PARIS.- The Salon du dessin
is 22 years old this year. Exceptional longevity at such a high level of excellence, due to the quality of the exhibitors and to the constant attention given to offering collectors works previously unseen on the market. Created in 1991 upon the initiative of a few art dealers, the Salon du dessin has come to benefit from true renown internationally. Leading collectors and museum curators from all over the world come to Paris during the Salon du dessin, for throughout this week it is the whole of Paris that celebrates drawing. To begin with, there are of course the 39 art dealers of the Palais de la Bourse, but also the twenty or so museums which, for the occasion, open their drawing cabinets or organise special exhibitions. The fact that it brings together museums around and upon the initiative of an affair of the art market testifies to how the Salon du dessin is an event unlike others. And as it has been the case since 2010, it is also at the Salon du dessin that Daniel and Florence Guerlain have chosen to announce the winner of their Contemporary Drawing Prize. The three selected artists Ulla von Brandenburg (Germany), Susan Hefuna (Germany) and Hans Op de Beeck (Belgium) will be exhibited on a stand throughout the duration of the salon, and the prize will be awarded to the laureate on Thursday 11 April 2013.
In 2012, 13,000 visitors covered the alleys of the salon. Of these, 43% were regular visitors coming for three years or more and always looking forward to this rendezvous. 44% of these visitors come above all for ancient drawings, while 37% are interested in modern drawings. And among these aficionados of drawings, 14% have already bought some work.
Enthusiastic and dedIcated exhibitors
Yet again this year, the Palais Brongniart in Place de la Bourse is to welcome 39 exhibitors: 20 French and 19 from abroad. This almost perfect balance between French and international exhibitors is precisely one of the great strengths of the Salon du dessin, assurance of success. Collectors thus have the pleasure of finding the French exhibitors they know well and are stimulated by the discovery of other art dealers presenting more unexpected works. In 2013, new art dealers from abroad are reinforcing the offering on show at the Salon du dessin: the Continua gallery from Tuscany, specialised in contemporary drawings, the Swiss gallery of Jacques de la Béraudière, whose renown in 19th and 20th century drawings is well established, and finally, the return of David Lévy & Associates, on whose stand is to be presented notably works by Miró and Spillaert.
On the side of French exhibitors, there is to be noted the arrival of the AB Gallery, where Agnès Aittouares is to present drawings from the 19th and early 20th century, or else that of the Galerie des Modernes where works on paper by Dufy, Gleizes and Signac are to be found alongside each other, and the return of Bob Haboldt. Particularly dedicated to the organisation of the Salon du dessin since its creation, Chantal Kiener is this year again taking a stand at which 19th century work is to be honoured.
A dynamIc and federating Salon
Dedicated to their profession, the exhibitors and organisers of the Salon du dessin are determined to provide art lovers with a broader view of the history of drawing. For the fourteenth consecutive year, the Week of the Drawing is being organised by the Salon du dessin and this year brings together 19 museums.
Among notable events on the programme: At the BNF (National Library of France), the drawings from the almanac of the 17th century to be discovered in the reserves opened exceptionally for the occasion. At the Condé de Chantilly museum, an exhibition presents the preparatory drawings of Le Notre for the garden. Loyal to the event, the Foundation Custodia is organising, in collaboration with the Dutch Institute, an exhibition of drawings by Dutch artist Peter Vos (1935 2010), around the theme of the Metamorphoses. Finally, at the museum of the Petit Palais, it is an exhibition of 17th century drawings and engravings of animals from the Dutuit collection that visiting art lovers will have the chance to look over.
