LONDON—A new art fair specialising in Old Master paintings is to be launched in Paris in November and has had the brainwave of inviting one of the world’s most successful contemporary artists, Jeff Koons, to lend works from his Old Master collection. Not only will the display make a fashion statement, but also suggest that Old Masters are a good investment. Koons is a former Wall Street trader and sells his work for far more than most Old Master paintings. In fact, the three masterpieces he is lending together cost about as much as one painting from his studio. In June 2007 he paid a record £1.6 million ($3 million) for Gustave Courbet’s Femme Nue, a piece from the artist’s controversial series of nudes painted in 1865-66 which also includes L’Origine du Monde in the Musee d’Orsay, Paris, and the Femme au Perroquet in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. In April 2008 he bought Nicolas Poussin’s seductive Jupiter and Antiope at Christie’s in New York for $959,400, doubling the estimate; and at the same sale he bought Jean-Honore Fragonard’s sensual Young Girl Holding Two Puppies, for $1.4 million. Other Old Masters in Koons’s collection include works by Cornelis van Haarlem, Nicolaes Knupfer and Francois le Moyne, which will not be shown.
The new fair, Paris Tableau, was organized by ten Parisian paintings dealers, a group known as SAS dix Marchands de Tableaux anciens à Paris, of which Maurizio Canesso is president. It will run at the Palais de la Bourse, Paris, from November 4–8. SAS invited international colleages from London, Amsterdam, Zurich, Rome, Madrid and New York to attend the fair as well. The event is billed as the first such event to be dedicated entirely to Old Masters, ranging from the Middle Ages to the 19th-century and is organized chronologically, according to schools.