Home Magazine Paris+ debuts: will Paris reign the European Art Market once again?

After lots of anticipation for Paris+, the Swiss group MCH lands in France. This could be a great opportunity for Paris to lead the international art market. Will Art Basel succeed to shine between the numerous art fairs? 

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Paris is definitely worth an art fair...This must have been what Art Basel's top managers thought when they decided to organise the first edition of Paris+ at the end of October 2022. The fair, which featured 156 galleries from 30 countries, took place in the temporary venue of the Grand Palais Éphémère and was received with great enthusiasm, attracting more than 40,000 visitors. The fair was divided into four sections: Galeries, Galeries Émergentes, Sites and Conversations. Sites included works and art installations placed in symbolic locations such as the Jardin des Tuileries, Place Vendôme, the Musée national Eugène-Delacroix and the Chapelle des Petits-Augustins des Beaux-Arts. Conversations, nothing less than a platform for talks involving leading figures in the world of art and culture, was installed in the evocative Bal de la Marine, a boat moored in front of the Eiffel Tower. The curators, Pierre-Alexandre Matéos and Charles Teyssou, were also in charge of Paris Orbital, a series of shows and events held at the new Bourse de Commerce of the Pinault Collection, another important venue for contemporary art worldwide. But the MCH Group, the Swiss parent company of Art Basel, certainly did not spare itself, also launching a programme of collaborations with the most important cultural institutions in Paris such as the Louvre, the Musée national Eugène Delacroix, the Centre Pompidou, the Fondation Louis Vuitton, the Musée de l'Orangerie, the Musée Picasso, the Musée d'Orsay, Palais de Tokyo and many others.


Courtesy of Paris+ par Art Basel

Paris+ and the competition: works in progress

Thanks to a public competition in December 2021, MCH was awarded the right to organise the fair for seven years at the Grand Palais, where the International Contemporary Art Fair (FIAC) usually took place during the same period. As soon as the renovation of the historic exhibition hall is completed, the fair managed by Art Basel will move into that space from its current temporary location.  By conquering Paris, the Swiss exhibitors, are laying the foundations for an unchallenged domination of the world's exhibition pole, effectively supplanting the historic French art fair RX France.

Paris+ was held immediately after Frieze London, with which for the time being has not been able to sustain the comparison in terms of takings, but the presence of the most powerful galleries and passionate collectors with their capital fuels the hope of soon competing with the famous British fair, at a historical moment that sees part of the art world having less and less confidence in the London market, due to the uncertainties generated by Brexit. 


Courtesy of Paris+ par Art Basel


Paris+: the names

Paris+ included 140 leading galleries in the Galeries section, including influential names such as Pace Gallery, Gagosian, Hauser & Wirth, David Zwirner, LGDR, Lisson, Thaddaeus Ropac, while other 16 were included in the Émergentes section. The Italian representation was also nourished, with important gallerists such as Alfonso Artiaco, Galleria Continua, Tornabuoni, Raffaella Cortese, Massimo De Carlo, Francesca Minini, Massimo Minini, Franco Noero and the Parisian one with, among others, Kamel Mennour, Perrotin, Chantal Crousel, Nathalie Obadia.

Courtesy of Paris+ par Art Basel

Paris+: Sales

The galleries brought different types of work to the fair, ranging from pieces by promising young artists to works by famous masters, some of which have sold for millions of dollars. David Zwirner presented a painting by Joan Mitchell, Border (1989), a late work by the great American artist. Mitchell is currently enjoying great popularity in Paris thanks to an exhibition of her work alongside that of Claude Monet at the Fondation Louis Vuitton. In addition to Border, which sold for $4.5 million to a private collection, Zwirner announced that he had placed other pieces with a total value of $11 million, thanks in part to the sale of Robert Ryman's Untitled (1963) for $3 million and Luc Tuymans' Bouhouche (2007) for $1.35 million. "These numbers were unattainable in Paris in the past," said the German dealer, expressing his enthusiasm for the new Art Basel exhibition. Another star of Paris+ was Hauser & Wirth. Marc Payot, President of the famous Swiss contemporary art gallery described this first edition of the fair as "certainly of a higher level compared to previous ones, representing a clear step forward compared to the International Contemporary Art Fair in terms of attendance". Hauser & Wirth, who plans to open its Paris branch in the 8th arrondissement next year, sold The Dream (2022) a work by George Condo for $2.65 million, Rashid Johnson's Bruise Paintings Sanctuary (2022) for $1 million and Avery Singer's Free Fall (2022) for $800,000. On the opening day, Parisian gallery Kamel Mennour reported that it sold two sculptures by Alberto Giacometti, Composition (1927-28) for approximately $2.7 million, and Figurine (1953-54) for $1.43 million. Pace Gallery sold Robert Motherwell's painting Je t'aime N.II (1955), estimated at $6.5m, while on the third day Thaddaeus Ropac placed his Georg Baselitz (1970) for $1.7m.

Paris+: prosperous future?

The Parisian kermis was also attended by the French President Macron and First Lady Brigitte. Certainly, the exhibition could mean redemption for Paris, long neglected as a global centre for buying and selling contemporary art. The fair's director, Clément Delépine, described the event as a turning point for the French capital: "The enthusiasm in the halls and throughout Paris is a testimony to the city's renewed impetus and the spirit of collegiality that made the extraordinary success of this first edition possible.


Courtesy of Paris+ par Art Basel

Cover image: Courtesy of Paris+ par Art Basel.

Written by: Kooness

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