PAD Paris 2015, Delightful and Predictable in Equal Measure
Is the art and design fair becoming too predictable for its own good?
The 19th edition of Paris’s Pavilion of Art and Design, PAD, opened its doors to the public yesterday. On view is a dazzling display of 20th-century decorative art pieces, antiquities, and a top-notch selection of contemporary design. The setting, an elegant pavilion within the Jardin des Tuileries, calls for refined sophistication, and the fair certainly delivers.
The competition this year is fierce. Art Fair Paris, focused on modern and contemporary art, is taking place nearby at the Grand Palais. And Le Salon du Dessin, devoted to drawings, is at the Palais Brongniart. Still, more than 41,000 visitors are expected to attend this edition of this boutique fair.
Of the 65 exhibiting galleries, an overwhelming majority are French, with classic fixtures of the design gallery circuit such as Yves Gastou and Jousse Entreprise and modern art staples like Galerie des Modernes.
Among the newcomers: Catherine Canavèse, Joachim Franco, and Alexis Renard (a dealer in Asian Arts), all of Paris; Thomas Pheasant, from Washington, D.C.; Portuondo, from London; and Opera Gallery, representing a global network of galleries.
Alexandre Guillemain, Torri, Oscar Graf, Laurent Dubois, and Yann Ferrandin are some of the veterans in the lineup.
Wandering the aisles of sleekly styled booths, it’s clear that design has become au courant at PAD—so much so that some voices are piping up about a design-bias turning the fair into a less attractive option for specialized art dealers.
Too much emphasis on design?
“PAD is still a a fantastic fair to be in,” Philippe Bismuth, of Galerie des Modernes, told artnet News. “But there’s been an undeniable turn towards design. When we first started exhibiting here, the fair was very mixed. You could find art and design, photography, antiquities . . . . It was much more varied,” he explained, and he wasn’t complaining. In the first hours of the fair, Galerie des Modernes had sold a drawing by Henri Matisse in the region of €200,000 ($219,224).
The Parisian gallery presented one of the strongest art offerings at this edition of the fair (see our coverage of last year’s edition, Buyers Bliss Out at London’s PAD Fair), with a fine selection that included pencil drawings by Andy Warhol, paintings by Alexander Calder, and a delicious oil on canvas by Jean Lurçat.
In terms of design, sales seemed to be steady, and fetching hefty prices. The Parisian gallery Jousse Entreprise, which specializes in modern design, had sold a chair for a whopping €160,000 ($175,379), although it wouldn’t reveal the name of the designer who signed it.
Meanwhile, the Madrid-based Garrido Gallery, which showcases its own contemporary designs, had sold a nickel console and a nickel table for €46,000 ($50,421) and €34,200 ($37,487), respectively. And a Jean Dubuffet painting, worth another €200,000 ($219,224), had been sold to a patron at the booth of the Hong Kong and Paris-based gallery InfraRed Art Projects.
“This year seems a bit slower than other years, but being in Paris is always profitable for us,” gallery director Juan Garrido told artnet News. “Here we have access to a great network of interior designers and very good private clients,” he said.
A Parisian fair, or an international one?
So, following a well-rehearsed formula, the 2015 edition of PAD Paris has delivered yet another delightful display with consistent sales. But, in an increasingly competitive climate, in which fairs are expected to come up with ever-more alluring ways to cater to a globalized clientele, PAD Paris’s strong French focus and predictability could be become a bit of yawn.
In fact, as Les Échos suggests, a bold newcomer might soon challenge the status quo of this medium-sized fair, which caters to more modern followers than those who attend the Biennale des Antiquaires (see Paris’s Biennale des Antiquaires Dazzles and The Top 10 Booths at the Biennale des Antiquaires).
On Wednesday, Paris Beaux-Arts, a new fair offering jewelry, paintings, sculpture, and decorative objects spanning all historical periods up to the 21st century, will launch at the Carrousel du Louvre. Let’s see what happens then.
PAD Paris 2015 runs from March 26–March 29 at the Jardin des Tuileries, Place du Carrousel, 75001 Paris.
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