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    Art Cologne Attempts Comeback After Management Changes

    After a calendar shift and a recent change in leadership, organizers of Germany’s Art Cologne fair, held April 16-20 at the Koelnmesse exhibition center, reported attendance of 55,000 visitors this year, down from the 60,000 reported last year, and a considerable drop from the 68,400 recorded in November 2006 (ANL, 12/12/06).

    COLOGNE—After a calendar shift and a recent change in leadership, organizers of Germany’s Art Cologne fair, held April 16-20 at the Koelnmesse exhibition center, reported attendance of 55,000 visitors this year, down from the 60,000 reported last year, and a considerable drop from the 68,400 recorded in November 2006 (ANL, 12/12/06).

    On the whole, however, exhibitors seemed pleased with the forty-second edition of the fair. The number of exhibitors was reduced to 150 from 180 last year, with another fifty participating in special sections such as the experimental Open Space.

    New Leadership in Place

    Last month, director Gerard Goodrow, who is now director of Phillips de Pury & Company’s Cologne outpost, was replaced with art dealer Daniel Hug, who was set to relinquish control of his Los Angeles–based gallery when he assumed the helm of the fair on May 1. Hug, a grandson of Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, has assembled an advisory board that includes German art dealers Hendrik A. Berinson and Christian Nagel and Chicago gallerist Valerie Carberry, among others.

    Art Cologne has two main sections: contemporary art and modern and postwar art. Some galleries span both areas, such as Terminus, Munich, which sold a Mark Rothko with an asking price of €10 million ($15.8 million) as well as a number of the candy-objects of contemporary American artist Peter Anton.

    Other galleries had good sales in the contemporary section as well: Voss Gallery, Düsseldorf, sold several larger canvases by German-based Canadian artist Kate Waters for prices around €13,000 ($19,500), and more than a dozen oil paintings by Brazilian-born artist Harding Meyer, mostly at prices around €8,000 ($12,000).

    There may not be many American galleries at the fair, but American art plays a very prominent role. Hafenrichter & Flügel, Nuremberg, staged an impressive show of works by Alex Katz, and Benden & Klimczak, Cologne/Viersen, had major works by Tom Wesselmann. Hafenrichter’s sales included a large drawing by Katz that had been exhibited at Vienna’s Albertina museum, bought by a private collector in Dusseldorf for €75,000 ($118,500). The two galleries have founded bkhf Gallery in the former premises of Facchini in Miami, scheduled to open this month.

    Michael Burges’s “virtual spaces”—abstract paintings in boxes that the viewer “perceives” rather than sees directly—and reverse glass paintings were shown by Galerie Holtmann, Cologne, and Galerie Winter, Wiesbaden, priced at €6,000/12,000 ($9,000/18,000) each. Eight works were sold.

    Samuelis-Baumgarte, Bielefeld, showed color-field paintings by Heinz Mack, priced at €89,000 ($149,000) for large format works and €32,000 ($51,000) for medium-sized pieces, as well as large photographs by Leni Riefenstahl from the “Nuba” series. Sales included two Riefenstahl works for €24,000 ($44,000) each.

    Participants from the U.S. included Anton Kern and Rental Gallery, New York, as well as Hug’s gallery, David Kordansky Gallery and Solwayjones, all in Los Angeles.