Art Market Magazine
In May (it's the season, after all), art is cultivating its garden with various exhibitions where nature holds sway. Whether mystical (Musée d'Orsay in Paris) or subversive (Centre Pompidou-Metz), the landscape, thoroughly in the spotlight, offers a welcome respite from the furore raging around a presidential election whose long-awaited outcome will coincide, more or less, with the opening of the 57th Venice contemporary art Biennale – this year directed (surprise, surprise) by a Frenchwoman. The market also has green fingers, and has revealed a growing trend for outdoor sculptures and open-air decorative art, when it doesn't take a simple pleasure in Claude Monet's seascapes. When Ernst Beyeler created his foundation, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the great Swiss modern art collector was adamant that he wanted it in a setting far from the turmoil of city life. It now looks out over the countryside around Basel from its fief in Riehen, and welcomes 340,000 visitors each year among islands of greenery and stretches of water. Proof that harmony between culture and nature is truly possible, and can endure.
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Jointly organised with the Art Gallery of Ontario, the exhibition “Beyond the Stars. The Mystical Landscape from Monet to Kandinsky”, at the Musée d’Orsay, provides a new interpretation of late 19th and early 20th century landscape painting, focusing on artists’ existential concerns. Through nature, or with it before their eyes, they sought to express their spiritual quest in a variety of styles.
The Barbizon school’s realistic landscapes were challenged by naturalism, as defined by Théophile Gautier in his article on Caruelle d’Aligny published in Le Moniteur universel (6 May 1861). “Imagination and style are no longer fashionable in landscape painting”; the artist should “show nature as it is”. Meanwhile, in 1863, Jules-Antoine Castagnary advocated the kind of naturalism that makes “simple, familiar nature worthy of the feelings that inhabit the soul of man”. The concept of “plein-air” (the outdoors), theorised by Stephane Mallarmé in an essay from 30 September 1876 (“The Impressionists and Edouard Manet”, in The Art Monthly Review), was thus based on the objective study
Auctions lead us, along with Paul Sérusier and Claude Monet, down the path of modernity, while the Christensen collection is celebrating the relationship between African art and the art brut of Jean Dubuffet. At the same time, on the banks of Lake Geneva, Marie de Balkany is separating herself from the content of her rich villa.
The results of the end of March and April are flooding in, dominated by a Chinese Kangxi period brush pot made of bamboo, which sold for a world record price of €1.57 M.
This finely-carved high relief, characterised by the expressiveness of its figures, tells the story of seven Taoist intellectuals withdrawing into the forest of bamboo.
British auction houses started the fashion for outdoor sculpture in the late 1980s, and they are now firmly part of the landscape. Sotheby’s, a pioneer in this regard, holds sales every year consisting entirely of garden ornaments, followed actively in France by Artcurial, Christophe Joron-Derem or Coutau-Bégarie.
Specialising in Italian art from the second half of the 20th century, the Paris Tornabuoni Art gallery recently left Avenue Matignon for huge premises in Passage de Retz in the Marais district. We talk to the gallery director, Michele Casamonti, about his career and the Italian art market.
Newcomers to the springtime art fair calendar, Photo London (18-21 May), which is three years old, and TEFAF New York Spring (4-8 May), which is launching its first edition, dedicated to modern and contemporary art, have come to compete with their elder Frieze New York (5-7 May).
It’s hard not to feel just a tiny thrill of national pride as the 57th Venice contemporary art Biennial approaches, under the French leadership of Christine Macel. It has to be said that the prestigious “post” has not been filled by someone from France since Jean Clair’s appointment
May 2017 Edition
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