Category Archives: Fairs

Famous 1930 Galerie Pigalle exhibition to be celebrated during Parcours des Mondes 2018

Exciting news from Paris, from 11 to 16 September, for the occasion of Parcours des Mondes 2018, one of the famous early exhibitions of African and Oceanic Art, held at the Galerie du Théâtre Pigalle in Paris in 1930, will be celebrated by the publication of a book and a small exhibition featuring some 30 objects shown 78 years ago. Organized by Charles-Wesley Hourdé and Nicolas Rolland, in partnership with Tribal Art Magazine, a dedicated exhibition will be held at the Espace Tribal. A series of conferences will also be organized at the venue that same week. The limited edition publication (344 pages & 500 illustrations!) will include texts by Hourdé and Rolland, and excellent scholars such as Yaëlle Biro, Philippe Peltier and Virginia-Lee Web. Both authors were able to uncover a forgotten cache of amazing installation shots of the exhibition, which will be shown for the very first time this September.

The 1930 show more or less has a mythical status among people who care about such things. Not alone was the quality of the selected objects very high, the list of lenders to the show also reads as a who’s who of African and Ocenanic art in Paris in 1930: Charles Ratton, Pierre Loeb, Tristan Tzara, Pablo Picasso and André Derain all ensured the success of the exhibition and its lasting renown.

The original catalog, which is impossible to find, did list the 425 exhibited works, but only had a few illustrations. Charles-Wesley Hourdé and Nicolas Rolland however have managed to trace down most of the objects, so the book and show are definitely something exciting to look forward too. Many compliments to both for making this happen!

10 Reasons to come to Brussels in January

In two weeks time Brussels will again be the epicenter of the African art circus, with BRAFA and the winter edition of Bruneaf taking place at more or less the same time. Didier Claes (president of Bruneaf and vice-chairman of Brafa), just send out the above (full version here), which I thought was not a bad idea – as a paucity of public relations has been hampering both events in the past. After a short hiatus, Claes is president again of Bruneaf and it’s up to him now to bring the organization into the 21th century. An anticlimax had been last summer’s exhibition Finalité sans Fin, which brought together a fantastic group of iconic masterpieces, accompanied by an excellent catalogue – but which did barely get any promotion and was therefor not really noticed outside the regular crowd. A shame, as a lot of effort had gone into it – but not in promoting it. However, this sad episode served as a wake-up call and now Bruneaf is even on Instagram. It’s my sincere hope this historical event can continue successfully and learns from previous mistakes.

The strengthened presence of African and Oceanic Art at the Brussels Art Fair (BRAFA), shown by 12 (!) dealers, certainly has heightened the effort put into the winter edition of Bruneaf (which originally used to be the less exciting brother of the summer edition, now branded Cultures, confusing isn’t it). While the non-European presence used to be very small, BRAFA truly has become a not to be missed event in our field. Participating galleries are: Didier Claes, Dartevelle, Yann Ferrandin, Jacques Germain, Bernard de Grunne, Grusenmyer-Woliner, Monbrison, Ratton (both father and son!), Guilhem Montagut (for the first time!), Serge Schoffel, and Galerie Schoffel de Fabry – all of them combined, that’s a lot of great art!

Talking about insufficient public relations, no. 3 in Claes’ list, the Oceania exhibition at the Cinquantenaire Museum in Brussels deserves a special mention, as it must be the least publicized exhibition of Oceanic art ever. A shame as it is, although not very big, a great introduction to the art of this region, and, extra points from a young father here, very kid friendly! Fingers crossed that the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren, reopening in June after years of renovation, is taking note and preparing a serious media campaign! Anyway, apologies for the rambling – as Didier Claes, I just wanted to invite you to Brussels this month, it’s worth the trip!

