PARIS—The 36th edition of the Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain, held Oct. 22–25 at the Grand Palais, the Cour Carrée of the Musée du Louvre and the Tuileries, was highly successful, exhibitors said. Participating dealers said they were very satisfied by the solid and significant sales.
A total of 203 galleries representing 21 countries—including 75 French galleries—participated. Attendance rose considerably from last fall. When the fair closed Sunday evening, a total of 80,760 visitors had been counted, up 24 percent from last year’s 65,000 visitors.
In modern art, the highlight of the fair took place in the Grand Palais, in an area designated as an internal gallery called “Projet Moderne.” Ten international galleries each showed one or two modern masterworks, by such artists as Piet Mondrian, Pablo Picasso, Francis Bacon, Fernand Léger, Alexander Calder and Constantin Brancusi. Véronique Jaeger, of Galerie Jeanne-Bucher/Jaeger Bucher, Paris, said the gallery had “matched total sales from 2008 in the first hours of this year’s fair,” selling an ink drawing by Fernand Léger for €150,000 ($225,000). The gallery also showed works by Nicolas de Staël, Jean Dubuffet, and Maria-Helena Vieira da Silva, and sold a painting by de Staël for €1.4 million, also in the first few hours. Zlotowski, Paris, which found buyers for works by Kurt Schwitters and Victor Brauner, also sold seven works by Le Corbusier to private European collectors.
Contemporary-art exhibitors also reported brisk sales. Paris dealer Anne de Villepoix said she sold out both her booth and her stock room. Sales included works by Otto Zitko and Stéphane Pencréach; oil paintings by Xie Lei, priced in the range of €2,500/3,500 for small paintings and around €15,000 for large paintings; and several pieces by Marc Turlan priced between €750 and €950. Yvon Lambert reported good sales, including a work by Jenny Holzer for €300,000. Emmanuel Perrotin told ARTnewsletter the fair went “very, very well—beyond my expectations.” He sold about 75 percent of his booth, which offered works ranging from €5,000 to €300,000. His sales included three lithographic monotypes and a Murano glass and mica sculpture in the shape of a necklace by Jean-Michel Othoniel, which the French government purchased for its national collections; a sculpture by Xavier Veilhan for €50,000, and a 1995 sculpture by Duane Hanson for $450,000. Xavier Hufkens, Brussels, sold two works by Louise Bourgeois, priced at $220,000 each, and two pieces by Sterling Ruby for more than $200,000 each. Alicia Bona of Skarstedt Gallery, New York, said the gallery sold a work by Richard Prince for $750,000.
Works by younger artists, which were grouped in the Cour Carrée venue, also sold briskly. Nicole Klagsbrun, New York, showing for the first time at FIAC, sold out her entire booth—which featured works by Matthew Day Jackson—the first night. Tina Wentrup of the Wentrup gallery, Berlin, said the gallery sold a painting with a cassette tape by Gregor Hildebrandt for about €45,000.
For the fifth year in a row, the French government made a large purchase for the Fond national d’art contemporain (the French National Contemporary Art Collection), choosing 24 works by 20 artists, with a total budget of E400,000. In addition to the works by Othoniel from Perrotin, the government purchases included Histoire du silence, a recent installation by Adel Abdessemed featuring a video and a ukulele, from Dvir Gallery, Tel Aviv; an inkjet print by Véronique Ellena from Galerie Alain Gutharc, Paris; Disco Babylon, 2008, a work on paper by Maike Freess, from Galerie Eva Hober, Paris; and a film by David Lamelas from the Jan Mot Gallery, Brussels.