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American Works Are Winners at Paris Photo

The ninth edition of Paris Photo, the international photography fair, held at the Carrousel du Louvre from Nov. 17–20, continued the trend of strong prices for classic, modern and contemporary photographs recorded at New York auctions in October (see ANL, 10/25/05).

PARIS—The ninth edition of Paris Photo, the international photography fair, held at the Carrousel du Louvre from Nov. 17–20, continued the trend of strong prices for classic, modern and contemporary photographs recorded at New York auctions in October (see ANL, 10/25/05).

Organizers said sales were 26 percent higher than in 2004, although attendance was down slightly—visitors numbered 40,000, off from last year by 2,000 (see ANL, 12/7/04). Participating galleries described sales that on average totaled €75,000 ($87,970), compared with last year’s average of €55,000 ($64,500).

The fair presented works by 106 galleries and publishers from 14 countries, the broadest international representation since its inauguration in 1997. More than 72 percent of the exhibitors were from outside France, including 19 from the United States, 14 from Spain and 12 from Germany. Among them were 26 new participants, such as Volker Diehl, Berlin; Catherine Edelman, New York; Galerie f5.6, Munich; Deborah Bell and Julie Saul, New York; and Scalo, a Zürich-based publisher and gallery.

Clear standouts at Paris Photo were American photographs from the 1960s and ’70s, including works by Diane Arbus and William Eggleston. Participating in the fair for the first time, Rose Gallery, Santa Monica, Calif., reported selling four Arbus works, among them her 1967 image The Patriot, for $65,000. Rose also sold four works by Eggleston for $18,000 apiece.

New York’s Edwynn Houk Gallery sold four works by American Stephen Shore that were priced at €16,000 ($18,770) each. Gallery Luisotti, Santa Monica, also participating for the first time, was another big winner, selling out both its selection of works by Lewis Baltz and photos of supermarkets by John Divola.

Vintage pictures saw strong demand as well. Rare 19th-century images by British artist Roger Fenton were on display in a solo show at Hans Kraus, New York, who found buyers for more than a dozen Fentons, including one priced higher than €100,000 ($117,300). Prominent Parisian dealer Françoise Paviot sold an Edward Weston nude for €350,000 ($410,550). Another offering from New York dealer Robert Klein—a 1927 study by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy for $85,000—was snatched up too.

Rare works by Man Ray were being offered in a few booths. Four were sold by Paris dealer Serge Plantureux, including one for €90,000 ($105,570); another, shown by Paris’ Galerie 1900-2000, found a buyer for €100,000 ($117,300).

Completing the range, contemporary galleries —where prices generally ran from €5,000/7,000 ($5,865/8,200)—also seemed pleased. Some galleries sold out their booths, including Helsinki’s Taik Gallery, whose offerings included a higher-priced item than usual, a diptych by Ola Kolehmainen at €20,000 ($23,500). New York’s Yossi Milo Gallery featured one of the bestselling items at the fair—Loretta Lux’s pictures of children, which sold out at €24,500 ($28,740) each.

Several contemporary galleries in a special section highlighted the dynamic Spanish scene. Their works, mostly by new contemporary photographers, also met with strong demand, including urban landscapes by Dionisio González—elaborate images of Rio de Janiero shantytowns, some presented in large light boxes. The Spanish gallery Oliva Arauna sold 14 works by Alicia Martin, including one at €12,000 ($14,076).

Priced from €1,200/4,700 ($1,400/5,500), photos by Pablo Genovés sold out at the Galeria Bacelos de Vigo. And more than a dozen works by Raul Belinchon at T20 gallery, priced at €4,000 ($4,700) each, also found buyers.

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