There are more or less 700 art fairs in the world each year. France contributes to this number with some important fairs, the most well-known being FIAC and Art Paris Art Fair. These fairs are recognized as two of the leading fairs of the world, but of course, there are many other less-known fairs, which focus sometimes on emerging artists and affordable works of art.
The mysterious world of Contemporary Art has always found a welcoming and prosperous scene in France, homeland of great artistic movements. In the last decade, the number of artists working in France has reached the amount of 48.500; the number has doubled since the 1990s. The competitive requirements imposed by the new international art scene are mainly reflected in the art fairs, which endlessly try to renew and place themselves on a world scale. Art fairs give to established as well as to emerging artists the chance to make themselves known and to find their target buyers. In particular, fairs are the best showcase for galleries. Indeed, gallerists have at their disposal three ways to promote their artists: the exhibition in their gallery, the publication of catalogues and participation to fairs.
FIAC takes place every year in October at the Grand Palais. FIAC Paris selects every year around 180 galleries, 60% of which come from abroad. More than 3500 artists are represented, and the fair continues to welcome every year new countries, mainly Eastern European countries. According to “Le Monde”, FIAC makes the economy of France grow. During FIAC, the occupancy rate of hotels is up to 15% higher than the annual average. According to the French Union of the trades of the event (Unimev), the fair would have reported 32 million euros of indirect economic benefits in 2016. The first beneficiaries are luxury hotels.
Art Paris Art Fair takes place at the Grand Palais, every year in spring. In 2018 Art Paris Art Fair welcomed 58.789 visitors from 50 countries. The Fair occupied 6.500 m2 at the Grand Palais, presenting 142 exhibitors from 22 countries and more than 1.000 artists represented from 73 countries. The foreign participation amounted to 44% (56% French galleries). 48% of the galleries of the 2018 edition were new presences. Art Paris is characterized by a very particular identity, that of being an international fair turned towards the regional exploration of the European scenes from the post-war period to the present day while giving an important place to the new horizons of the international creation coming from Asia, Africa, the Middle East or Latin America. Art Paris Art Fair reveals at the centre of the Grand Palais, its “Promesses” [Promises], its selection of 14 young galleries, less than six years old, with a maximum of one to three emerging artists. 45% of the gallery's participation is supported by the fair.
FIAC “off-fairs” | Paris
- Slick has been created by two gallerists (Cécile Griesmar and Johan Tamer-Morael) and a journalist (Aude de Bourbon-Parme). The creators want to give their fair an underground identity. Slick welcomes emerging French and international galleries. In order to participate in the fair the galleries must be more than two years old because in this period of time they could become a little more "profitable", visible and build their stock of works.
- Art Elysée is located on the Champs Elysées, it is the nearest neighbour of the Fiac. Like the Magda Danysz Gallery, the Beaudoin Lebon Gallery is one of the galleries that were refused at Fiac and that wanted to create their own fair. Art Elysées could be defined as the little sister of the Fiac, firstly by the organizers but also by its desire to define itself as a fair of Modern Art and Contemporary Art.
- Variation Media Art Fair is the first French contemporary art fair dedicated to new media artists. It usually happens in November. Media Art Fair occupies the white cube at "La Cité international des arts" located in Le Marais, an area known for its art galleries and collectors. Every edition, Variation presents a hundred artworks mobilizing the latest innovations that constitute a historical panorama of digital art.
- Cutlog opened in 2009. It is alternative and complementary to other international and Parisian fairs. It's a new hub for artists, collectors, gallery owners, curators and museum directors from around the world.
- Outsider Art was organised for the first time in 2014. Happening during the Parisian art week, collaterally to the FIAC, it is a fair concentrated on the works and the authors on which, usually, the spotlight of the star system of the art world is not focused. Outsider Art Fair is dedicated to Art Brut and exceptional artists.In the last edition of 2017, it included 34 international participations.