Javier Peres announced as honorary president of Parcours des Mondes 2017

Parcours des Mondes recently announced this year’s honorary president: Javier Peres, a young contemporary art dealer and the founder of the cutting-edge gallery Peres Projects. Peres has been enthusiastically been collecting African art for more than 10 years, you can download an interview with him published in the Spring 2016 issue of Tribal Art Magazine here. In 2016, he published ‘Wild Style – Group Spirit’ (for sale here), the catalogue documenting the two group shows he organized exhibiting African art from his collection alongside contemporary art from his gallery. I’ve seen many unsuccessful attempts of mixing the two, but this contemporary art dealer, with a deep passion and engagement with both fields, gets it right.

This year’s edition of Parcours (the 16th already) will run from 12 to 17 September 2017. Peres Projects will also be exhibiting a small selection of African Art during the contemporary art fair Independent Brussels from 20 to 23 April in Brussels. Several works of Peres’ collection will also be included during the exhibition “Pascali Sciamano” at the Fondazione Carriero, which runs from 24 March to 24 June in Milan, Italy (info). Just to say that Peres indeed will be the perfect ambassador for this year’s edition of Parcours des Mondes. Below some images of his exhibition ‘Wild Style’ (more here).

‘Wild Style’ as well included a performance by the boundary-breaking artist Donna Huanca, who recently also had a highly-acclaimed exhibition at the Zabludowicz Collection in London. Below some pictures; the dialogue between contemporary and African art has never been so intense.

Parcours des Mondes 2016

Parcours 2016

From Tuesday 6 to Sunday 11th September, the charming Saint-Germain-des-Prés quarter in Paris again welcomes the crème de la crème of the international tribal art scene for the fifteenth edition of Parcours des Mondes. You can browse the catalogue here. To get in the mood, you can reread my review of last year’s edition here.

Under the banner Espace Tribal there is also a wide variety of side activities. There’s a retrospective exhibition with a small selection of objects and images tracing some of the key moments in the evolution of the event at 22 Rue Visconti. Furthermore, there are several opportunities to meet authors and experts. I’ll be participating in a roundtable discussion in conjunction with the opening of Parcours together with its director Pierre Moos and this year’s honorary president, Inti Ligabue, Tuesday from 5 to 6 pm. At Christie’s, we will be presenting several highlights from our December sales (shown in juxtaposition with Old Master Paintings!) from Thursday 8 to Wednesday the 14th. Hope to see you there !

Parcours des Mondes 2016 & Espace Tribal

TEFAF expands to New York with two new annual fairs

TEFAF Maastricht

TEFAF, one of Europe’s biggest and most prestigious fairs devoted to art, antiques and design, is expanding into New York. Collaborating with the New York art advisers Artvest Partners, it is launching two editions a year in New York – something that will certainly shake up the fair circuit!

Tefaf New York Fall will open in late October 2016 to showcase dealers specializing in artworks from antiquity to the 20th century – just two weeks after Frieze Masters in London and clashing with FIAC in Paris. Tefaf New York Spring, scheduled for May 2017, will focus on high-end modern art and design (and will have to compete with Frieze New York). Each fair is to feature about 80 to 90 international exhibitors at Park Avenue Armory – if there will be tribal art for sale is not yet stated. You can find more info here. In the meantime, the 29th edition of the original Tefaf Maastricht fair will open in the Dutch city on March 11 and run though March 20, with a roster of 270 dealers from 20 countries.

Tefaf has been looking to widen its reach for some time. In March 2013, the fair announced that it would collaborate with Sotheby’s to hold an event in China, provisionally titled Tefaf Beijing 2014. Nine months later, Tefaf tersely announced that the fair in China was “not viable at the present time” (more info here). Tefaf’s New York venture — essentially two new boutique fairs — certainly is an audacious move at a time when the art world’s calendar has never been more crowded with high-end fairs.

