PARIS—Those attending the 37th edition of the Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain (FIAC), held in Paris Oct. 21–24, appeared to leave all their fears about the financial crisis at home. There were large crowds, and rave reviews from visitors and buyers about the international flavor and high quality of works on display. Held in three locations—the Grand Palais, the Cour Carrée at the Louvre, and the Jardin des Tuileries—the fair brought together 195 galleries from 24 countries. Organizers reported attendance of 85,662 visitors, an average of 17,132 visitors each day, and a 6 percent increase over last year’s fair, which had 80,750 visitors.
Sales were brisk from the start, according to such participants as Paris dealer Daniel Templon, who called FIAC his “best fair in twenty years.” At the Grand Palais, which housed the top galleries, sales began even before the opening, including several ranging from hundreds of thousands of dollars to upwards of $1million.
FIAC’s most-talked-about booth had to be that of Gagosian Gallery, which recently opened a Paris branch on the Avenue Matignon. The booth, which showed works by Andy Warhol and Alberto Giacometti as well as a “Nurse” painting by Richard Prince that reportedly sold for more than $2million, was so crowded it was protected by guards.
David Zwirner, New York, displayed a solo show in various media by Paris-based Algerian artist Adel Abdessemed. The works on view sold out, including Silent Warriors, 2010, a huge wall of more than 100 colorful metal masks made from discarded tin cans, the entire wall priced at $280,000.
Skarstedt Gallery, New York, reported solid sales even before the opening, selling a Cindy Sherman photograph for $250,000 and, later, George Condo’s painting Mother and Child, for $350,000. Paris dealer Natalie Seroussi sold metal sculptures by Lygia Clark from the 1960s for E700,000 ($1.4million) apiece.
Daniel Lelong, of Galerie Lelong, Paris, Zurich and New York, who showed works by Nancy Spero, Jaume Plensa, Kiki Smith, and Barthélémy Toguo, said the fair was “one of the most successful ever.” Lehmann Maupin, New York, sold neon light sculptures by Tracy Emin for $53,000/91,000, and London’s Victoria Miro, who showed works by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, sold two polka-dotted aluminum pumpkin sculptures for $500,000 each.
Emmanuelle de Noirmont, of Jérôme de Noirmont, Paris, reported that the gallery, which presented work by Fabrice Hybert, Shirin Neshat, French photographer duo Pierre et Gilles, and Keith Haring, among others, sold out.
Important works were also sold at the younger, more contemporary Cour Carrée venues. One of the most talked about was a contemporary interpretation of a white Roman statue in the Louvre—Barry X Ball’s black marble Sleeping Hermaphrodite, which was sold by Salon 94, New York, for E450,000 ($630,000).