Star Chicago Gallerist Mariane Ibrahim Is Opening a New Space in Paris as International Art Dealers Rush to the French Capital

"The global is local and vice versa," Ibrahim says of her thinking.

Mariane Ibrahim. Photography by Philip Newton. Courtesy of Mariane Ibrahim Gallery.
Mariane Ibrahim. Photography by Philip Newton. Courtesy of Mariane Ibrahim Gallery.

Art dealer Mariane Ibrahim, who recently moved her influential gallery to Chicago from Seattle, has joined a growing number of gallerists expanding to Paris. As Artnet News reported recently, a combination of real-estate opportunities, Brexit fallout, and a renewed sense of vibrancy is turning the City of Lights into a veritable art-market hub.

The new space is on Paris’s famous Avenue Matignon and the first exhibition, a group show of artists on the gallery’s roster, will open in September. In recent years, Ibrahim has offered an influential platform for artists of the African diaspora, including Ghanaian market star Amoako Boafo and British-Liberian artist Lina Iris Viktor. Ayana V. Jackson, who she also represents, will have a solo exhibition at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in 2022.

“The 8th arrondissement reminds us of our initial initiative to move to Chicago, where we felt like there was something new happening,” Ibrahim told Artnet News. “We are very lucky to be present for the beginning of a new resurrection of certain areas in Paris.”

Mariane Ibrahim is opening a new gallery in Paris on Avenue Matignon. Image courtesy Mariane Ibrahim Gallery.

Mariane Ibrahim is opening a new gallery in Paris on Avenue Matignon. Image courtesy Mariane Ibrahim Gallery.

Paris has remained a point of departure and a point of return for the dealer, who lived in France before moving to the US in 2010. Given the ongoing travel restrictions, it was her French citizenship that made it possible to move forward with the space. 

Ibrahim said she had been considering the move “unconsciously for quite some time,” but began seriously pursuing it over the past six months. 

The pandemic “almost facilitated the need to be in two places at one time,” she added. “Paris is becoming a city that is going to compete in the major art market, and we are eager to be a part of that.”

In recent years, French collectors have grown increasingly interested in artists of the African diaspora as the country has engaged in deeper conversations about restitution of art stolen during the colonial era.

Asked how the Paris and Chicago spaces will work together, Ibrahim said they are opposites in many ways: the Chicago gallery is all on one level and spread out, while the Paris space spans three floors in a Haussmann building. 

At a time when “the global is local and vice versa,” she said, “being in two cultural spaces will enrich the work and practice of our artists.”


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