Parcours des Mondes: Whirlwind in Saint-Germain-des-Prés

A Bakongo nail fetish, a Jivaro shrunken head, or a sculpture from Papua New Guinea… From “museum-quality” pieces to charming finds, we look back to a crazy week: the Parcours des Mondes. The tribal-arts market is fascinating. Less dangerous than operating a uranium mine in Gabon, more restful than Tintin’s adventures in Congo, it has experienced an unprecedented boom in the last fifteen years or so. The quest for “magic” objects from Africa, Oceania or the Americas draws dealers and collectors to Paris every year at the quirky Parcours des Mondes * in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés district. This eminently tribal rendezvous, a deliciously ritualistic ceremony, brings together the cream in international dealing every September. To give a literary comparison, one might say that the magic of the Parcours des Mondes is a bit like the shock inflicted by L’Afrique fantôme… it is just as enchanting as Michel Leiris’ book. The type of week that might set you into a trance until Christmas. Following on from the BRUNEAF (Brussels Non European Art Fair) and Tribal Art, Bryan Reeves’ fair held at the start of September in London, the Parcours des Mondes follows the singular trail of the so-called “remote” arts whose attraction seems boundless. Even Audrey Azoulay, French minister of culture and communication, fell under the spell of Punu masks, Kota relics and other nail fetishes. And when great state officials venture to the jungle of galleries (such as Meyer or Flak), crossing the Rue des Beaux-Arts just as Livingstone traversed the Zambezi Valley, then you really know that these works are finding favour high up. “Best show ever” Alain Bovis gathered some “small wonders” – around one hundred minuscule statuettes, amulets and jewels – for an exhibition named “Beautysmall”. Bernard Dulon was in top form with Tsogho statue masterpieces from...

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Who’s afraid of Antoine Van de Beuque?

This is the story of an art dealer, Antoine Van de Beuque, former vice president of a renowned gallery (Wildenstein), who in 2012 launched ArtViatic. A high-flying digital dealing platform, whose ambition is to “free up access to exceptional works”. A portrait. “Change the codes”… The interview starts off with an order, which is unusual in the muffled world of art dealing, where discretion vies with propriety. But Antoine Van de Beuque isn’t one to hold back. This is the man behind online transactions that go over one million dollars. This is also the man to whom we owe some of the lowest buyer and seller commissions on the market. Offering an alternative to the traditional circuit for Impressionist, modern as well as contemporary art, the website ArtViatic is a (very) aggressive player. Its target? Paintings, works on paper and sculptures valued at over €20,000. Its method? Exchanges that take place “in real time, directly, at lower costs”. And this month, ArtViatic is launching its new platform: a 2.0 online version, on 20 September. For those who might have forgotten their Latin, let’s remember that viaticum denotes “travel provisions”. For Antoine Van de Beuque, founder of the platform whose name derives from this term, ArtViatic is a registered trademark synonymous with “online private sales of artworks”. So ArtViatic also rhymes with aesthetic, economic… and also “so chic”. The international platform gathers a number of signatures from the very top end: Louise Bourgeois, Victor Brauner, Piet Mondrian, François Pompon, Alfred Sisley… Not forgetting contemporary artists such as Richard Anuszkiewicz, Fiona Banner and Gregor Hildebrandt, whose presence is hard to ignore with a six by three metre canvas… This is no place for bric-a-brac: ArtViatic’s catalogue includes around one hundred pieces, renewed on an ongoing basis, and its ambition is to...

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Art market: 30 billion euros

The Conseil des Ventes, the French authority regulating public auctions, publishes a yearly “report”, which is an opportunity to consider the market’s vitality, from New York to Paris. A review of the very lucrative sector of art and collection objects.   The world is bipolar… This situation isn’t new, but it’s now been confirmed by the latest “Rapport d’Activité du Conseil des Ventes Volontaires” (Activity Report of the Council for Voluntary Sales, the authority which regulates public auctions in France), delivering an assessment of 2015 this summer. This is how things stand… On one side, the United States and China together generate two-thirds of global auction activity, in other words, 66.2 % of the very lucrative “art and collection objects” sector; and on the other side, there’s the rest of the world. And as nothing is straightforward in the kingdom of finance, the gap between the two giants is widening further this year. While Uncle Sam’s sales proceeds jumped up by 20.8 %, climbing from 9.27 billion euros in 2014 to 11.2 billion euros inn 2015, the Middle Kingdom remains steady at 8.68 billion euros in 2015, in other words, a 0.6 point drop. Moving up, the United States now represents 37.3 % of the global market while China, transiting through an adjustment phase since 2013, is a little behind with 28.9 %. In short, the art auction market today represents some 30 billion euros, spent in the four corners of the planet on Flemish paintings, 18th century commodes, Ming porcelain… So much to say that since 2009, according to the Conseil des Ventes’ figures, the total of sales on the auction market has more than doubled, swelling up by 126 %. The only shadow on this picture is the sluggishness recorded between 2011 and 2012, partly due to...

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Daniel & Michel Bismut present La Bibliothèque digitale

From 3 to 18 September, La Monnaie de Paris, at number 11 on Quai de Conti, will be home to Croisements by Daniel & Michel Bismut. The architectural duo has come up with “a hybrid piece, a reflection of our society and the evolution of behaviour in the family cell”, structured around twenty videos by contemporary artists from the Chinese artistic scene on loan from The Art Of This Century. Extending their research into entanglement, fragmentation and other distortions, the Bismuts’ installation, produced in collaboration with curator Martina Köppel Yang, is being presented in the context of magazine AD’s exhibition, “Univers de collectionneurs” (Collector’s Universes). A forward-looking vision of the habitat of...

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Biennale des Antiquaires: A 20th century collection

It’s a world that oscillates between sobriety and luxury. Signed by Nathalie Crinière, a space enclosed by partitions in gilded tones has been created for this 28th edition of the Biennale to showcase thirteen decorative-arts specialists from the 20th century. An exceptional inventory. For its first participation in the Biennale, the Galerie Chastel-Maréchal has designed an ensemble with a dark décor to recreate the interior of an erudite collector. Pieces from the 1930s and 1940s stand out for the sobriety of lines, highlighted by the use of noble materials including bronze, shagreen and lacquer. The delicate silhouette of the Figure lamp by Alberto Giacometti (c. 1933-1934) complements the exceptional table by André Arbus with an antique green bronze base. The walls sparkle with the gleaming Soleil à pointes n° 3 mirror by Line Vautrin (c. 1965) and a panel by Katsu Hamanaka (c. 1938). Here, this master of Japanese lacquer offers a lively combat scene. Further off, the Galerie Mathivet presents the exhibition “Reflets et transparences” (Reflections and Transparencies). Here, the collector is plunged into the poetic world of Diego Giacometti and the captivating bestiary of Armand-Albert Rateau with a butterfly-shaped applique made up of glass beads. An eminently elegant sculpted mirror once belonging to Jeanne Lanvin tops off this ensemble. The opalescence of an alabaster desk lamp by Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann, only appearing in archives until now, will fascinate collectors. New York-based Maison Gérard is taking part in the Biennale for the first time. Benoist Dru and Gerardus Widdershoven are presenting a set of creations blending eras and countries. A pair of tortoiseshell cabinets with sycamore interiors by Leleu (1963) stands alongside a coffee table by Robsjohn-Gibbings (1938). A fourth-time Biennale participant, the Galerie Michel Giraud sets out to carry on the spirit of its contributions at previous editions....

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