PARIS—The 19th Salon du Dessin, held March 24–29 at the Palais de la Bourse, the former Paris stock exchange, was “even more profitable than last year’s,” according to the drawings fair’s president, Hervé Aaron, of the Didier Aaron gallery.
A wide selection of works on paper from the Renaissance through the present was on display, by artists ranging from Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo, Eugène Delacroix, Guercino and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres to Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, Fernand Léger, Egon Schiele, Georg Baselitz and Louise Bourgeois. Attendance reached 13,000, a 12 percent increase over last year’s 11,800. According to fair spokesperson Claire Gallimard, the 39 participating galleries sold an average of €300,000 ($402,000) per booth, for total sales of €12million ($16.1million).
Sales of drawings from the 16th to the 18th centuries were strong. Katrin Bellinger, of Colnaghi Bellinger, London, reported selling seven of its most important drawings, including a red-chalk drawing by Simone Cantarini (1612–48), Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto, for €85,000 ($113,900), and a pen-and-ink drawing of Saint Sebastian by Paolo Farinati (1524–1606) for E95,000 ($127,300). Galerie de la Scala, Paris, reported selling about 15 drawings, including one by Stefano della Bella to a Belgian museum. Sylvie Tocci Prouté and Annie Martinez Prouté, codirectors of Galerie Paul Prouté, reported selling 22 drawings, nearly their entire booth, including a portrait of a young woman by Jean-Baptiste Greuze (1725–1805) for E65,000 ($87,100). Hervé Aaron sold an image of Christ on the cross by Charles Lebrun (1619–90). A rare landscape in oil on paper mounted on canvas by Jean-Honoré Fragonard sold for just under E300,000 ($402,000) at the booth of Galerie Eric Coatalem, Paris.
Nineteenth-century drawings also sold well. Work by Théodore Géricault met with some success, both for dealer Thierry Normand, Paris, and for Stephen Ongpin, London. The latter sold a pen, brown ink and wash drawing of the Barberi horse race by the artist for E112,000 ($151,200), as well as a watercolor by Rosa Bonheur (1822–99) for E73,000 ($97,820). Talabardon & Gautier, Paris, sold more than a dozen works, including Odilon Redon’s Pensées, and an 1855 Edgar Degas portrait of the artist’s brother René De Gas, priced at around E300,0000 ($402,000).
While this year’s fair remained resolutely classical, modern and contemporary drawings took on greater importance than in years past. First-time exhibitor Aloïs M. Wienerroither, of Wienerroither & Kohlbacher, Vienna, sold works by Schiele and Gustav Klimt, including a 1911 study of a male nude by Schiele.
The Salon du Dessin was also part of a larger event, Paris Drawings Week, with several institutions organizing shows and events throughout the city, as well as three other drawings fairs, including the fourth edition of the Salon du Dessin Contemporain. Held this year at the Carrousel du Louvre, the fair was uneven in quality and offerings. The 66 galleries presented mostly drawings in the E700/15,000 ($930/20,100) range, with prices occasionally reaching E30,000 ($40,200); attendance this year reached 18,644 visitors, up 4 percent from last year.