Printemps Asiatique 2024: The 7th Edition Celebrates Franco-Chinese Relations

by | Jun 21, 2024 | Art Fair Coverage

Pauline Loeb in front of the Pagoda Paris for Printemps Asiatique 2024 © artfairmag

This 7th edition of Printemps Asiatique was all about celebration, commemorating 60 years of cultural ties between China and France. Held in Paris, the event offered a spectacular showcase of Asian art through a fair, museum exhibitions, and auctions, surpassing its international scope from the previous year. With a mix of curiosity and delight, I visited the iconic Pagoda in the heart of the 8th arrondissement, which hosted about fifteen French and international galleries.

Three hours before the opening reception, I had the opportunity to explore the gallery booths—not really booths in the traditional sense, as the gallery spaces were intertwined with each other, creating a true immersion and superbly decorating this utterly unique building, commissioned in 1926 by the collector Ching Tsai Loo. The soft ambiance and ochre walls gave a very intimate impression, perfectly suited for contemplation. Right upon entering, a large paper artwork by Korean artist Lee Hyun Joung, presented by Louis & Sack Gallery, immediately caught the visitor’s eye with its expansive relief waves.

Lee Hyunjoung Louis & Sack

Lee Hyun Joung, Symphonie en Trois Mouvements, 2022. Muk and Korean pigments on hanji paper © Louis & Sack

The variety of works on display was truly impressive. From the arms and armor presented by Runjeet Singh to the wonderful Indian jewels from Sue Ollemans Gallery, from contemporary Japanese porcelains at Galerie Hioco to ancient Chinese ones from Nicolas Fournery, and from the rich Tibetan bronzes featured by Marcel Nies to the Uzbek tapestries brought by Jonathan Hope, not to mention the stone snuff bottles from Clare Chu and the paper screens from Gregg Baker, I hardly knew where to look first!

Nicolas Fournery

A turquoise glazed nightlight cat, China, Kangxi period (1662-1722). 15 x 13 cm, featured by Galerie Nicolas Fournery © artfairmag

One of the rooms upstairs housed an impressive collection of contemporary Japanese ceramics, presented by Galerie Hioco. It was hard to remain unmoved by Yukiya Izumita’s ‘Mille-feuille’, whose raw and minimalist aesthetic draws directly from the harsh climate and omnipresent sea of Northern Japan where the artist grew up. However, it was a piece by another Japanese artist, this time a woman, that captured all my attention. Ogawa Machiko’s porcelain ‘Vessel’ featured an astonishing glaze at the bottom, which strikingly resembled sea foam. A technical feat of dazzling beauty.

Galerie Hioco

Galerie Hioco at Printemps Asiatique 2024 featuring Yukiya Izumita and Ogawa Machiko © artfairmag

A wonderful room awaited the brave visitors who had climbed the five floors! The vast, light-filled room, thanks to a ceiling punctuated with windows, housed some fantastic pieces, including a large wooden sculpture ‘Creation of Heaven and Earth’ by Katoh Gizan, presented by Galerie Kiyama, which also displayed from the same artist a pair of delicately crafted wooden hands. A six-fold screen, made in Japan around the 16th/17th century, was one of the highlights from Gregg Baker Gallery in Brussels. To the left, a corridor entirely covered with carved wood paneling hosted the works from Galerie Le Toit du Monde, featuring among other things a pair of Mongolian costumes that were quite impressive.

Galerie Kiyama

5th floor at The Pagoda Paris for Printemps Asiatique, with Gregg Baker and Galerie Kiyama © artfairmag

Art Dealers Interviews

Asian art isn’t my primary area of expertise, and I loved learning from the various dealers, all passionate about their fields. I had the opportunity to handle one of Runjeet Singh’s Indian Katars (daggers), being careful not to touch the blade to avoid oxidizing the steel. I finally managed to pronounce ‘six-fold screen’ when discussing the marvelous paper screen from Gregg Baker. I discovered all the subtleties of Chinese snuff bottles with Clare Chu and then closely examined the impressive collection of turquoise glazed ceramics, made by the Chinese for Europeans, presented by Nicolas Fournery. Finally, Christophe Hioco spoke enthusiastically about the work of ceramist Izumita.

How Much Does It Cost?

If I had to leave with four works under my arm, I would have undoubtedly chosen the previously mentioned vase by Ogawa Machiko, offered by Galerie Hioco for €18,000 with its utterly fascinating glaze. Staying with ceramics, but ancient this time, the small turquoise glazed lotus teapot would have easily found a place on my bookshelf, and I would have had to pay Nicolas Fournery €7,000. Alexis Renard displayed a wonderful Ottoman box from the late 16th – early 17th century, made of tortoiseshell inlaid with ivory and mother-of-pearl, priced at €260,000. Finally, the monumental head fragment of a Dvarapala in stucco, dated between the 3rd and 5th centuries, would have joined my personal collection if I had €12,000 to give to Galerie Hioco (again!).

I’ve chosen to share my impressions solely on the treasures displayed at the Pagoda, but Printemps Asiatique also extended through various Parisian galleries, prominent auctions at Christie’s, Sotheby’s, Bonhams, Cornette de Saint Cyr, Artcurial, etc., and museum exhibitions, notably at the Louvre Museum, Guimet Museum, Cernuschi Museum, and the Museum of Decorative Arts. Undoubtedly, it is the most comprehensive artistic event celebrating Asian art in France and is not to be missed under any circumstances.

Sum it up, I'm in a rush!

  • When? | June 6-13, 2024
  • Where? | Paris, France
  • Atmosphere | crowded yet hushed
  • Curator’s pick | Galerie Hioco, Gregg Baker
  • For Whom? | Curious and collectors

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