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Attendance Rises, Sales Fall At Paris Photo Fair

Attendance at the 12th annual Paris Photo fair, which took place Nov. 13–16 at the Carrousel du Louvre, was up from last year, and exhibitors reported a number of sales despite the ongoing financial crisis.

PARIS—Attendance at the 12th annual Paris Photo fair, which took place Nov. 13–16 at the Carrousel du Louvre, was up from last year, and exhibitors reported a number of sales despite the ongoing financial crisis. Organizers said a total of 37,760 visitors, an 18 percent increase from 2007, came to see historic, modern and contemporary photographs shown by 107 exhibitors (86 galleries and 21 publishers) from 19 countries.

Christine Ollier, art director of gallery Les Filles du Calvaire, Paris, said, “We sold less than in the past, but we survived well. The collectors may have less money on hand; they’re still looking, and they’re still buying.”

Fair organizers noted that sales were slower than usual and that exhibitors’ results were “uneven,” but numerous sales were reported in the lower range, about €1,500/15,000 ($1,900/19,000).

This year’s fair had a record number of first-time exhibitors (a 38 percent increase, with 31 new exhibitors) and a very strong presence of foreign galleries (78 percent from outside France).

Highlights of the fair included 19th-century scientific photos at Bernard Quaritch, London, and a range of photographs at Hans P. Kraus Jr. gallery, New York, which sold a work by Frederick H. Evans for $125,000 and another by Roger Fenton for $75,000. Kraus also showed the “Bicknell Album,” 1843–47, an album of photographs taken in Scotland by collaborators David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson, priced at about $4.5million. Kraus said that sales were “better in Paris than in New York.”

U.K. dealer Robert Hershkowitz also sold a work by Fenton for €65,000 ($82,500), among a dozen other sales, including of a work by William Henry Fox Talbot for €50,000 ($63,450).

More-modern highlights of the fair included works by Robert Polidori, Robert Frank, Brassaï, Sally Mann and Annie Leibovitz at Edwynn Houk, New York; Helen Levitt and Ray Metzker at Laurence Miller, New York; and works by Hans Bellmer, Man Ray, Dora Maar and Raoul Ubac at Galerie 1900–2000, Paris.

Sales of contemporary photographs were reportedly slower, especially for works priced at more than €30,000 ($38,000). Van Zoetendaal Photog­raphy, Amsterdam, for instance, which showed works by contemporary photographers Koos Breukel, Paul Kooiker and Johan van der Keuken, did well with lower-priced pieces. The gallery reported sales of more than three-dozen works priced in the range of €500/35,000 ($635/44,000).

Michael Hoppen Gallery, London, sold a series of vintage prints by Miyako Ishiuchi. The Filles du Calvaire gallery did well with works by Algerian-born, Paris-based artist Mohamed Bourouissa, reporting sales of more than 50 pieces at prices of €900/15,000 ($1,100/19,000). The 798 Photo Gallery, Beijing, sold more than 30 works by Yao Lu, winner of the 2008 BMW–Paris Photo Prize, at prices ranging from €3,000/6,000 ($3,800/7,600).

The fair also offered an in-depth look at historic and contemporary photography from Japan, this year’s “guest of honor” country. Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York, for instance, sold works by Shoji Ueda for €13,000 ($16,500), several works by Tosh Matsumoto for €6,000 ($7,600), and six by Iwao Yamawaki for €3,000 ($3,800).

Galerie Priska Pasquer, Cologne, sold works by Daido Moriyama for €8,000 ($10,000) and by Ikko Narahara for €1,800/12,000 ($2,300/15,000) each. Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York, sold several works by André Kertész for €5,000 ($6,300) apiece, as well as a vintage print by Aaron Siskind for €50,000 ($63,000).

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