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"An Excellent Year": 14th Edition of Paris Photo Turned the Spotlight on Central Europe
A man visit the Paris Photo exhibition, in Paris, France. The annual international art fair of photography marked its 30th anniversary. EPA/LUCAS DOLEGA.
PARIS.- Paris Photo 2010: the best edition in 14 years, “an excellent year,” “splendid 14th edition,” “one of the best editions ever seen.” These were some of the headlines in the press hailing the success of the 14th edition of Paris Photo which closed on Sunday 21st November.

The 14th edition of Paris Photo turned the spotlight on central Europe – Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia – and included 106 exhibitors from 25 countries. Some 38,000 visitors came to the fair, compared to 40,150 in 2009, a slight decrease in number owing to the fact that there was no late night opening this year.

Sales took off
Transactions went at a sustained pace and most exhibitors reported a better volume of sales compared to 2009. Some achieved results that were described as “exceptional,” “astonishing,” “miraculous,” by the gallery owners themselves whose expectations were modest owing to the prevailing economic climate.

Vintage sales:
Sales were good, and even excellent, especially for those galleries whose shows coincided with some of the exhibitions currently on in Paris (Heinrich Kühn at the Musée de l’Orangerie, André Kertesz at the Jeu de Paume, Les Primitifs de la photographie at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France) as well as the big photography auctions and the Central European theme. The photograph by Joseph Sudek put up for auction by Johannes Faber gallery went for a record €300,750 at the Sotheby’s sale. This brought numerous buyers to the Viennese gallery’s booth at Paris Photo. Another image by the Czech artist went for €190,000. Meanwhile, the New York gallery Edwynn Houk, sold the picture entitled « Arles » (1929) by Hungary’s Moholy-Nagy for US$265,000. Budapest’s Vintage Gallery was showing largely Hungarian modernists and achieved better sales than last year with a total of €58,000 for 22 vintage pieces sold. France’s Françoise Paviot sold her self portrait of Man Ray for €75,000 and the entire set of small contacts by Brassaï made in 1958 for between €2,500 and €4,000 each. Obsis gallery of Paris sold its entire collection of images of the 1931 colonial exhibition held in Paris to a Paris museum for more than €100,000. A specialist in anonymous photography, the gallery Lumière des Roses (Montreuil) sold two thirds of the works on its booth, and in particular 8 autochromes (1925/1930) by Léon Gimpel at €7,000 each. Surfing on the current wave of enthusiasm for photographers who worked in fashion (Avedon, Irving Penn, Guy Bourdin, Helmut Newton...), Hamiltons Gallery of London sold the famous « Mainbocher Corset » (1939) by Horst P. Horst for US$ 150,000.

Contemporary sales :
Filles du Calvaire (Paris) gallery recorded its best sales ever at this year ‘s Paris Photo. The gallery let go of three editions of a portrait by Paul Graham from his « End of an Age Series, 1996-1998 » at €24,000 a piece to buyers who included some Turkish newcomers to the fair. SAGE Paris sold his entire collection of the «light-boxes » made in 1999 by Japan’s Naoya Hatakeyama, ie. some 30 works costing €6,000 each which went to the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston and to a Brazilian foundation. Berlin’s DNA gallery sold 80% of its wares including two large format staged images by Japan’s Tatsumi Orimoto at €38,000 each and two videos by Bulgarian artist Mariana Vassileva costing € 8,000 each. New York’s Yossi Milo recorded better sales than at his last participation in Paris Photo in 2006 with some 40 works priced at between €6,000 and €10,000 acquired by new collectors from England, the USA and France. With its artist Gábor Ősz as the winner of the 2010 BMW-Paris Photo Prize, Loevenbruck (Paris) found buyers for four of the Hungarian’s unique pieces at €20,000 each.

Photography book sales:
Book sellers also reported very good sales this year: Toluca sold 20 of its 28 copies of « What Man is really like » by Rachel Whiteread, Ingo Shulze and Naoto Fukusawa for €7,000 each. Librairie 213 let go of some 20 rare books with the most expensive costing €12,000. Man Ray’s book entitled « Electricity» (1932) offered by Denis Ozanne at €35,000 also found a buyer.

Beautiful presentations and plenty of discoveries:
Visitors, collectors, institution directors were unanimous in their praise for the high quality of the exhibits, the beauty of the works and their excellent presentation as well as the good number exciting discoveries that arose from the exploration of the Central European scene. Firmly anchored in a rich historical ground, the Czech, Polish, Hungarian, Slovenian and Slovakian scenes are today undergoing a renaissance. In addition, the exhibitions of the finalists of the BMW-Paris Photo Prize, Leica Camera’s show “A Juste Titre” as well as the SFR Young talents show won many accolades from the public.

Paris, world capital of photography
This year Paris Photo coincided with a number of key auctions, including the Avedon sale at Christies’ and a big auction at Sotherby’s. It also took place in the context of the 30th anniversary of Photography Month which offered a plethora of exhibitions throughout the city, in addition to a number of “Off” fairs and happenings. More than ever, Paris Photo is the world’s leading event for photography and Paris is its global capital in November.

Paris Photo 2011: from Bamako to Cape Town, African photography
From 17th to 20th November 2011, Paris Photo will be back on the road to discovery, heading to the African continent to highlight talents from Bamako to Cape Town. Six platforms will be created to spotlight the diversity of both historical and contemporary creativity in sub-Saharan Africa. Paris Photo will select the content of these platforms with the help of artistic advisor Simon Njami.*

* A writer, art critic and independent curator, Simon Njami conceived the exhibition Africa Remix, the first Africa pavilion at the Venice biennale in 2007 with Fernando Alvim. He was also behind A Collective Diary (Tel Aviv 2010) and A Useful Dream, fifty years of photography in Africa (Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts, 2010). Njami was co-founder of La Revue Noire and served as its Chief Editor. He was director of the Bamako biennale for 10 years and his latest book is a biography of Léopold Sédar Senghor (Fayard, 2007).

Paris Photo | 14th Edition | Simon Njami |




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