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Parcours des Mondes bets on the arts of Asia and wins
Screen made up of six panels showing a setting sun among chrysanthemums, peonies and other autumnal plants on the Musashi plain. Japan, 17th century. Photo: Gregg Baker Asian Art.

PARIS.- For its 14th edition, the international tribal art fair, Parcours des Mondes focused on Asia, with the presence of some twenty French and international exhibitors, specialists in the arts of China, Japan, India, Nepal or Tibet. Under the honorary presidency of art dealer Robert Vallois, this first edition of the fair for both tribal AND Asian arts brought together 84 exhibitors and attracted art lovers and collectors as well as museums from France and abroad.

This event, the most awaited and most important in its field, met with the approval of a demanding and enthusiastic public thanks to a rich programme of numerous exhibitions – around thirty – providing the opportunity to discover or rediscover the classics of Black Africa, Asia, the Americas and Oceania, as well as less well-known art such as that of Tanzania or Madagascar.

Another strong point of this Parcours des Mondes was the exhibition "Hughes Dubois, thirty-five years of photographic career", which invited viewers to follow the progression of this portraitist of artworks, mostly tribal, through around 186 Polaroid prints. By way of preview, there was a presentation of his ongoing work on the temple of Borobudur (Indonesia), where he photographed, by the light of a full moon, the low-relief representations of the stages of the life of Buddha.

For Lucas Ratton (33, rue de Seine) the thematic exhibition "Animals" was also a success with most works being sold from day one. The key piece of this presentation was a Baoulé monkey which joined a private collection and is soon to be the subject of a book. On his fifth participation in Parcours des Mondes, the young art dealer noted that "the usual clientele was present but every day we also had the pleasure of meeting and selling to new, increasingly international clients, especially Americans, Belgians, Germans and English. We were also fortunate in getting closer to an exhibition project in a museum with two Gouro objects."

There was also great success for Michel Thieme (Amsterdam), who by the end of the week had already sold 60% of the items brought, amounting to 30% of the total value of the "stand". The most expensive object caught the attention of a museum. Describing this edition as "highly stimulating", the Dutch art dealer added that his success was due to the collaboration of very special collections, especially the large collection of Jac Hoogerbrugge.

As for the American Donald Ellis, he was delighted by a major sale, around 1 million euros, on the opening day. His previously unseen exhibition devoted to the Plains Indians aroused the interest of several museums who booked four drawings.

On the Asian arts side, Christophe Hioco (Paris) made several sales, "quite satisfactory for a first edition, with transactions pending for major pieces", including a Mucalinda Khmer Buddha in the style of Angkor Wat and dating from the twelfth century. The asking price was 65,000 euros and the bronze was bought by a collector from northern Europe, a new client for the gallery.

The Parisian art dealer had another important sale to report : a Japanese wooden chest (80 cm) from Amida Nyorai, dating from the 12th to 13th century, the Kamakura period. It came from the collection of film producer Michael Phillips, published in the Arts of Asia journal in January 2013. It was a French buyer who acquired this piece with an asking price of 88,000 euros. According to Christophe Hioco, this first edition of an Asian Parcours attracted a significant number of highly specialised collectors. He also noted the quality of visitors, many from abroad. While the main Parisian museums were not missing at this event, the Museum of Singapore also made the trip.

The expert in Islamic art and Indian art, Alexis Renard (Paris), whose exhibition Beauty and the Beast, accompanied by a catalogue, delighted the public, chose to reveal Indian paintings described as "lovely, and with very modern colours" (from around €700 to €25,000).

After participating in the first five editions of the show, Marcel Nies (Antwerp) made a noticeable comeback with several major sales, including one to a new US client. A collector coming from Asia acquired a Tibetan gilt bronze Buddha, dating from the 14th century. For Marcel Nies, this first edition dedicated to Asian arts provides a solid foundation and has all the assets to grow over the coming years and become a major event for these specialties, as for the arts of Africa or Oceania. During the six-day exhibition, the Antwerp art dealer was able to attract art lovers "who would not go to Antwerp where my gallery is located or to TEFAF where I exhibit".

He noted the presence of American and Asian collectors, who came in numbers, and several museums such as the Guimet Museum, the Quai Branly Museum and the Asian Art Museum of Singapore.

Mehmet Hassan (Bangkok) sold a pair of fragments of Chinese clothing for more than 200,000 euros and attracted a lot of interest for the elements of an Indian painting on cotton representing a scene from the cult of Zoroaster, for which the asking price was 1.2 million euros.

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