La Biennale Paris 2017

Grand Palais, Paris

La Biennale Paris, founded in 1959 by André Malraux, has this year been revamped after a problematic 2016 edition when attendance was down dramatically. It is now a yearly event,  has a new President (Christopher Forbes), a new name (previously known as the Biennale des Antiquaires) a stricter vetting system (with no exhibiting members) and a slim-downed list of exhibitors. Compared to last year’s 130 exhibitors, this year there are 94 galleries, showing furniture, fine and decorative art and jewelry. Approximately a third of exhibitors are from outside France this year in an attempt to create a more international feel. They no longer have the Salon d’Honneur up on the first floor so all is concentrated in the main hall, resulting in a far more coherent whole, and a tighter, more focused Fair.

I always look forward to seeing Galerie Gastou’s stand at La Biennale Paris and the other fairs they do. Consistently dramatic and dynamic, and with spectacular works, their interiors never disappoint. In the image below, look how the panel, reflected in the glass table top,  energizes the room, picking up the colors and tones of the red chairs and bronze table base; while the angular chair forms contrast with the whimsical bronze coiffeuse.

Galerie Yves Gastou

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Rare and elegant cabinet in solid oak and original red leather (1949) by Jean Royere. This piece has the rare distinction of never having appeared on the public market. Galerie Chastel Maréchal

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‘Presidence’ desk, 1950s by Jean Prouvé Galerie Downtown

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Galerie Mathivet

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 ‘Tour Eiffel’ low table (c. 1959) and console in (c. 1960) in gilded metal and gold leaf by Jean Royere; Pair of ‘Canneau de Pomme’ chairs in bronze, iron and brown leather by Diego Giacometti (c. 1962-1963); mirror with gilded and silvered glass frame with shell decoration (c. 1935) by Max Ingrand,  Galerie Jacques Lacoste

‘Herbier’ bar-cabinet in straw marquetry and dried flowers (c.1965) by Jean Royere. Galerie Jacques Lacoste 

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Steinitz gallery

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Based in Versailles, this gallery specializes in exquisite 18th and 19th century furniture. Definitely worth a visit if you find yourself in the vicinity of Versailles. Galerie Pellat de Villedon

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A beautiful pair of beaten and polished brass vases (c.1921). Blue vase on right is hand-blown cobalt Medici glass (1902) Kunsthandel Kolhammer

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Masterful bronze elephants by Rembrandt Bugatti (c.1920).  The nine beautiful painted panels in the background are by 1930s painter and illustrator Camille Roche. Galerie Dumonteil

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A new idea this year is the exhibition of “The Barbier-Mueller Collections: 110 Years of Passion.” The collection was put together gradually by four generations of the Barbier-Mueller family. There are amazing works by Georg Baselitz, Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun and Jeff Koons.

Young girl with Nasturtium, 1907 by Cuno Amiet, Barbier-Mueller Collection

 

It is a wonderful and important Fair and has been vastly improved by this year’s fine tuning. And as their new President so rightly says: “One of the greatest draws is the city of Paris itself. It has that je ne sais quoi.”

La Biennale Paris,  Grand Palais, Paris

 

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