Art Market Magazine
The years go by, and no two are the same… After 2014's results, posting a considerable rise with sales of $68.2 billion for the global market, 2015 revealed a 7% drop, according to the latest report by economist Claire McAndrew, published during the TEFAF. So this is clearly no longer a time for elation, but for a cautious eye on the future. And yet in this sluggish context, France – representing only 5% of the global auction market – has emerged relatively unscathed. Last year, the French auction total came to €2.7 billion according to the Conseil des Ventes: an increase of 10% compared with 2014. The French market, geared more to the middle of the range, has thus proved more stable, even posting growth in segments considered speculative, like modern and post-war art, while there has been a downturn worldwide. This definitely warrants a little national preening!
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With the summer Olympic Games, the "marvellous city" looks set to welcome a record influx of sport-mad tourists. And they won't be alone, as art lovers will also gain from the dynamic energy that has pervaded Rio de Janeiro for the past few years. There are worksites all over the city, the most sizeable being the new tramway. While the art scene itself is affected by all this constructive turmoil, spectacular progress is sometimes victim to sudden and violent setbacks, or even failure. For example, the huge, magnificent Casa Daros, opened in the Centro de Rio by the eponymous Zurich foundation in March 2013, had to close in December 2015. In Brazil, as long as a project isn't finished or established as a long-term affair, nothing can ever be taken for granted.
The days when historicist creations were considered outdated have been assigned to the past. The 19th century, that of the great cabinetmakers such as Dasson, Sormani and Linke, now rivals the 18th. By way of example, in 2014 you had to spend €930,000 at Drouot to acquire a cylinder desk attributed to Henry Dasson. This item of furniture was certainly a copy, but a royal copy of the desk created by Jean-François Œben and Henri Riesener for Louis XV at Versailles.
On 12 March in Bordeaux (Alain Briscadieu auction house), a rare gem of a sale took place, featuring some exceptional objects and finally rewarded with a record bid. Three Ming Buddhas, armed only with their benign smiles, unleashed a veritable battle between buyers in the room and phone bidders, including no fewer than twenty from China. By the end of the fracas, the threesome, which came from a private Bordeaux collection, had shot up to €6,292,000.
Stylish, timeless and minimalist are three adjectives that accurately describe the style of Christian Liaigre. The same come to mind to define that of another designer further back in history: Jean-Michel Frank. Because the two men share the same feeling for clean lines, perfect proportions and the use of noble materials to their advantage. But Liaigre prefers wood, leather and bronze to parchment, galuchat and straw marquetry. And where Frank designed pieces with a very limited distribution…
When Christine Macel, Chief Curator at the Centre Pompidou-Musée National d’Art Moderne, was announced as the curator of the next Venice Biennial, the news made a considerable splash in the French contemporary art world. The venerable Biennial, created in 1895, whose next edition is taking place from 13 May to 26 November 2017, shares pole position for this type of event with the Kassel Documenta, but has the additional magic of Venice's inimitable aura.
Avenue Franklin Roosevelt, in a chic district in Brussels. Villa Empain stands on this noble setting of fine residences and embassies overlooking the Cambre forest in the south of the city. The building designed in 1930 by architect Michel Polak for the second son of Baron Empain has been home to the Boghossian Foundation since 2006. Sober and elegant, the modernist volumes of the villa, now a centre for dialogue between Western and Eastern cultures, are enhanced with gold leaf.
Rodin is definitely in fashion – as witness the preparations for the centenary of his death in 2017, and the long-awaited reopening of the Musée Rodin (Paris) in November 2015, after being closed for three years. The museum received 89,000 visitors in only a few weeks, despite the attacks in Paris. But this enthusiasm isn't restricted to France: Rodin is highly popular on the other side of the Atlantic as well.
April 2016 Edition
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