PARIS—This year’s Art Paris fair, held March 18–22 at the Grand Palais, was the first organized by Lorenzo Rudolf, the event’s new general and strategic director. This year the fair presented what he referred to as a “community of artistic projects,” rather than the more traditional arrangement of individual booths, and the results suggest he succeeded in his efforts to inject new energy into the fair. Organizers reported a total of 47,352 visitors, up from 43,000 last year, and 114 participants, including 46 first-time exhibitors, from 17 countries, including China, Finland, India, Indonesia, Luxembourg, Morocco and Ukraine.
“This is a time when people are afraid to take risks,” said Rudolf, who offered participating galleries the opportunity to invite “guests” from other artistic fields, including architects, writers, private collectors, designers, musicians and chefs. Surprising installations and events such as readings, tastings, and performances created unusual artistic dialogues. In addition, seven special sections, called “platforms,” were organized to showcase this crossover between disciplines and regions. Themes included “Africa,” “Utopia” and a collector’s house. A number of galleries reported solid sales as a result of this unusual and eclectic approach.
In addition to organizing three tastings with a French chef, Olivier Houg, of Galerie Olivier Houg, Lyon, said the gallery sold a painting by Stéphane Braconnier for E15,000 ($20,250). Galerie RX, Paris, which shared its booth with the International Glass Art Center, Meisenthal, France, sold several works by French artist Françoise Pétrovitch, who made glass works especially for the event, according to RX codirector Eric Dereumaux. With a second guest, the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, RX also sold photos by Georges Rousse and two paintings by Philippe Pasqua for E75,000 ($103,500) and E35,000 ($47,250) respectively. Both artists are slated to show there this year.
Gilou Le Gruiec, director of the photography gallery Vu’, Paris, a first-time participant, said that the most positive thing about the fair was that “we sold around ten pieces to mostly new clients,” including works by Mathieu Pernot from his series “Le grand ensemble,” priced at E2,400 ($3,240); works by Jean-Christian Bourcart from his series “Stardust,” priced at E4,000 ($5,400); works by José Ramon Bas, priced at E900 and E1,500 ($1,215 and $2,025), and pieces by Michael Ackerman from his series “Fiction,” priced at E1,800 ($2,430).
First-time exhibitor 10 Chancery Lane, Hong Kong, which organized hip-hop dance and rap performances, sold work by Vietnamese artist Dinh Q. Le, for E39,000 ($52,650). Galerie Ernst Hilger, Vienna—which invited Russian collector Alexander Reznikov to show pieces from his collection of contemporary Austrian and Russian art—sold a work by Mel Ramos for E100,000 ($135,000).
Nathalie Berghege-Compoint of Galerie Lelong, Paris and New York, said their sales included works by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa for E40,000 ($54,000) for a sculpture, and E30,000 ($40,500) for a small bronze sculpture from an edition of 11; a series of four photographs by Andy Goldsworthy for E35,000 ($47,250); and three small paintings on wood by Pierre Alechinsky for E14,000 ($18,900) each.
Delphine Guillaud, of Galerie Daniel Templon, Paris, said the fair “went very well for the gallery. The booth had an ideal spot, and we reaped the benefits, with a great number of visitors passing through.” Among the pieces sold were Ivan Navarro’s mixed-media installation Kick, 2010, for $45,000; Jonathan Meese’s painting Mr. Gelbpimmel im grossen Gebirge, 2002, for E50,000 ($67,500), Eric Fischl’s painting Fred (Head), 1998, for $150,000, and a charcoal drawing by Robert Longo for E220,000 ($297,000).