• ARTnewsletter Archive

    Viennafair Focus on Eastern European Art Yields Mixed Results

    Viennafair, whose seventh edition took place May 12–15, is Austria’s largest international art fair and enjoys a unique position among current expositions, as it is the only one that centers on art from eastern Europe—thanks to Erste Bank, the Austrian banking group with branches in Serbia, Croatia, Slovakia, Ukraine, which sponsors the eastern stands.

    VIENNA—Viennafair, whose seventh edition took place May 12–15, is Austria’s largest international art fair and enjoys a unique position among current expositions, as it is the only one that centers on art from eastern Europe—thanks to Erste Bank, the Austrian banking group with branches in Serbia, Croatia, Slovakia, Ukraine, which sponsors the eastern stands. A total of 50 of the roughly 130 galleries, though, come from Austria, making Viennafair the prime showcase for that country’s gallery scene.

    Martin Mertens, Berlin, sold several works by figurative and expressive Spanish painter Santiago Ydáñez for €6,700 ($9,400), as well as works by artist duo Eva and Adele including a small work for €4,000 ($5,600), and a paper collage at €2,000 ($2,800).

    Ernst Hilger, Vienna, showed, among others, Iranian textile artist Sara Rahbar, who currently has a solo show at Hilger Contemporary, titled “I have no faith left for the devil to take” (May 19–June 13). While Hilger said sales often occur after the run of the fair, he nonetheless reported selling works including four mini-landscapes by Maria Bussmann, measuring about 15-by-15 inches each, for €2,200 ($3,100) apiece.

    Many of the works that did sell were those with relatively lower prices, a reflection of the fact that there is so much work by younger artists at this fair.

    Paulo Nunes, from Vila Franca de Xira, near Lisbon, sold a number of drawings and a three-part installation of objects of young artist Susana Pires on the subject of feelings in relationships for €800 ($1,250) each.

    Vienna dealer Georg Kargl told ARTnewsletter he sold a Muntean & Rosenblum painting for €25,000 ($35,000) and one by Gerwald Rockenschaub for €16,000 ($22,500). His biggest success, however, was selling paintings priced in the four-figure range by the young Austrian artist Michael Gumhold to the Belvedere Museum in Vienna he said.

    Many of the galleries from eastern Europe (45 participants) had a hard time selling and complained that business was slow. However, Martin Janda of Vienna reported selling work by Slovakian artist Roman Ondak, whose group of photos of his 2009 Venice Biennale performance went for €15,000 ($21,150).