Louis de Bayser, FAB Paris president.

Image courtesy of FAB Paris

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ATG met him on his stand at the fair on the morning after a busy opening day to ask him how he felt things were going following the launch at the Grand Palais Ephémère.

De Bayser was pleased that the vernissage had been so well attended by art-loving people who were interested in these generalist fairs - and because the gallery made sales.

“We worked quite hard to get works that were available in time for the fair. If you sell well the reward is here and you are happy to be able to continue and find new things. It is more and more difficult to find new things for each fair,” he noted.

Galerie de Bayser had already sold around 10 pieces for sums between €20,000 and €50,000. They included three works from a small display of eight paintings by the French artist Charles Lacoste. “It’s a lot better when you have a group, whether of one artist, one subject or one period. You can make a focus”, de Bayser said.

Quality controls

When it came to the fair’s move to the Grand Palais Ephémère, was the larger space the prime reason?

De Bayser explained that there were two main goals. The first was to benefit from the quality and dimensions of the space and the great lines and perspective at the Grand Palais Ephémère, which he described as “quite amazing” and “a good first step before the Grand Palais”.

“The second thing is that coming here enables us to increase our exhibitors by 30%. We were 85 in the Carrousel and it was full; here we are 110 and it is full.

“As we want to grow we need a place to be able to grow. Here we have 110 exhibitors, at the Grand Palais next year we can have between 120 and 130 exhibitors.

“But what is very important”, de Bayser stressed, is that “we keep on being hard on the selection, on the dealers that we choose to be part of the fair. There is no point in growing but losing quality.”

Asked what he felt the optimum number of exhibitors should be, de Bayser said 130. “Also I like the fact that the fair is mixed, that you don’t have sections. If you have 200 dealers the fair is too big to be mixed, you have to make sections. I think it is important that you can come across Islamic works, Old Master paintings then modern furniture. When you have sections it can feel a bit repetitive, it gets tiring more quickly.”

Expanding the range

Was he intending to add more disciplines to the fair?

“We have the disciplines, next we have to deepen some of them like Asian art and 20th century furniture. Last year for, example, we had four exhibitors in Arts Premiers, this year we have 11. This is the kind of deepening we would like to try for other disciplines like Asian art. When you have three or four dealers in a discipline it is good but if you can manage to have eight or 10 it is much better because you are more representative.”

Currently just over a quarter of the exhibitors come from outside France. Would FAB Paris like to have more?

De Bayser acknowledged there were costs for foreign galleries coming to exhibit in Paris but said: “We would like to increase the number of foreign dealers.”

However, he stressed that it was not just a case of any dealer - quality being the number one factor for the new fair.