"A gallerist never tells the truth at an art fair," Berlin's Martin Klosterfelde told A.i.A. this past weekend during the VIP preview of the 46th edition of Art Cologne. He then proceeded to reveal to me the price of Christian Jankowski's light installation Kunstmuseum (roughly $50,000) and told me of a waitlist of collectors for two large-scale drawings by Jorinde Voigt. His booth was one of the highlights of this year's fair.
"Pleasantly empty and very productive," Alexander Schröder of Galerie NEU (Berlin) remarked of the crowds, adding that he had already sold seven works. Along with Carlier/Gebauer and Klosterfelde, NEU was one of the important Berlin-based newcomers to the fair.
Milan's struggling art fair MiArt set up shop last week, pared back from over 200 exhibitors in 2010 to a mere 92 this year. Organizers appeared to be aiming for a higher quality affair.
The fair includes a blend of modern and contemporary galleries, most of them Italian. But while the exhibitor list includes some big names, like TEFAF regulars Tornabuoni Arte and Robilant + Voena, MiArt failed to attract several local powerhouses, including Massimo de Carlo and Lia Rumma.
Requesting first-day sales results from dealers at this year's 25th jubilee edition of TEFAF was a thankless job. "You know full well that since last year we don't sell anything here during TEFAF," a dealer in a prime location told me when I requested the opening's figures. Last year's 13% hike in Dutch sales tax on art, which now stands at a staggering 19%, much higher than in many other EU countries, has not stopped dealers from doing business at TEFAF, but it has driven them to make (and publish) the ensuing sales elsewhere.
Hugo Nathan, president of 19th- and 20th-century painting specialists Dickinson Roundell (New York) told A.i.A., "TEFAF is a great showcase for our gallery, rather than a vital source of revenue," quickly adding that "business was good."
At last week's ARCO, Spain's highest profile art fair, dealers complained about subzero conditions in the large halls of the convention center on the outskirts of Madrid. Randi Thommessen of Lautom Contemporary of Oslo said the cold compared with her home country, but she was well prepared, pointing to her fleece coat.
This year's 13th edition of Art Rotterdam boasted a strong selection of some 73 up-and-coming galleries. The Belgian contingent stole the show at the number-one Dutch art fair, which took place last weekend. Among the 13 Belgian galleries were Baronian Francey (Brussels) and Micheline Szwajcer (Antwerp), both regulars at Art Basel. The impressive Brussels-based roster included Catherine Bastide, Elisa Platteau & Cie, VidalCuglietta, D+T Project and dépendance. Office Baroque crossed the river Schelde from Antwerp to take part.
Mixed Media. Courtesy Elizabeth Dee Gallery, New York, and the artist.
Extraction, the most recent series of mixed media collages