Artists, collectors and galleries meet in conclave until today in Paris. The 45th edition of the International Fair of Contemporary Art (Fiac) started on Thursday at the Grand Palais of the French capital with almost 200 invited galleries and hope to match the record of last year, when the event attracted more than 75,000 visitors. The museums of the city have taken advantage of this week to inaugurate their great exhibitions for the autumn season, in a demonstration of strength with scarce precedents, that seems destined to recover positions in the sector in front of the turbulences announced by the Brexit in the United Kingdom.
The rivalry is only symbolic, as London continues to win by far in sales volume, although the threat weighs on the economy of the island. The recent Frieze, the great fair held at the beginning of October in the British capital, was distinguished by its pessimism environment, caused by the uncertain consequences of a departure from the European Union, scheduled for March 2019, in the first art market in Europe. According to a report by Art Basel, the value generated in 2017 by sales of works of art in the United Kingdom accounted for 62% of the total in the European continent.
So far, London has benefited from a rate on imports of works that remains the lowest in the European Union (5%), but the situation could change when it leaves the common market.
"Trade hates uncertainty and many dealers, like bankers, plan to move their homes to Brussels or Paris," he said. Le Monde Few days ago. "Since the situation has changed in Great Britain, many English go to France," confirms the London gallery owner Ben Brown. However, other voices think that London will not let itself be won so easily. And that everything will depend on the fiscal policy that is put in place after the Brexit. "Europe does not have art market centers that can compete with London," British gallery owner Brett Gorvy ruled out. The New York Times."Can Paris regain the art world? I don `t believe".
However, if there was a certain melancholy in London's Frieze, optimism triumphs in Paris. "Today no one thinks that nothing happens in Paris", summarizes the director of the fair, Jennifer Flay, who took office in 2003 with Martin Bethenod, current director of the museums of the billionaire François Pinault in Venice. When placed in front of Fiac, it had become a declining event, banished to a fairground on the outskirts of the city and abandoned by the large international galleries. But the big fish, who deserted it for years, return to occupy their corridors. For example, Swiss galleries such as Hauser & Wirth and Gmurzynska have returned to this edition. The first, with a thematic stand on the notion of desire and the highest level of its artists, from Louise Bourgeois to Philip Guston, from whom on the first day an oil valued at 5.2 million euros was sold. The second, with works by Yves Klein staged by Alexandre de Betak, the designer of the great fashion shows.
The figures are still very favorable to London, but Paris plans to make war. "More and more American collectors tend to prefer Fiac than Frieze," explains the director of the British gallery White Cube, Sharis Alexandrian..