- Paris Internationale is the youngest of all the FIAC collateral fairs. Now in its third edition, the event born in 2015 from the intuition of five emerging galleries. Paris Internationale has completely renewed with a strong format of great and prestigious partnership with the Gucci fashion house. Paris Internationale has become a vital instrument for promoting the work of emerging artists and rediscovering more established figures. Paris Internationale keeps its participation costs as low as possible to encourage risk-taking and to present its audience with exhibitors at the forefront of contemporary practices.
MAC Paris | Paris
Since recent times MAC Paris is held twice a year, in spring and in autumn, at the Bastille Design Center. In this fair, each artist exhibits his recent creations on a personal space and takes the opportunity to meet the public. It is possible to buy some of these creations at affordable prices for the general public. Thirty artists are selected from over a thousand nominations by a selection committee composed of artists, professionals, collectors and art historians. Artists are chosen for the quality and originality of their artistic approach, away from the “traditional” path of contemporary art standards.
YIA, Young International Art Fair, is a 4-day event held in October at the Carreau du Temple. As the name itself suggests, YIA is the right place to find young emerging artists. YIA was organised for the first time in 2006, and for its 12th edition, it will host 65 galleries coming from 16 countries and 3 continents. In addition, the fair this year will have a rich supporting program with a series of talks in the auditorium and a space dedicated to drawings and editions with guest artist Daniel Buren represented for this occasion by Atelier Multiples-Un.
Galeristes is a contemporary art exhibition founded in Paris in 2016, taking place at the Carreau du Temple in December. Founded by Stéphane Corréard, as a "gallery exhibition", Galeristes promotes real meetings between gallerists and collectors. Galeristes aims at stimulating the desire to become art collectors by presenting in a dedicated space a sharp selection of works for less than 1,000 euros, allowing everyone to start a collection through a privileged relationship with gallery owners.
Urban Art Fair is a fair initiated in 2016 in the French Capital and it's held in April at Le Carreau du Temple. Urban Art Fair is an international reference in urban art and attracts nearly 20,000 curious people, collectors and professionals each year to discover the works of more than 200 artists. For the 2018 edition, a total of 35 local and international galleries were presented, in media ranging from paintings to sculptures, installations, prints, and even books.
Art Capital is a fair dating back to 2006, which is held in February at the Grand Palais. Art Capital welcomes around 40 000 visitors each year to celebrate a festival, that of the art of today around more than 2.000 artists. For 5 days, you can discover the work of 2.000 artists (painters, sculptors, photographers, architects, engravers and so on) at this great art fair. The fair brings together artists from all different backgrounds and has become a reference point for the promotion of the current art scene.
Paris Photo, the first international fair dedicated to photographic medium, is held every year in November under the glass roof of the Grand Palais in Paris. Emerging and confirmed galleries exhibit historical and contemporary works ranging from modern masterpieces to young talents. In the last edition in 2017, 190 galleries and publishers in three sectors have presented a complete panorama of the history of photography. In association with Paris Photo’s institutional partners, a selection of exhibitions throughout the city is proposed as part of the program "A Paris during Paris Photo".
Fotofever is a fair about contemporary photography, normally held in November at the Carrousel du Louvre. This fair promotes itself as being a convinced defendant of emerging artists and in collaboration with the Dahinden laboratory, Fotofever has launched the Young Talents Photography Prize to reveal each year new young talents of photography not yet represented by a gallery. A hundred different galleries usually join the fair. In its last edition of 2017, it was organised on 2.500 m2, gathering 80 exhibitors and 200 artists. 1000 works of art from €350 to €40,000 were presented.
Les puces de l'Illustration was started in 2012 and takes place at the Campus Fonderie de l’Image. These days of graphic and convivial meetings are the opportunity for each and everyone to discover the wealth and vitality of this field: silkscreen prints, etchings, risographs, fanzines, limited editions, original illustrations, as many works as techniques and individualities to meet. The new wave of illustrators brings together in this fair about eighty artists, galleries and independent publishers, French and European. Les puces de l’Illustration’s visitors amount to 2500 and the number of artists to more or less 70.
