The latest edition of Paris’ longstanding Biennale was staged at the Grand Palais from September 8-16. It is run by the Syndicat National des Antiquaires, (the French antique dealers association) and, following a reorganisation which has involved a number of changes, is now an annual event in the Paris calendar.
This year over 53,000 visited the Grand Palais, among them Madame Brigitte Macron, who stayed for over two hours on September 10.
The vernissage was particularly busy with over 8000 attending although given an 11-day run, footfall was inevitably quieter on some of the days that followed. This year there were 62 exhibitors, fewer than last year, the majority of them from France, showing in a new layout with a designated visitor route. Several of them told ATG they were pleased with the event and had made sales.
An estimated 12,000 visitors made their way to the Left Bank galleries of the Saint Germain des Près district for the 18th edition of Parcours des Mondes held from September 11-16 .
As usual opening day saw the galleries, surrounding streets and brasseries packed with an international array of visitors from round the world. Over the six-day run they were in action to view and buy from the 64 specialists who had brought their assembled treasures from the major centres of Tribal art around the world: Africa, Oceania, the Americas and the East.
The dealers were showing new acquisitions, rarities and themed exhibitions some of which had taken years to put together. A visit to any of the participating galleries at the launch showed enthusiasts keenly discussing and buying with a healthy display of red dots appearing on opening day and immediately afterwards.
Pictured here are some of the highlights that caught ATG’s eye on tours round the Parcours and the Biennale.
1. Bruce Frank
US dealer Bruce Frank had one of the most successful starts to this year’s Parcours. By the end of the opening day he had sold 20 of the 25 pieces from Island Guardians, his themed display of Indonesian and Oceanic wood figures. Pictured here is one of the highlights, a 15.75in (40cm) high 19th century North Nias figure from Indonesia that has a provenance to Sir Augustus Franks (1826-97) a former curator of the department of Antiquities at the British Museum.
2. Laurent Dodier
A highlight of French dealer Laurent Dodier’s display at the Parcours des Mondes was a rare provenanced 19th century carved decorative ceremonial Malangan frieze from the Bismark Archipelago measuring almost 3metres in length, a rare survival as most were destroyed after use. Another eye-catcher in his display was this early 20th century Giphogo mask from the Democratic Republic of Congo which unusually had retained its original fibre suit. It has a price tag of €7500.
3. Kapil Jariwala Gallery
The main eye-catcher in the gallery on rue Guénégaud where London dealer Kapil Jariwala Gallery was showing his selection of Asian artefacts was this impressively large 19th century painted cloth hanging from Rajasthan measuring 6ft 3in x 8ft 2in (1.9 x 2.5m). The hanging has a provenance to Jean Claude Ciancimino, the Douglas Fisher collection and Stewart Granger, the film actor.
4. Runjeet Singh
UK dealer Runjeet Singh was making his first appearance at Parcours des Mondes with a selection of Oriental Arms and Armour. Standing out in his display at 3ft 1in (94cm) high and already on reserve was this mid 17th century watered steel spearhead from the Deccan or Mughal India with its associated spear butt. The detail shows a finely worked iris on a punched ground cupped by detailed foliage at the base of the spearhead.
5. Michel Thieme
Michel Thieme from Amsterdam had a characteristically streamlined but dramatic display for his Parcours showing, at the Galerie Art is You on the rue des Beaux Arts. An early sale for him was this finely carved Fijian Kinikini club (detail shown) intended for a high status member of society such as a chief and made for ceremonial (or possible practical) use. Image credit Frank Verdier.
Robertaebasta from Milan was pleased with its latest Biennale participation which the gallery felt improved on last year. It had several items sold mid way through the fair’s run including this Coromandel desk by Gio Ponti and Piero Fornasetti which sold on opening night.
7. Galerie Alexis Bordes
Old Master specialist Galerie Alexis Bordes had five paintings sold or reserved by mid-way through the Biennale. They included this rare pastel of a gentleman by the 18th century Parisian portrait painter Jean Marc Nattier which is unusual for being on vellum. The 2ft x 19.75in (61 x 50cm) work, which is signed and dated 1753, may possibly depict the Marquis de Marigny who was Superintendant of the King’s Buildings from 1751.
8. Nicolas Bourriaud
One of the new aims of organisers of the Biennale is to promote participation by a younger generation of dealers. Among them was Nicolas Bourriaud from Paris, a specialist in 19th and 20th century sculpture. An eye-catching work on his stand was this Orientalist bronze by Louis-Ernest Barrias titled Jeune femme de Bou Saada, the 18.5 x15.25 x19.25in (47 x 39 x 49 cm), Susse Frères cast is a first edition of the 1890 model.