The Foire Internationle d'Art Contemporain, held at the Grand Palais, on Sunday.
France's biggest annual art fair, Fiac, came to an end on Sunday. In the midst of the financial crisis, you might expect a little thrift from the collectors. Not so.
Art dealers give us their impressions on the 2008 selection.
"Considering the situation, we had a good result"
Philippe Valentin runs "Chez Valentin", a young gallery in the Marais that sells affordable artwork (from €800 to €30,000).The crisis hasn't affected sales, but it has affected behaviour. When we're negotiating a price, collectors joke that we should lower the price because of the crisis. Unlike London, Paris isn't a market of traders. Our public doesn't only depend on one social category, luckily.
I'm very happy right now because Laurent Grasso, one of our artists, has just won the Marcel Duchamp prize. That's given him a lot of exposure and the opportunity to exhibit at Beaubourg [the Georges Pompidou center]. Even before that, we'd been selling his silkscreen prints at €4,000 a piece no problem. Even our biggest work of art, "Bonne Nuit les Petits" by Pierre Ardouvin, at a cost of €30,000, found a home.
We were quite anxious before the fair. But considering the situation, we had a good result. The next international meeting will be at Art-Basel in Miami. There's no way we'll run the risk of going there with big, expensive sculptures, when the Americans have been affected so much worse than us.
Two pieces I sold this year:
Pierre Ardouvin, Bonne Nuit les Petits, 2008. Sculpture. Sold for €30,000 euros. Photo courtesy of Galery Chez Valentin.
Laurent GRASSO, Retroprojection, 2007. Silkscreen print 150 x 150 cm. Sold at €4,000.Photo courtesy of Galery Chez Valentin.
"The primary consequence is actually the comeback of 'real' collectors"
A former antique dealer, Jerome de Norimont opened a modern art gallery in Paris when he was 15. He's behind the Jeff Koons exhibition currently at the Palace of Versailles.The current crisis is palpable; selling up to €50,000 doesn't pose any problems, but after that it does become difficult. I don't think any gallery is selling works that cost over €500,000. However, prices haven't gone down and we're still far from feeling the same effects that shook the arts market at the start of the 1990s. At least the arrival of the recession quiets two years of speculation and worrying.
The primary consequence is actually the comeback of 'real collectors'. They're quite happy to see everyone go. The collectors have more choice and the dealers can go back to their real trade - to advise and explain. Buys aren't as impulsive as before.
We're returning to a normal, healthy situation, where good artists are getting their value back. It's only fair. And the positive aspect of this year's Fiac is that there are greater numbers of people, because they're interested in this revival.
Two pieces I sold this year:
David MACH, Che, 2008. Matchstick sculpture. €20,000. Photo courtesy of Galery Jérôme and Emmanuelle de Noirmont
Fabrice HYBER, Peace and Love, 2008. €50,000. Photo courtesy of Galery Jérôme and Emmanuelle de Noirmont.