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World's Leading Annual International Show for Tribal Art Opens in Paris
Ibedji, Yoruba, Nigeria, H : 24 à 31 cm. © Galerie Olivier Larroque.

PARIS.- From September 10–14, tribal art will be the focus of attention for the international art market. The Parcours des mondes, which has become the world’s leading annual international show for tribal art, will once again be held in the heart of the gallery district in Saint-Germain-des-Prés in Paris. Now in its seventh year, Parcours des mondes, which means “traversing worlds,” has been substantially restructured, thanks to a dynamic new management team. This year, some 63 specialized galleries, including some of the finest in the field, will participate, each set up in an individual gallery space in the neighborhood. This is an increase of 20% over 2007.

Among the newcomers are the world-renowned Belgian dealers Bernard de Grunne, Pierre Dartevelle, and Patrick Mestdagh. The latter is president of BRUNEAF, the Brussels Non-European Art Fair. From the United States will be Thomas Murray, a well-respected dealer and president of ATADA, the Antique Tribal Art Dealers Association. Also new to the event is its new management organization, Tribal Art Management, which brings a host of new concepts to the event. It is run by the publishers of Tribal Art Magazine, which was founded in 1994 by Alex Arthur and Jonathan Fogel, and is now the central publication in this field.

Paris has always been one of the world’s leading locations to buy the antique indigenous arts of Africa, Oceania, Asia, and the Americas. Because of this enviable position, more than 50% of the exhibitors participating in the Parcours des mondes this year will be from out of town. This unique show covers an area of 25,000 m2, in which dealers from Belgium, the United States, Italy, Switzerland, Canada, Spain, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Netherlands, as well as some from other areas of France, will join their Parisian colleagues and set up for five days in gallery spaces along the historic rues des Beaux-Arts, de Seine, Jacques Callot, Visconti, Guénégaud, and quai Malaquais.

Under the umbrella of the Parcours des mondes, these dealers will present remarkable pieces of art from Africa, Oceania, Asia, and the Americas for sale to the general public as well as the collectors of tribal art who travel to Paris from the four corners of the globe for this event. An international ethics committee has vetted the selection for the catalogue for the event and will observe the material being offered throughout the event to ensure that the quality of art at the fair remains at the highest standard.

Visitors to Parcours des mondes will have the opportunity to discover masterpieces of world art that the dealers will have kept hidden until the day of the opening. Alongside these will be unique artworks of the highest quality, accessible for every budget. This year, the audience for the event will be even wider, since collectors of contemporary art will also be attracted to the Parcours, not only because tribal art is becoming increasingly vogue but because many galleries will also combine tribal and modern/contemporary pieces, some in partnership with specialist galleries. Another link to contemporary art will be the sponsored exhibition at the Monnaie de Paris entitled Fragments du Vivant: African Sculptures in the Liliane and Michel Durand-Dessert Collection. These notable contemporary art dealers have been collecting extraordinary pieces of tribal art for more than two decades and have formed one of the world’s great collections.

Alongside all these innovations, the addition of a VIP lounge, a completely re-styled catalogue, a new website, and a host of new sponsors promise to make this year’s Parcours des mondes a memorable experience.

Tribal and Contemporary Art: A Perfect Match at the Parcours
The influence of “primitive” art on that of the West dates to the beginning of the twentieth century, when the cubists, German expressionist movement, surrealists, and artists such as Gauguin, Modigliani, Léger, Klee, and Giacometti began to take inspiration from its many forms. What began as an innovative artistic dialogue a century ago has echoes that reverberate even today in many forms of contemporary art.

For an increasing number of collectors today, the aesthetic harmony of contemporary and tribal art is clear, despite huge conceptual differences. Living proof of this is the magnificent African art collection assembled by contemporary art dealers Liliane and Michel Durand-Dessert, which will be on show at the Monnaie de Paris both during and after the Parcours. Another exhibition titled Parcours Croisés at Galerie Jeanne-Bucher will make direct comparisons between tribal art and the work of important twentieth century artists such as Giacometti and Dubuffet.

Among the Parcours participants this year, Jacques Germain will exhibit African objects in the gallery of Jean-François Aittouarès, who will complement them with paintings by artists such as Hans Hartung. Bernard de Grunne will be the guest of Patrice Trigano, and his objects will be in direct dialogue with works by Magritte, Léger, and Picasso.

Johann Lévy, who runs a permanent gallery in Paris, is making his first step towards exhibiting contemporary art for the event. His gallery will feature traditional objects from Africa and Oceania under the theme Fragments, which will be displayed alongside canvases by South African artist Billie Zangewa, which feature textile fragments.

An Exclusive Exhibition Organized in Partnership with the Monnaie de Paris
The new organizers of the Parcours des mondes are offering visitors to the event a rare opportunity to contemplate an exceptional and very personal private collection of African art. From September 10–24, the Monnaie de Paris (the old Paris mint) will host the exhibition Fragments du Vivant: African Sculpture from the Liliane and Michel Durand-Dessert Collection.

Liliane and Michel Durand-Dessert have a unique and profoundly original view of art, which they have shared for many years through their contemporary art gallery and the numerous exhibitions they have staged. This show reveals the same exacting passion that they have applied to African art, which they have been collecting since 1980. Attracted by a hieratic treatment of the human body, these collectors have a marked and assertive aesthetic that reflects the influences of human hands and of nature on the works. The approximately 150 examples of African art that will be displayed in conjunction with the Parcours des mondes are equally accessible aesthically to collectors of tribal art as well as those of contemporary art.

A Private Lounge to Promote Dialogue
The organizers of the Parcours des mondes have joined forces with Galerie Jeanne-Bucher and are reserving that space at 53 rue de Seine for VIP clients. Collectors, exhibiting dealers, and other art professionals will be able to mix in a convivial and refined environment with academics and experts from around the world for the duration of the show.

The gallery will present Parcours croisés, an exhibition featuring modern works from its collection—including pieces by Dubuffet, Giacometti, Vieira da Silva, Tobey, and Laurens, to name just a few—that relate to a primitive aesthetic. These will form a natural dialogue with original works from the Olmec, Maya, Huaxtec, and Sepik, which are drawn from the owner’s personal collection. The interactive relationships between the artworks will be mirrored by that of visitors to the gallery, who can relax, meet one another, and compare interests.

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