Bourgogne Tribal Show, 26-29 May 2016

Bourgogne Tribal Art Show Delvoyeurs

Taking place in the middle of France at the end of May, the Bourgogne Tribal Show is a new take on the traditional tribal art fair. The four organizing dealers (Laurent Dodier, Bruno Frey, Jacques Lebrat and Anthony JP Meyer) wish to get back to the basics of sharing ideas and their love for African and Oceanic art in what they call ‘a convivial environment’. It is their wish to do something different, shake things up a bit and offer a new approach for art fairs. The gathering will take place on the property of Bruno Mory, a Tribal Art collector and Contemporary Art dealer, in the heart of Burgundy, a few miles away form Cluny Abbey. The fair offers:

• Open exhibition spaces, shared by two or three exhibitors;

• Fluid and open alley ways allowing you to double back, take time and interact organically with the art, the exhibitors and fellow visitors;

• An eclectic selection, designed to promote dialogue between specialties and approaches;

• A stroll in the fresh air through beautiful towns and farms. A way to discover Southern Burgundy’s cultural heritage – its castles, Cluny and its Abbey, Romanesque churches – and the Burgundy wines – Mâconnais, Côte chalon- naise, Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits.

Four days to take the time off, to discover and rediscover in a different and convivial way the traditional arts of Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas. Four days to exchange and interact with dealers, specialists and institutions on exceptional pieces and their stories. Four days to stroll through ancestral vineyards and visit Romanesque churches in one of France’s most beautiful regions at the crossroads of Europe.

The participating dealers are: Didier Claes, Laurent Dodier, Michael Evans, Bruno Frey, Ben Hunter, Stéphane Jacob, Kapil Jariwala, Olivier Larroque, Jacques Lebrat, Serge Le Guennan, Lemaire Gallery, Patrick & Ondine Mestdagh, Anthony JP Meyer, Ratton Gallery, Bryan Reeves, Alexis Renard, Adrian Schlag and Elisabeth Verhey (Tribal Design). More info here.

Bourgogne Tribal Show, 26-29 May 2016

Review Parcours des Mondes 2015

Yaure mask Olivier Castellano Ivory Coast Parcours des Mondes

The 14th edition of Parcours des Mondes again was a big success*. With a baby at home, I only spent 3 days in Paris, but I succeeded in visiting every gallery at least once. I had never seen the galleries so crowded on the opening day, and it was not uncommon to find more than a dozen collectors in one gallery at the same time, so I would say visitor numbers were higher than ever before. The dollar being in a better situation than last year (or should we say the euro in a weaker position) certainly helped attracting more US collectors than the previous years.

*at least for the visitors, I’m not aware of the number of sales on the dealer’s end..

My favorite object in Paris was a Yaure mask presented by Olivier Castellano that succeeded in giving me goosebumps. As so many top Ivory Coast objects, it came from the Bediat collection. Not surprisingly it was sold immediately on the day of the opening for a six-number figure. Of an outstanding refinement, yet so simple in its rendering of the human face, this mask still haunts me after two weeks – in a good way. Probably one of the most talked about objects was an exceptional Kongo figure presented by Philippe Ratton. Still with all its original adornments intact and with its head slightly turned to the right, this statue was of a quality one normally only encounters in museums.

Kongo figure Philippe Ratton Parcours des Mondes

As always, there were a lot of thematic exhibitions, although some dealers were honest enough to call their theme ‘Latest acquisitions’. As said in my review of last year’s edition (here), for most of us the fair is about discovery anyway. Still some dealers did the effort and succeeded in creating remarkable exhibitions. Personally, I was very charmed by Jean-Yves Coué’s Madagascar show, perhaps a bit too ethnographic for many, but with a selection of objects one rarely gets to see. Impressive as well, was the “Animals” show of Lucas Ratton, in both quantity as quality. Joshua Dimondstein was brave enough to show a selection of (nowadays not so popular) heddle pulleys from Ivory Coast, and, also from the US, Bruce Frank presented a collection of something what I guess only the specialists knew before: terracotta masks from Papua New Guinea. From Spain, David Serra had brought with him a collection of fascinating Lhoro bronzes.

Luba figure Warua Master Bernard Dulon Parcours des Mondes

Good to see back was the Luba figure from the Warua Master (sold by Sotheby’s NY earlier this year; info), on view at Bernard Dulon – now without the ugly restoration of the feet and its oily patina dust-free, an improvement. I did miss Arte Y Ritual, who were not participating this year and usually a must-see, but Martin Doustar filled the hole they left and put up an impressive mask show in their old space – unfortunately with one of the star pieces still stuck in customs. Across the street, Bernard de Grunne had brought a small but outstanding selection, including a blocky and powerful Northern Congolese statue, which was juxtaposed beautifully with a slim elongated Fang figure – a view I will not forget quickly.

