The last “Salon du dessin” was three years ago. The organizers used the break forced by the pandemic to refurbish the inside of the old stock exchange, but only in such a way that everything looks the same as always. Only fresher. The art dealer Martin Moeller from Hamburg puts it in a nutshell: “You see a lot of familiar faces, which is good. And they are happy that you are back!”
The current edition of the fair seems so busy and at the same time cheerful. As always, 39 galleries are at the start, because the stock exchange in the Palais Brongniart does not offer more space. 19 galleries come from abroad. This has no influence on what is on offer, it has always focused on French art from the Baroque to the threshold of the 20th century.
This time the Italian touches are all the more striking, such as a figure study by Michelangelo’s competitor Baccio Bandinelli for Terrades or a drawing by Marcantonio Raimondi, a famous engraver, from 1505 for Tarantino (€12,000).
The time span extends from Giambatista Tiepolo – a whole wall with images of saints at Grässle-Härb-Nuti from Munich – to Mario Sironi, whose view of Milan Cathedral from 1923 at Pandora Old Masters (New York) still breathes futurism.
The absolute high price is missing, or have we overlooked something? Certainly not the grandiose chalk drawing of a ballet scene by Edgar Degas, around 1900, for which Helene Bailly is asking 330,000 euros. The view of the Moroccan Kasbah of Taouirt, which was faithfully reproduced in 1928 by the highly esteemed Marrakesh pioneer Jacques Majorelle in France (with Ary Jan), also falls into this price range.
And the large pastel of two prostitutes by Georges Rouault from 1906 is advertised at Taménagra for 350,000 euros. Let’s go back to Moeller, who comes up with Nolde’s watercolor “Zwei Boote in China” (1913) for 230,000 euros and a gorgeous Kirchner drawing in black ink on yellow paper, holding a model in the studio as a bare outline, around 1910 and valued surprisingly mildly at 88,000 euros.
The large-format capriccio of antique buildings by Thomas de Thomon, the builder of the St don’t have to wait long either.
Landscapes from the 1870s by Charles-François Daubigny or Jean-François Millet can actually always be found at the fair. The great Picasso, on the other hand, is a rather rare guest at the Salon; It becomes clear why when you look at his postcard-small figure drawing from the early days around 1903, for which the Munich gallery Arnoldi-Livie states 120,000 euros – a rarity.
Contemporary is at the Drawing Now fair, held in the Carreau du Temple, a superbly refurbished ex-market hall in the bustling 3rd arrondissement. The fair is taking place for the 15th time, with at least 72 galleries. 300 artists show all conceivable techniques, as long as the image carrier is paper.
Gallery owner Martin Kudlek (Cologne) is almost euphoric about the fair and is showing works by Simon Schubert, who uses graphite powder to create views of severely built interiors (from 4,200 euros). Next door, Claire Gastaud (Paris) has completely prepared her booth, surrounded by the audience, for Leo Dorfner’s hyper-realistic, watercolor collages (large formats €9,600).
Hyperrealism is also evident in Suzanne Tarasieve (Paris), who covers an entire wall with a giant portrait of Hollywood great Mae West, executed by Nina Mae Fowler in amazing pencil technique (€22,000). Werner Klein (Cologne) has filled his bunk with delicate, abstract ink or pastel works by Christiane Löhr, which found buyers on the first day at prices of up to 30,000 euros.
But the Ukraine war also played into the fair. Ekaterina Iragui is visiting with her Moscow gallery, while she has to confirm that many of her collectors have left Russia, if not to say that they have fled.
Who should Olga Tschernischewa’s extremely sensitive, watercolored everyday observations reach if not her traditional collectors (up to 5,000 euros)? She is currently letting art graduates do their diploma theses in her gallery space, without knowing whether she will ever be able to continue her work in Moscow.
That leaves the third fair, the Paris Print Fair, held for the first time in the refectory of a former convent long since taken over by the Sorbonne – another magnificent hall, this time with a wooden beam ceiling instead of the cast iron of the market halls.
Here the offer is as broad in time as the reproduction graphics in general. It begins with Jurjens from Amsterdam with Dürer’s woodcut of the “Visitation of Mary” from the cycle of the life of Mary from 1503 (17,500 €) and the etching of the “Great Jewish Bride” by Rembrandt from 1635 (95,000 €).
It leads from a Piranesi etching from his Roman period around 1750 for a moderate 1800 euros at Chirstian Collin (Paris) to Picasso’s portrait of Jacqueline in linocut from 1962 from an edition of seven, which Frederick Mulder (London) is offering for 110,000 euros and finally to Christo’s collage of his (unrealized) Barcelona project, which was created in an edition of 200 at Libretis (Paris) for 8,500 euros.
And in the year 2020 to Christine Bouyer, who lets all 38 exits of the notorious Paris ring road scurry past in picturesque aquatint, each sheet available from Nathalie Béreau for only 70 euros or 2260 euros for the entire series. So it is possible to start collecting graphics, and maybe you want to see “your” exit from the Périphérique on the wall?