Art Market Magazine
Paris, barely recovering from the drama of the rising Seine, which forced the Louvre to close its Islamic Arts department, now has to face a flood of another kind. This time, the topic is American artist Jeff Koons' gift to the city: a gesture of solidarity after the attacks of 13 November 2015. This monumental bunch of tulips is due to be set up on the plaza of the Palais de Tokyo. But an open letter published in the newspaper Libération is calling for this symbolic, democratic and financial anomaly to be abandoned, because the high cost of installing it is being covered by patrons benefiting from tax rebates of 66%, thus indirectly involving public funds. Signatories include cultural luminaries such as the (now honorary) curator Marie-Laure Bernadac, former minister Frédéric Mitterrand and the prominent collector Antoine de Galbert. In an email statement, French art production house Noirmontartproduction reminds, as a response, that the project was funded by gifts from French-American donors and that all proceeds from the copyright on the work will be given to the families of the victims. While waiting to see what happens next, we end with a lingering look at a "Saint Peter in Prison" by Guercino, miraculously emerged from the waters, which should inspire unanimous acclaim from those who love painting. That bodes well: it's one of the outstanding lots of these winter auctions.
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When she founded the African contemporary art fair 1-54 in 2013 in London, Moroccan-born Touria El Glaoui little knew that it would pave the way for a series of clones (including the AKAA in Paris), and become a yardstick in this sphere. Nor did she suspect there would be an offshoot in New York (created in 2015), or a sister event in Marrakech three years later. “It has always been a dream to have a well-founded presence on the African continent,” she told us. A dream now coming true, as the fair is being staged for the first time at La Mamounia (the legendary hotel refurbished in 2009 by interior designer Jacques Garcia), where, on a “smaller scale”, it will host 17 galleries from Europe, Africa and the US. Five of these, including the Vallois Gallery (France) and the LouiSimone Guirandou Gallery (Ivory Coast), are making their first appearance at the event… The programme includes two solo shows by New York-based artist Ouattara Watts and photographer Sory Sanlé from Burkina Faso – both already recognised internationally –, and a series of talks (the feature that put the fair on the map), this time on cultural decolonisation…
Warmed up by the classic cars of the Paris Rétromobile show, the winter auctions will be inaugurated by an inspired "St Peter in prison", painted in Rome by Guercino. Among its illustrious owners was José de Madrazo y Agudo, painter to Charles IV and director of the Prado, as well as the Infante, Don Sebastian Gabriel of Bourbon and Braganza…
In January one of the best Parisian performances was achieved by an official torch from the 1968 10th Winter Olympic Games in Grenoble, which blazed up to €202,240: four times its high estimate… but it's a "Wild Bull Hunt" by Raden Syarif Saleh that stands atop the podium, breaking a world record for both the Indonesian artist and an auction in Brittany.
His father made their name famous throughout the world, Benjamin Steinitz, one of the last top dealers in the French 18th century, recently moved to Rue Royale to refocus his activity. We talk to this philosopher who constantly reinvents himself and passes on his passion with an inexhaustible conviction.
To mark the centenary of Edgar Degas' death, the Musée d'Orsay in Paris is paying tribute to him in an exhibition where the main theme is the little-known work of writer, poet and thinker Paul Valéry: "Degas Danse Dessin". A polyphonic text completed in 1936, twenty years after Degas' passing.
Naomi Beckwith, barely 41, is a visionary in her field. This coming March sees her directing the first curatorial summit at the New York Armory Show. As the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art celebrates its 50th anniversary, its young curator talks about the museum's collections and her vision on current art.
For years, the poster market was based in France. Regular auctions at the Hôtel Drouot attracted dealers from around the world, and the Parisian Flea Markets were constantly a place for new and exciting finds. But nowadays, Paris is competing with New York, where as many as nine major live auctions take place each year.
February 2018 Edition
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