Art Paris 2024 fervently celebrates the French scene and the Arts & Crafts

by | Apr 6, 2024 | Art Fair Coverage

Pauline Loeb sitten in the alleys, in front of Templon’s booth, at Art Paris 2024 © Pauline Loeb 

Once upon a time, in 1999, a small regional fair launched at the Carrousel du Louvre under the simple name of Art Paris. Positioning itself as a complement, rather than a competitor, to the then-indomitable FIAC (discontinued in 2022), the fair seemed destined to remain in the shadows. That was until Julien Lecêtre and his sister Valentine took over the fair in 2012 and appointed Guillaume Piens as its director. With the unexpected turn of events in 2020 and the removal of FIAC, the fair had the opportunity to grow in size and quality.

This 26th edition was particularly appreciated by visitors and collectors for its quality, relaxed and welcoming atmosphere, and the variety of mediums it offered, both in contemporary and modern art. The proof of this success is undoubtedly the impressive sales recorded, in a context that has been tense since January, as experienced by TEFAF and Art Basel Hong Kong.

The ‘Fragile Utopias’ sector

Art Paris proudly flies the French flag and makes it a point of honor to support the local scene. This was indeed one of the two themes of the 2024 edition. ‘Fragiles Utopias,’ curated by Éric de Chassey, Director General of the National Institute of Art History, showcased the work of 21 French artists. Within this selection, the ‘BNP Paribas Private Banking Prize. A Look at the French Scene’ rewarded the work of Nathalie Du Pasquier, represented by the Yvon Lambert gallery, with a grant of €30,000. 

Yto Barrada

Yto Barrada’s photographs, in Galerie Polaris’ booth at Art Paris 2024 © Pauline Loeb

Personally, I’ve been captivated by the Elika Hedayat’ work, showcased by Aline Vidal, representing a disturbing dystopia of her native Iran. Same with the photographs of Yto Barrada, in whose intelligent composition of piled-up furniture reflects a well-thought-out organization.

To stay true to French craftsmanship, the Sèvres booth, which showcased a diverse collection of ceramics against a pink backdrop, featuring artists such as Françoise Pétrovitch, Ettore Sottsass, Barthélémy Toguo, and Jean Arp, could only charm the visitors.

Sevres Art Paris

Sevres’ booth at Art Paris 2024 © Pauline Loeb

Another booth that, in my opinion, executed flawlessly was that of Galerie Suzanne Tarasieve. It featured fascinating artworks, including the meticulously sculpted cardboard diptych by Eva Jospin, the impressive wall sculptures created by Recycle Group using industrial materials and recycled plastics, the strikingly realistic paintings by Youcef Korichi, the unsettling sculptures by Anne Wenzel, and, even more impactful, the work of Japanese artist Mari Katayama, who stages herself with colorful fabric limbs, aiming to replace and augment those she lost due to a degenerative disease.

Mari Katayama

Mari Katayama in Galerie Suzanne Tarasieve’s booth at Art Paris 2024 © Pauline Loeb

The ‘Art & Craft’ sector

The ‘Art & Craft’ section, whose name is rooted in the artistic movement of the second half of the 19th century in England, Arts and Crafts, aims to highlight the resurgence of craftsmanship in the field of art. Curated by Nicolas Trembley, it showcased around twenty artists of all ages and backgrounds, within the very stands of the galleries. 

I really enjoyed this thematic journey, like a treasure hunt within the fair. There were already well-established artists, such as Jean-Marie Appriou at Perrotin or Joël Andrianomearisoa presented by Almine Rech, but also some more unfamiliar names. I was particularly moved by the delicate yet imposing clay vases by Korean artist Jane Yang d’Haene, showcased at the Bienvenu Steinberg & J booth, in dialogue with Peter Kim’s canvas. This series drew inspiration from the traditional dalhangari moon jars, which are emblematic of the excellence of Korean ceramicists throughout history. Often used for storing food, their minimal appearance, round shape, and white glaze reminiscent of the moon have inspired many artists.

