“La Biennale Paris”

Chic and bucolic

A garden party feel on Sunday 10 September for the 4th edition of Chantilly Arts & Elegance, a partner of La Biennale Paris. Rendezvous at the Domaine de Chantilly for this event celebrating l’art de vivre, French style of course. One of the world’s most prestigious automobile races… An anticipated 15,000 visitors, collector’s cars and haute-couture gowns galore, concept cars and models with aerodynamic curves, hair-raising rallies and a forest of fancy hats, whether in felt or straw, bumping into one another on the lawns designed by Le Nôtre… No, you’re not dreaming: you’re well and truly plunged in the pastoral yet motorised décor of Chantilly Arts & Elegance Richard Mille, an event held every year in the gardens of the Château de Chantilly. A fête that dares the daring and sets the eye-catching in its sights, combining the most loyal adherence to traditions and the most innovative ideas around. For four years, this event, taking place on the eve of the Biennale’s opening, sets out to be the world’s most prestigious rally of collector’s cars. “The vehicles permitted to take part in this event are all exceptional,” remarks Patrick Peter, president of the company Peter Auto, which organises the day. “Every year, we welcome collectors from all over the world who come to Chantilly to admire them.” An open-air museum Sometimes, very little separates one ephemeral museum from another… While people go to La Biennale Paris to contemplate silent works, they head for Chantilly for the very opposite. It’s to the gentle sound of purring engines that Sunday strollers can admire some of the most beautiful cars in the world, specially gathered for the occasion. As every year, three competitions in honour of the most stunning vehicles are at the heart of the event. The most prestigious of...

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Christopher “Kip” Forbes

He is vice president of the jewel of the American financial press, a great wine lover (Lafite Rothschild) and an enthusiast of the Second Empire. He is Christopher Forbes, president of the Biennale Paris for this 2017 edition. An “ambassador” of shock aesthetics, a collector and a patron. An encounter. Christopher Forbes, vice president of Forbes Publishing and an extremely well-connected art collector, is a Francophile. And here’s proof: as the new school year starts, he’s ready in place as the new president of Biennale Paris. Christopher “Kip” Forbes is therefore presiding over the destiny of the “Biennale Committee”, which this year comprises Prince Amyn Aga Khan, Max Blumberg, Gary Tinterow and Roxana Velásquez. While Forbes takes care to specify that “the decision to improve and raise the quality standards of Biennale Paris was taken before I joined the committee”, he has also confided to Art Media Agency that “the committee members, who are not affiliated with the Syndicat National des Antiquaires, are either collectors or genuine connoisseurs, or else work closely with those who are”. Before going on to say: “We’ll all try to attract as many people as possible to the fair this year.” At the same time, he remains discreet on how exactly these interpersonal networks operate, how friendships develop on the art market… Regarding the Committee’s vice president, Benjamin Steinitz, a specialist in decorative objects and classical furniture, Christopher Forbes has confessed that he has “long admired and appreciated his presentations at various art and antiquities fairs”, while becoming personally acquainted with him only recently, via the committee. Similarly, he only met the SNA’s new president Mathias Ary Jan for the first time at the launch of the Biennale Committee, at the syndicate’s head office on Boulevard Malesherbes in Paris, on 15 November 2016. So...

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Barbier-Mueller: four generations of collectors

