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Post-Fair Report: Paris Tableau, the celebration of an art fair
Installation view. © Tanguy de Montesson.

PARIS.- The 6,500 visitors to Paris Tableau this year (13th to 16th November) unanimously praised the fair and paid tribute to the consolidation of the quality and expertise with which the fair has become known. Eminent specialists, among them curators and collectors as well as art lovers, all hailed Paris Tableau as an event that has become an important date on the fair calendar. The fair’s president Maurizio Canesso explains: “Only 20% of art fairs succeed in lasting more than three years. This year, we have passed a milestone”. Created in 2011, the fair has gone from strength to strength and Paris Tableau 2014 has established a unique position on the international market for Old Master paintings. Now a key event in the calendar, as illustrated by the presence of more than 2,400 people on the opening night on 12th November, Paris Tableau saw its attendance level increase by close to 10% even though the show was a day shorter than in 2013. As an indication of the fair’s international scope, curators from the most prestigious museums in the world brushed shoulders with French curators to discover the treasures exhibited by the twenty-four paintings dealers that formed the fair; The Fort Worth Museum, Texas; the National Gallery, Washington; the Museum of Fine Arts of Montreal; the Museum of Fine Arts of Canada, Ottawa, the National Gallery, London; the Prado Museum, Madrid and the Louvre Museum gathered together at this unique event dedicated to Old Master paintings.

Museum-quality works in the intimate and welcoming setting of the Fair French collectors traditionally very much enjoy Guardi (1712-1793), and could admire a magnificent Veduta offered at 5.7 million Euros by Charles Beddington (London) who kept it especially for the fair. Maurizio Nobile’s stand (Bologna/Paris) included a large painting by Filippo Vitale (1590-1654) representing Judith beheading Holofernes. This intriguing canvas, until now only known through photographs, piqued the interest of the Montpellier museum but was in the end acquired by a private collector. Another painting of large dimensions, The Wolf Hunt by Alexandre-François Desportes (1661-1743) was sold by the gallery Jean- François Heim (Basel). New to the salon, Agnew’s (London) sold its painting by Baron Gérard (1770-1837) Horses Scared by the Wave, for €250,000, while Porcini (Naples), also a new exhibitor, saw its Conversion of Saul by Francesco Solimena (1657-1747) reserved. Didier Aaron & Cie (Paris/New York) gallery’s Sleeping Bacchante by Jean-Baptiste-Marie Pierre (1714-1789) (whose asking price was Euros 130,000) is being considered by the Rennes Museum. The Galerie Canesso (Paris) had three sales during the fair, including a Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini (1675- 1741) to a French museum. A work by Albani and another by Magatti were acquired by private collectors.

The trends at the fair
Exhibitors noted the presence of an increasingly international clientele: Italians, English and Dutch were in large numbers along with French collectors. German and American buyers were also numerous. The fair’s four new exhibitors, Maurizio Nobile, Agnews, Porcini and Grassi Studio (New York) were greatly satisfied by their participation. They remarked upon the flawless organisation and were all delighted to have met new clients. Mehdi Korchane from Michel Descours (Lyon) who participated in the fair for the second year observed a particularly strong interest for his stand this year.

The works that received particular attention
On Saturday, Michel Descours Gallery made three sales and also reserved its Still Llife with Grapes, Chestnuts, Squash and Sugarloaf by Antoine Berjon (1754-1843). Talabardon & Gautier presented a mortuary portrait of Napoleon by Denzil O. Ibbetson (1775-1857). It is hard to believe it dated to 1821 as its technique appeared so advanced. The dealer’s bold choice paid off and the work was sold on the opening night. Jean-François Heim also presented a selection in line with his specialty, Danish paintings, and sold a work by Johan Thomas Lundbye (1818-1848), Peter Christian Skovgaard Leaning Against A Wall in a Stable whose asking price was €75,000. A German foundation showed great interest for Psyche by Jean-Baptiste Greuze (1725-1805) (offered at €320,000), a preparatory work for the eponymous painting in the Wallace Collection, London. It was quoted by several collectors that Paris Tableau 2014 had ‘arrived’. It confirmed its place with excellent sales while staying true to its academic and institutional roots. The symposium was dedicated this year to Utrecht and the International Caravaggesque movement, and was fully booked. The loan exhibition -a selection of works from the Centraal Museum in Utrecht and from the collections of AXA ART and the de Boer Foundation, proved that Paris Tableau has created a vital platform for private and institutional collectors.

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