Ngbaka Fang figure Bernard de Grunne Parcours de Mondes 2015

As said earlier here, this year was the first edition that included galleries specialized in Asian art; twenty renowned dealers with specialties in Chinese, Japanese, Himalayan, Indian, and, Southeast Asian art were exhibiting, so there was a lot extra to see. Most of what I saw was of an outstanding quality and especially the galleries of Marcel Nies and Jacques Barrere left a strong impression on me. I did see African art collectors going into the Asian art galleries so the interest definitely was there – but since I don’t recognize the Asian art aficionados, I don’t know the statement holds true the other way around. Anyway, a sign of the success of the fair’s enlargement might be the fact that yours truly brought home a 13th century Indian bronze purchased from Frederic Rond – who is based in Alain Lecomte’s old gallery (and thus on familiar territory).

Jina Parshvanatha Jain Bruno Claessens Parcours des Mondes

Parcours des Mondes (which means ‘Journeys through Worlds’) this year thus was truer to its name than ever before. It was, again, a flawless edition, so many compliments to its organizers for all the hard work behind the scenes. Parcours through the years has become much more than just an ‘open doors’-type event; it has become the start of our ‘season’ and the place where one sees one’s friends back in the beautiful Parisian quarter that is Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

Parcours des Mondes 2015

View of my office this week :)

View of my office this week 🙂

From Tuesday 8 to Sunday 13th September, the charming Paris Saint-Germain-des-Prés quarter again welcomes the crème de la crème of the international tribal art scene for the fourteenth edition of Parcours des Mondes. While last year the organization increased the representation of the arts of the antiquity and archaeological material, they keep expanding the scope of this event by now also including dealers specialized in Asian art. They hope to attract an even wider public to the fair and takes into consideration the already existing interest among the regular visitors. Twenty renowned dealers with specialties in Chinese, Japanese, Himalayan, Indian, and, Southeast Asian art will be exhibiting. Parcours des Mondes (which means ‘Journeys through Worlds’) this year will be truer to its name than ever before. Kudos for the organization! One thing is sure, and that is now definitely impossible to see everything in one day. I hope three will be enough, but I’m afraid not. For me it will be the eight time I visit Parcours, it’s really a not to miss event. If you haven’t visited it yet, you definitely should consider; you’ll regret not having done it earlier.

You can browse the catalogue here. Under the banner L’Espace Tribal there is also a wide variety of side activities. I’ve already written about the Hughes Dubois retrospective (here). There’s also an exhibition with a small selection of masterpieces at 22 Rue Visconti and several opportunities to meet authors and experts, see the whole program below.

Cafe Tribal Parcours des Mondes 2015



ps Sotheby’s and Christie’s both also will be showing a preview of their December sales.

Paris Biennale des Antiquaires becomes a yearly event

Image courtesy of Didier Claes.

Image courtesy of Didier Claes.

Interesting news from Paris: the prestigious Biennale des Antiquaires will now be held annually in the Grand Palais after members of the Syndicat National des Antiquaires (SNA, the French association of antiques dealers) voted for the move. The SNA runs the historic jewellery, art and antiques fair, which launched in 1962 as a biennial event. “There was a power struggle [in the SNA] between two groups: one that wanted the biennial to take place annually and another that wanted it to stay as a biennial event,” Christian Deydier, the former president of the SNA, told The Art Newspaper (here). A SNA spokeswoman said that the name of the fair would not be changing for now – which is surprising since ‘biennale’ means as much as ‘every other year’ 🙂

The 28th edition of the “yearly biennale”, scheduled to open in September 2016, as always will coincide with Parcours des Mondes. Last year, two members were showing African art: Bernard Dulon & Didier Claes, while Bernard de Grunne was showing a small selection at Dominique Levy.