sold 8 pieces, including two embroideries for between 10,000 and 15,000 euros. Galerie Oniris – Florent Paumelle found purchasers for 12 works by Geneviève Asse, the great lady of abstraction famous for her blue monochromes, for prices ranging from 6,500 to 55,000 euros. Several psychedelic paintings by Frédéric Pardo, an artist who was a key figure of French counter-culture in the 70s, were sold by Galerie Loevenbruck, reaching between 14,000 and 38,000 euros and 4 large-format stencilled pieces by 80s street art pioneer Blek Le Rat sold for 45,000 euros each on the stand of Galerie Ange Basso. For its first participation, Galerie Thomas Bernard Cortex Athletico also met with success, notably selling twenty or so oil paintings and drawings by Vincent Gicquel for prices ranging from 2,000 to 12,000 euros. AD Galerie was spot on with a Hervé di Rosa solo show selling some sixty or so works for between 1,500 and 30,000 euros, whereas Galerie Particulière found purchasers for numerous prints by American artist and photographer Todd Hido for between 4,000 and 18,000 euros.
In the general sector, Nathalie Obadia turned in a very impressive performance selling all the work of its French artists Valérie Belin, Fabrice Hyber and Laure Prouvost, in other words around twenty pieces at an average price of 30,000 euros. Galerie Templon was very satisfied with its sales that focussed on César and Gérard Garouste (including one piece that was acquired for 120,000 euros). Paris Beijing Gallery sold around twenty works, including one by Chul Hyun Ahn priced at 30,000 euros.
The second edition of the L’art est vivant – Promises prize was won by two artists from the Promises sector: Dutch artist Matthias Schaareman (Rutger Brandt Gallery, Amsterdam) and Tilt, an artist from Toulouse (Kolly Gallery, Zürich). In 2016, Art Paris Art Fair joined forces with the L’art est vivant endowment fund to encourage young creation. The two artists will receive Lefranc Bourgeois art supplies to a value of 3,000 euros and L’art est vivant has already acquired several of their works as a sign of its commitment and support to each of them.
The next edition of Art Paris Art Fair will take place at the Grand Palais from April 4th – 7th 2019 with a special focus on Latin America. The “overview of the French scene” formula will be renewed, concentrating this time on women artists and once again collaborating with a guest curator.