Art Basel Owner MCH Group Acquires Stake in Art Düsseldorf

The fair takes aim at German leader, Art Cologne.

ART DÜSSELDORF new co-owners Walter Gehlen (Founding Director and Partner of ART DÜSSELDORF), Marco Fazzone (Managing Director of Design and Regional Art Fairs, MCH Group), René Kamm (Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO), MCH Group) and Andreas Lohaus (Founding Director and Partner of ART DÜSSELDORF). © Nils vom Lande

Art Basel’s parent company MCH Group announced today the acquisition of a 25.1 percent stake in art.fair International GmbH, the Cologne-based organizer behind the newly founded Art Düsseldorf.

Whilst the fair will remain under the control of current owners Andreas Lohaus and Walter Gehlen, the Swiss fair conglomerate has the option of securing a majority stake in the future.

The investment aligns with MCH Group’s strategy of strengthening and diversifying its global portfolio of regional art fairs, and follows the company’s co-ownership stake in the New Delhi-based India Art Fair in September 2016.

“MCH Group’s participation in Art Düsseldorf constitutes a further step in the implementation of our strategic initiative for the worldwide expansion of a new portfolio of regional art fairs in important art locations,” Marco Fazzone, Managing Director of Design & Regional Art Fairs said in a statement.

The venue of Art Düsseldorf at Areal Böhler. Photo: courtesy of Areal Böhler.

The venue of Art Düsseldorf at Areal Böhler. Photo: courtesy of Areal Böhler.

Fazzone couldn’t resist a jab at it’s neighbor and new rival, Germany’s oldest and leading art fair, Art Cologne. “Art Düsseldorf in the Areal Böhler will become the leading regional art fair in Germany, the Benelux region and the Rhineland—and thus also have an international radiance,” he said.

Despite maintaining its independence, Fazzone believes that with the right support from the MCH Group’s “experience and network,” Art Düsseldorf could grow into an important event on the German art fair calendar.

However with strong domestic competition from the resurgent Art Cologne, which has once again become a major international force under the stewardship of director Daniel Hug, it remains to be seen if galleries and collectors will be convinced by Art Düsseldorf’s ambitious plans when its inaugural edition takes place from November 16-19.

Co-owner Walter Gehlen is confident. “Our activities in Düsseldorf are attracting great interest from galleries all over the world, who wish to make successful use of this fair for themselves. We are looking forward to the first edition of Art Düsseldorf.”

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