After nearly a year of speculation and anticipation, Art Basel’s French art fair, officially known as Paris+, par Art Basel, has finally arrived, with its VIP day beginning on a sunny Wednesday morning.
The fair was thrumming with energy and the temporary convention center, the Grand Palais Éphémère, just across the Champ de Mars from the Eiffel Tower, was packed during the first few hours, minus the long lines that many experienced across the pond at Frieze London last week. And, to honor Paris, the fair has even added a fourth clock to its usual display that shows the time zones of its other locations (Hong Kong, Miami Beach, and Basel, Switzerland).
Dealers reported strong interest in several works, with quite a few selling by 1 p.m. In Galerie Lelong’s booth, vice president and partner Mary Sabbatino described the event as “très actif”; Marc Spiegler, Art Basel’s global director, joined the conversation seconds later, adding that he had just spoken with another dealer who had mentioned that a good way to gauge the character of collectors on hand was by how many conversations in the aisles weren’t being conducted in French.
The aisles were indeed chockful of international collectors, including Édouard Carmignac and Charles Carmignac, Grażyna Kulczyk, Pamela Joyner, Maja Hoffmann, Mera and Don Rubell, Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Michael Ringier, Tiffany Zabludowicz, Ricard Akagawa, Candace Carmel Barasch, and Shelley and Philip Aarons, as were museum curators and directors like Glenn Lowry, Lisa Phillips, Massimiliano Gioni, and Alex Gartenfeld — and even former French Prime Minister Manuel Valls. (Several dealers who weren’t exhibiting but instead scoping out the landscape were also on hand.)
Though the front section of the fair was a bit warmer than the back half, that didn’t deter VIPs from lingering into the afternoon, as evidenced by the line into the upstairs VIP lounge.
Below, a look at the best on offer at the 2022 edition of Paris+.