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The French dealers' association the Syndicat National des Antiquaires voted two-to-one to make the change on June 29. The next show will be staged in September 2016 and annually thereafter.

The flagship event of the French art trade, the Biennale des Antiquaires has been held once every two years at the Grand Palais since 1962.

A power struggle has emerged at SNA in recent years over plans to reform the event - one put to the ballot when just over the required two-thirds of members (67%) voted for change.

International Calendar

Speaking to ATG at Masterpiece London , SNA council member Fabien Mathivet of Galerie Mathivet was among those to endorse the move.

"It is very important that the Biennale  is an annual event because it must form part of the international calendar for the big collectors and institutions.

"If we have it only once every two years we will be forgotten.

"A lot of important dealers will come back to the Biennale, if it is annual. Two-thirds of the SNA members voted 'yes'. It's not half and half - there's a real desire."

He added that an annual event could push stand prices lower at the famously expensive Grand Palais.

Laurent Kraemer of the long-established Parisian dealership Kraemer Gallery was another member of the SNA's administrative council who was in favour of change. He told ATG: "Ten years ago I would have said no," but now he feels an annual show will return some prestige to the event.

He agreed an annual event titled the Biennale des Antiquaires presented "an interesting problem", and one that he hopes will at least prove a talking point.

He believes the name should somehow be retained "even if it is every year, because it is a brand, a trademark", and was hopeful of convincing fellow members accordingly.

The Syndicat has asked Henri Loyrette, former president director of the Louvre, to act as president for next year's fair.

 

Biennale Reaction

 

Roxane Dumonteil, Galerie Dumonteil in New York, Paris, Shanghai

"We have been waiting for this far too long. Other fairs gained more authority in the years when the Biennale was absent. Now it's going to be more competitive for everyone, and raise the bar, rather than bringing it down. It will be more work but it will be a real rendezvous for our collectors."

 

Fabien Mathivet, Galerie Mathivet, Paris

"We are not there to be a competitor to Maastricht or Basel or BRAFA. We don't need to change the name. Everyone knows that the Biennale is the Biennale."

 

Laurent Kraemer, Kraemer Gallery, Paris

"Ten years ago I would have said no. The prestige of the Biennale will come back."

 

Anonymous Biennale exhibitor

"I don't know why this decision has been made. We will feel pressured into attending annually and the logistics will be very difficult. The calendar is very crowded."

 

Anonymous Biennale exhibitor

"There are doubts because people fear the French market isn't as good as it once was and that there won't be enough stock to sustain an annual event."