Successful art fairs

These days every successful contemporary art fair, from Miami to Hong Kong, takes place on a city-wide scale.

La Fiac

And this week that point is being made by the Fiac, the Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain, which is held between 17 and 20 October at the Grand Palais, in the walkways of the Petit Palais and in the Jardin des Tuileries up to the Place de la Concorde.

The Pinault collection

It’s also a period when a number of people in the industry have chosen to make their announcements in the field of contemporary art. The Pinault collection have released the date of the opening of their site near Les Halles, at the Bourse du Commerce in June 2020; news that strengthens Parisian influence in the area of international artistic creation.

David Zwirner

This is also the week when a new branch of one of the biggest galleries in the world is due to open. After New York, London and Hong Kong, David Zwirner is opening a space at Yvon Lambert’s former site in Le Marais. “Following what’s happening with Brexit we needed a place in Europe outside of London,” explains David Zwirner.

Watch the video to find out more.

Raymond Pettibon

The inaugural exhibition is dedicated to an American artist who isn’t shown much in France: Raymond Pettibon (born in 1957). His works on paper combining painted imagery and texts are on sale for between 25,000 and 1.2 million dollars.


It’s also this week that four galleries – Vincent Sator, Jocelyn Wolff, Air de Paris and In Situ Fabienne Leclerc – have chosen to base themselves in the Parisian suburbs in the huge spaces at Romainville housed in a former pharmaceuticals factory rechristened Komunuma.

Jocelyn Wolff

“Nowadays I’m selling at fairs and by appointment,” explains Jocelyn Wolff. “So this kind of place is perfectly suited to my needs, in a part of Greater Paris that’s really flourishing”.

Watch the video to find out more.

Myriam Cahn

One of their star artists is Swiss painter Miriam Cahn (born in 1949). She was recently the subject of a retrospective at the Reina Sofia museum in Madrid. A series of her drawings from the 1980s in black and white depicting the silhouettes of people and animals in a spirit that is possibly reminiscent of cave art are on sale as a set for 50,000 euros at their booth at the Fiac.

Georg Baselitz

Not far from there, in Pantin, Thaddaeus Ropac is displaying the latest paintings by veteran German figurative artist Georg Baselitz (born in 1938). His upside-down figures (he’s been inverting his paintings since 1969 to do away with the issue of representation) are often surrounded by a luminous halo and presented in pairs, and constitute one of his best recent exhibitions. Only two paintings have yet to be sold, one of which is on display at Ropac’s booth at the Fiac (on sale for 1.2 million euros).

Jennifer Flay

“The art market is still very active when it comes to the great classics of contemporary art but it’s more difficult for younger talent,” observes the fair’s director Jennifer Flay. This year the Fiac is presenting 199 galleries and the offerings are particularly high-end.The participants are banking on artists who are market heavyweights.

Keith Haring

The Per Skarstedt gallery of London and New York – which is also seeking to base itself in Paris, like the British White Cube gallery with its new office on Avenue Matignon – is presenting for instance a spectacular painting measuring 3 x 3 metres in black against a yellow background by Keith Haring (1958-1990) on sale for 8 million dollars. He acquired it a year ago for 4.9 million dollars at auction in London. “It’s a museum piece. I expected it to go for at least 7 million at auction.”

Antoni Tapiès

The Lelong gallery from Paris is exhibiting a rarely seen painting at their booth by the Spanish abstract artist painter known for mixing materials, Antoni Tapiès (1923-2012), which is 7 metres long. This “Diptyque nocturne” from 1993, which features a real bed base at the centre, illustrates a Chinese legend about a poor man who is happy to see the sky. On sale for 2 million euros.

Martial Raysse

One of the most fascinating works at the fair is by French artist Martial Raysse from the middle of his Pop period: 1966. He created a kind of jigsaw puzzle, 5.6 metres long, made out of pieces of coloured plexiglass depicting a woman’s face (the work has been reserved since the opening of the fair by a collector for apparently over 3 million euros).

Gagosian gallery

Lastly, two booths at the Fiac take the lead in terms of creativity by a long way. In a more classical taste there’s at Gagosian’s booth the unmissable recreation of Jean Cocteau’s legendary decors from Villa Santo Sospir in Cap Ferrat, in which photos are also displayed, like an old picture taken by Man Ray of Jean Cocteau in 1921 (on sale for 55,000 euros), to a canvas by Fernand Léger from 1932 presented for almost 3 million euros.

Alex da Corte

In a more contemporary style, London-based Sadie Coles is dedicating the entirety of her space to four videos displayed in giant cubes by the particularly talented American artist Alex da Corte (born in 1980), who is also currently showcased at the Venice Biennale. He creates worlds that are highly polished and colourful in a new surrealist spirit. Here he depicts the rapper Eminem doing everyday activities that are utterly unexpected. Each one is on sale for 95,000 dollars.


To take risks

In spite of the small size of the spaces allotted to each of the participants, these fairs without doubt become places of discovery when gallerists – as is the case here – know how to takes risks.

From 17 to 20 October: 

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