To celebrate the 40th birthday of the Musée Barbier-Mueller, the Biennale Paris is welcoming a selection of 130 works from this Swiss family’s personal collections. An opportunity to retrace a passion and a saga. For the Barbier-Muellers, collecting is part of the family history… It started off with the grandfather, Josef Mueller, then continued with the mother, Monique, the father, Jean Paul Barbier-Mueller, and today the three sons, Gabriel, Stéphane, Thierry, as well as Diane, one of the granddaughters. Four generations of collectors that the Biennale Paris has chosen to honour through a selection of works from their collection, some of which have never been unveiled to the public. “The idea was to set up a dialogue between major pieces from four generations of collectors with very different tastes by recreating the atmosphere of Josef Mueller’s apartment, where modern paintings stood alongside primitive-art objects,” is the way that Laurence Mattet, director of the Musée Barbier-Mueller in Geneva, puts it. Sculptures and contemporary paintings thus brush shoulders with Japanese weaponry and art objects from Africa, Oceania and Antiquity. This year’s event is also an opportunity to pay homage to Jean Paul Barbier-Mueller, who passed away last December at the age of 86 years, and whose name is associated with the largest private collection of primitive art – a collection which comprises 7000 objects, masks, ceramics, textiles, weapons, chairs… all originating from Africa, the Americas, Asia and Oceania, as well as tribal and classical Antiquity pieces. The Barbier-Mueller collection took off in Switzerland a little over 110 years ago. First of all, via Josef Mueller, the son of a bourgeois family from Soleure, who became an orphan at the age of six years. Josef fell “in love” with a portrait of a woman from Picasso’s Pink Period, which he saw on...

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Mathias Ary Jan or the art of reconquest

He’s young and (very) dynamic. And he’s also at the head of the most exclusive event of the back-to-school period. His mission is to bring new life to the Biennale, the paragon of taste and vigour. An hour with Mathias Ary Jan. The platform is international, the dialectic commercial. For its first edition (as a yearly event), La Biennale Paris shows a desire to leave old rivalries aside and to devote itself to new goals. Created under the sign of excellence, this twenty-ninth opus may well be the one that reconquers the public. This, in any case, is the priority of Mathias Ary Jan, a specialist in paintings from the end of the 19th century and the Orientalist school, now also president of the Syndicat National des Antiquaires. His strategy? Gathering around 5000 objects under the glass roof of the Grand Palais over eight days, according to new standards of rigour. A renewal, thus, for this upper-end rendezvous that remains the most chic event in the world of art. One where international collectors can (finally) get back on the track of big deals!   Despite its new yearly rhythm, the Biennale is preserving its name. Isn’t that a little strange? The Biennale traces a history. It’s also a name that, over the years, has become a brand. A brand that we wish to develop, a signature that we’re going to energise even more. So detaching the event from its name would have been, I think, a strategic error. While semantically, it’s no longer a biennale, strategically, the term remains well identified. It refers to a path, a history that started in 1956, and to which we’re very attached. And then again, isn’t the Paris-Dakar held in South America?   How would you describe this twenty-ninth edition in three words?...

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La Biennale Paris: The wind of renewal

A new formula for a historic fair. This year, La Biennale Paris is engaging in a rebirth that remains highly respectful of tradition. See it for yourself at the Grand Palais, until 17 September. The planet’s most elegant fair, riding on its heritage, opens up to new horizons. “Confidence, confidence, confidence!” This could be – if one were needed – the motto of this 29th edition of the Biennale, formerly known as the Biennale des Antiquaires, currently on at the Grand Palais until 17 September… And it’s not Christopher “Kip” Forbes, chairman of this new opus, who will say the contrary. “La Biennale Paris is the most important fair in its field in France, and one of the most important in the world,” claims the American billionaire who, this year, succeds Henri Loyrette, former president of the Louvre. “I’ll try to keep up the level of excellence established by my eminent predecessors and I hope to contribute to making this edition of the Biennale the most brilliant one to ever exist.” The stakes have been set… Will Christopher Forbes manage to meet them? Christopher Forbes, the ambassador of shockwaves By calling on a major figure from the art market this year, the Syndicat National des Antiquaires, the event’s organiser, has made the choice of competitiveness. In this milieu, Christopher Forbes is one of those people that we no longer introduce. Forbes is a name with a planetary resonance, associated with the eponymous magazine, one of the major US financial publications, known for its yearly ranking of the world’s greatest fortunes. The businessman’s renown already speaks in his favour. If we had to sum up Christopher Forbes’ profile, we could say that it more or less corresponds to that of the consummate artlover. After obtaining a degree in art history...

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