Bienvenu Steinberg & J

Bienvenu Steinberg & J’s booth presenting ceramics by Jane Yang-d’Haene and canvas by Peter Kim at Art Paris 2024 © Pauline Loeb

Curator’s booth pick

Opera Gallery is, to me, a reliable asset due to the quality of the artists they represent and the high-quality fairs they participate in. I see them all the time, everywhere. So, for Art Paris, I wanted to highlight their booth, but more importantly, 4 artworks, in the form of a tale. It’s the story of a Nana who really wanted to see Queen Mariana, but the story ends badly as the poor girl loses her mind…! This tale is based on a graceful ‘Running Nana’ by Niki de Saint Phalle, made of lightweight papier-mâché; an installation in copper wire forming the word ‘Really’ by Eerdekens; an imposing ‘Reina Mariana’ in aluminum from the ‘Las Meninas’ series by Spanish artist Manolo Valdés; and finally, a Gouache on Canson paper by Alexander Calder, created in 1969. I liked the idea of showcasing both modern and contemporary artists as well as a diversity of mediums.

Opera Gallery’s booth at Art Paris 2024 © Opera Gallery.

The booth, composed of several distinct spaces allowing for an elegant staging, gathered superb artworks, including a magnificent Soulages towering 263 cm high welcoming visitors right at the entrance, an amusing ‘Pony Tail’ by Julien Opie, two drawings by Keith Haring, a large painting by Juan Genoves, a circus couple by Fernando Botero, and a wall sculpture in shades of orange-red by Korean artist Jae Ko. I was evidently not the only one who appreciated the booth, as Opera Gallery had sold nearly all of the artworks by the last day.

Art Dealers Interviews

From textiles to sculpture, ceramics, and painting mixed with photography: there emerges a beautiful diversity from my 4 interviews with art dealers, mirroring the 26th edition of Art Paris. At Galerie Mitterrand, director Olivia Anani introduced me to a marvelous tapestry nearly 3.50 meters long, made of wool and cotton by Marc Johnson. At Claire Gastaud, Caroline Perrin presented ‘Hommage à Foucault II’, a sculpture by Vladimir Skoda consisting of a large mirror-polished steel ball topped with a small black-painted steel ball swinging at the end of a nylon thread. At the booth of Bienvenu Steinberg & J, Sandy Park spoke to me about the impressive ceramic work of Korean artist Jane Yang-d’Haene. Finally, the founder of Bigaignon Gallery completely won me over with this piece combining painting and 20 years of layered photographs by French artist Catherine Balet.

How Much Does It Cost?

I had a hard time limiting myself to just 4 this time, as I saw so many enticing works! I already came face to face with this large Aubusson tapestry woven from a design by Le Corbusier in 1936, offered at €300,000 by Galerie Zlotowski. At Paris B, a gallery I really like, it was a small oil on wood by Marguerite Piard that caught my eye. There’s a great sensuality emanating from this woman’s body, and it’s a shame it was already sold because I would have gladly spent the €2,600 asked to bring it home. A little further along, at Nosbaum Reding, there was a lovely silhouette of a man, created by Stefaan De Croock from recycled wood, for sale for €14,000. Also, a face, but upside down, by Matthias Bitzer, offered at Almine Rech’s booth for between €35/40,000. At Opera Gallery’s booth, one couldn’t miss the imposing Reina Mariana by Manolo Valdés, for which one had to shell out the handsome sum – deservedly – of $500,000. Finally, a young artist at H Gallery, Lucile Piketti, was exhibiting a large canvas showing an interior, priced at €8,500.

Sum it up, I'm in a rush!

  • When? | April 4-7, 2024
  • Where? | Paris
  • Atmosphere | Good natured & packed
  • Curator’s pick | Galerie Suzanne Tarasieve
  • Featured Gallery Gem | Opera Gallery
  • Spotlighted Artists | Nour Elbasuni, Yto Barrada, Elika Edayat 
  • For Whom? | French artists lovers

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