Drawing Now Art Fair is the first contemporary art fair exclusively dedicated to drawing in Europe. The fair happens in March at the Carreau du Temple. The fair allows each year to nearly 80 international galleries selected by an independent committee to show the best of contemporary drawing of the past 50 years. Since 2011 the fair rewards with the Drawing Now prize an artist under 50, presented in Focus on the stand of one of the exhibiting galleries. The selected artist is chosen by the fair’s committee of selection.
This cabinet of contemporary drawings was founded in 2013. It takes place annually, in March, at the Atelier Richelieu. It is a three days show characterized by contemporary drawings unique in their genre, consisting of an intimate format and at the forefront of graphic design. The ambition of DDessin Paris fits in the spirit of Eve of Medeiros, its founding director: to give talented national and international artists a chance and to create a link between the various actors of the art world.
The Salon de Montrouge is an annual contemporary art event held in Montrouge (Hauts-de-Seine), in the suburbs of Paris. The 2018 edition was the 63rd edition of the fair, inaugurated in 1955. This art exhibition presents for four weeks, in spring, a hundred artists. Access to the fair is free. At the opening, the jury members nominate the three winners of the Salon. Since the 54th edition, in 2009, at the initiative of the new artistic curator (Stéphane Corréard), these three laureates are invited to make a personal exhibition in the Modules spaces at the Palais de Tokyo in autumn.
The Lyon contemporary art fair began in 2008 and it was founded by Olivier and Patricia Houg. It takes place every two years in September at the headquarters of GL Events, building signed Odile Decq, Pavilion 8, on occasion of the Biennal. The Docks Art Fair echoes the Biennale d'Art Contemporain and contributes to the promotion of Lyon and its region in the contemporary art market, involving the local art scene. The main concept of this fair is the solo show demonstration on each stand.
St-Art is known for being an important fair of European contemporary art. The fair was held for the first time in 1995. The fair takes place in November at the Parc des Expositions. St-Art is an annual event that offers a complete panorama of contemporary art throughout Europe. In 2018, for the fourth consecutive year, St-Art creates bridges between the different actors of the art scene by inviting in each edition a prestigious institution. After the MEP, the Maeght Foundation, the Venet Foundation, the Lyon fair welcomes Museu Picasso from Barcelona.
Art-O-Rama, international exhibition of contemporary art, is held in Marseilles every last weekend of August. Only around 30 galleries are able to take part to the fair each year. One of the aims of Art-O-Rama is to offer great visibility to young artists from the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region. Indeed, the fair is strongly committed to making of its artists real professionals of the art field, allowing them to confront with the different actors of the art world, whether gallerists, critics or collectors. In this view, every year, the FCAC (Fonds Communal d'art contemporain) buys a work of art of one of the young artists present at the Show Room (an exhibition for artists who have just finished the art school).
Sm’Art is an international contemporary art fair held in May in Aix en Provence, at the Parc Jourdan. The fair was inaugurated in 2005. The exhibition in Aix welcomes each year twenty-four thousand visitors. In 2018, 200 artists and 20 galleries have taken part to Sm’Art. The panorama of the two hundred artists present (painters, sculptors, photographers and visual artists) "allows everyone to navigate between creation, curiosity and sensitivity", as Christiane Michel underlines (creator and curator of Sm’Art).
Art Up takes place in March at the Grand Palais in Lille. The fair lasts 4 days. This great contemporary art fair brings together a hundred galleries and no less than 500 artists in Lille. With more than 37,300 visitors during the 2018 edition, the Lille contemporary art fair confirms its place as the first contemporary art fair in the Hauts-de-France region. Each year, during the Art Up fair, an event called “Nuit de l’Art” is organised, in which happenings, performances, readings, dance and animations are performed.
Art3f is an international fair of contemporary art. It takes place in different cities in France (Cannes, Lyon, Reims, Bordeaux, Mulhouse, Brussels, Paris, Toulouse, Nantes, Luxembourg). The fair happens in all these cities during the year. Art3f privileges the direct relationship between the new European creation and art lovers.