To help further knowledge in the domain of the history of art is also among the priorities of the organisers of the Salon du dessin. The 8th Rencontres Internationales (International Lectures) are being held at the Palais Brongniart where, for two days, curators from France and abroad come together to focus on the state of research. This year, it is again the theme of Drawing to Engrave, Engraving to Draw, the Drawing in the Revolution of the Print that is to be explored. One of the fascinating aspects in acquiring a drawing is the research work carried out to better situate it. The previous cycle of the Rencontres Internationales du Salon du dessin covered the collection brands to be found there. This year we get down to the links that connect drawing with engraving. After dealing with the 16th and 17th centuries last year, the 8th edition of the Rencontres are to be dedicated to the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. In choosing this order, Dominique Cordellier, director of the Rencontres Internationales and Head Curator of the department of Graphic Arts of the Louvre museum demonstrates the lasting nature of the relationship between drawing and engraving, its cohabitation and interconnectivity.
Enabling visitors to the Salon du dessin to discover previously unseen collections that are difficult to access is always a challenge. After the collection of Alain Delon in 2010, that of the Rouen Museum of Fine Arts in 2011 and of the Museum of Mont-de-Piété in Bergues in 2012, it is the turn of the Bonnat-Helleu Museum of Bayonne and notably of the Helleu Collection to be exhibited at the Palais de la Bourse.
The cabinet of drawings, of international renown, includes almost 3,500 works of great quality. Thanks to the generosity of the descendants of Paul-César Helleu (1859 1927), nearly 300 drawings and prints have been added to the collection. The various aspects of its graphic production are evoked through the chosen sheets, some previously unpublished. The Salon du dessin thus provides a unique occasion to discover them while the Bonnat-Helleu Museum remains closed to the public (2011 2018).
Finally, the stand reserved for anonymous drawings at less than 10,000 Euros is always a source of pleasure for informed art lovers and sometimes gives rise to some remarkable surprises.
An unprecedented choIce of ancient, modern and contempory drawings
Few salons are as rich in ancient drawings: to be appreciated in particular this year at the stand of Didier Aaron & Co is the gouache on vellum showing Christ presented before Pilate, created by Johann Wilhem Baur around 1635. At the De Bayser Gallery, it is a Leaning Woman by François Boucher (1703 1770) that art lovers can discover. The Terrades Gallery for its part proposes a most beautiful Study of a Standing Man, around 1770, by Giovanni Battista Piranesi. Another exceptional ancient drawing among several: the Winter Landscape on the Vlist near Schoonhoven by Jacob Cats (Altona 1741 1799 Amsterdam), dated 1788 and presented by Haboldt & Co.
In modern drawings, numerous examples attract attention. To mention but a few: a watercolour and a charcoal drawing by Maurice Estève, both dated 1962 at the Applicat-Prazan Gallery, an astonishing Cow Mask by Kees van Dongen from 1910 at the Antoine Laurentin Gallery, and from the very early 19th century, a most sensitive Young Woman on the Arm of a Man, Seen from Behind, by Théodore Géricault at the Talabardon & Gautier Gallery. At the stand of Katrin Kusthandel Bellinger, it is a Norman Milkmaid by Jean-François Millet that can be appreciated. As for Jean-Luc Baroni, he can be proud to show a magnificent Derain from 1906: The Earthly Paradise. For his first participation at the Salon du dessin, Jacques de la Béraudière is showing the Man in the Café by Juan Gris (1912) and a most lively ink on paper called Horseman of Death by Salvador Dalí (1934). Particularly impressive is Richard Mullers The Hunter IV presented by Martin Moeller & Co., which cannot fail to attract attention, as is also true of the Crowned Head of Christ (1939) by Louis Soutter at the Ditesheim Gallery. Also to be noted is the Figure or Composition, a radiant gouache by Albert Gleizes, dated 1935, at the stand of the Galerie des Modernes.
The contemporary drawing proves not to be outdone with the as always particularly subtle selection of the Gallery of France, illustrated this year by a Modelo by Martial Raysse (2010) and the Parables album of Viktor Pivovarov created in 2007. Also to be discovered is an astonishing Still Life in graphite pencil by Josep Santilari (2012) at the stand of Artur Ramon Art from Spain and finally, for a first participation at the Salon du dessin, the Continua Gallery has chosen to show to the French public the work in carbon, casein and Tippex by Anthony Gormley, Matrix I (2008), as well as the delicate installations of Carlos Garaicoa, the Polvo series of 2012.