PARIS—Many observers and attendees of the 14th edition of Paris Photo, held Nov. 17–21, at the Carrousel du Louvre, said the fair was simply outstanding. Bringing together 106 exhibitors from 25 countries, it was visited by some 38,000 people, a slight decline compared with last year’s attendance of 40,150. Organizers attributed this dip in attendance to the fact that there was no “nocturne,” or evening event, as there had been in other years.
Still, the 2010 event was widely considered one of the fair’s strongest, and manager Guillaume Piens called it “wonderful,” literally “the best edition in 14 years.”
As with this year’s contemporary art fair the FIAC (ANL, 11/2/10), dealers whose expectations were low due to the economic situation were surprised by brisk sales. Paris Photo combines styles ranging from documentary and photojournalism to fashion and fine art, offering work dating from the 19th century to the present. Many contemporary-art galleries reported stellar results. The fair celebrates one geographical area annually; this year, central Europe (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia), was highlighted in special events and exhibits.
Among the many galleries reporting solid results, Paris gallery Loevenbruck fared well, with four luminous, minimalistic compositions by the Hungarian artist Gábor Ösz, who was also awarded the 2010 BMW–Paris Photo Prize at the fair. The works sold for €20,000 ($27,000) each.
New York gallery Yossi Milo, absent from the fair since 2006, showed works by Loretta Lux and Youssef Nabil. Yossi Milo reported selling about 40 photos for between €6,000 and 10,000 ($8,100/13,500) each.
Johann Nowak of Berlin-based DNA Galerie reported selling more than three-quarters of its works on offer, including two vibrantly colored, large-format mise en scène pictures by Japanese artist Tatsumi Orimoto, for €38,000 ($51,300) each. The gallery also sold two videos by Bulgarian artist Mariana Vassilieva for €8,000 ($10,800) each.
Christine Ollier, director of Paris-based Filles du Calvaire, said the gallery had its best sales ever for this event, including a soft-focus portrait by Paul Graham from his “End of an Age Series, 1996–1998”: three editions sold at €24,000 ($32,400) each.
Sage, a Paris gallery run by François Sage, showed classical works by Brassaï, André Kertész, Man Ray, Berenice Abbott and László Moholy-Nagy, but Sage also reported great success with a contemporary Japanese artist: around 30 light boxes from 1999 by Naoya Hatakeyama found buyers, selling out the booth of the boxes, at €6,000 ($8,100) each. Light-box buyers included the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, fair director Piens told ARTnewsletter.
Photography books also sold briskly. Man Ray’s 1932 book Electricity sold for €35,000 ($47,250) at the rare books gallery of Chloé and Denis Ozanne, Paris, according to Denis Canguilhem.
Another Paris dealer, Toluca, reported robust demand for What Man Is Really Like, 2010, by Rachel Whiteread, Ingo Shulze and Naoto Fukusawa, including sales of 20 of its 28 copies available, which were priced at €7,000 ($9,450) each, according to codirector Alexis Fabry.
Among vintage material on offer, London’s Hamiltons Gallery sold Mainbocher Corset, 1939, by Horst P. Horst for $150,000, according to principal Tim Jefferies. Paris gallery owner Françoise Paviot sold a Man Ray self-portrait for €75,000, ($101,250) as well as several small contacts by Brassaï dated 1958, for €2,500/4,000 ($3,375/5,400) each.
A vintage image by Czech artist Joseph Sudek sold at Vienna gallery Johannes Faber for €190,000 ($256,000). New York dealer Edwynn Houk said he sold a vintage photo by Moholy-Nagy, entitled Arles, 1929, for $265,000. Philippe Jacquier, director of the Lumière des Roses gallery, located in the Paris suburb of Montreuil, specializes in anonymous vintage photography. He called the fair “excellent” and said he had sold two-thirds of the booth, including eight autochromes from 1925–1930 by Léon Gimpel for €7,000 ($9,450) apiece.