There were a few wonderful surprises last night at the opening of FAB, Fine Arts la Biennale which has replaced the Biennale des Antiquaires at Grand Palais Ephémère. I went early and could talk to most of the exhibitors like Anne Marie Chevalier and her father Dominique who are selling an Aubusson tapestry after a drawing by Marc Saint Saëns, the grand nephew of Camille, called Quatuor. They have just auctioned part of their very large collection and my favorite tapestry was preempted by the Louvre after chateau de Vaux le Vicomte had successfully bid on it. Carole Blumenfeld was promoting a group of five young dealers who had been selected as promising future members of the biennale. Louis Barrand specializes in XIX th and XX th century paintings and drawings, Yasmine Sabrier and Mariane Paunet were presenting a parade of monkeys in ink by Louis Antoine Le Mire, Nicolas Fournery had beautiful Japanese fishes and Paul-Antoine Richet Coulon from galerie la Ménagerie, showed a bronze of a Centaur’s hunt by Louis de Monard.
The show is beautifully designed with a lot of space between the booths and many museum curators were taking photographs at Galerie Terrades while Pierre Rosenberg visited teh Florentine gallery of Enrico Francione. I discovered painter Charles Lacoste and a wonderful self portrait by Louis Jean Noël Duveau of a “Plein air painter” with an umbrella held to the ground by strings at Galerie de Bayser.
At Didier Aaron, a ravishing Drouais of Madame de Pompadour, at Paul Prouté, three pastels by Jean Baptiste Sécheret the exceptional drawer and print maker caught immediately my attention as did an eau forte with aquatint by Erik Desmazières. A pretty “Young woman reading” by Alfred Stevens was tempting at Brame et Lorenceau and a lovely painting on paper by Dubuffet at Galerie de la Présidence.
The most impressive stand of 18 th century furniture was Galerie Neuse where Martin Neuse showed me a Commode à la Régence by Mathieu Criaerd whose twin is at the Wallace collection in London. A child’s table à la Tronchin by David Roentgen was also shown there and a very rare ebony sculpture by Leonhard Kern of “Gaïa with a girl’s face”. This German dealer from Bremen is of the highest quality and reminded me of the Maastricht Tefaf, which remains the strongest antique fair today. I was happy to see Daniel Alcouffe, the famous curator of objets d’art at the Louvre, running around at Steinitz.
Kent Antiques showed a collection of very decorative XIX th century Kajar moulded polychrome pottery tiles while the Proyart family, Théophile, Laure and Jean Baptiste had a cabinet of Mallarmé letters and poems.
At Guy Ladrière, a self portrait by Antoine Laurent Dantan in white marble was competing with multiple sculptures including a large white marble lion and multiple columns. And a very pretty drawing of Camilla Ruggeri by Renaissance artist Lelio Orsi.
I was surprised not to hear more foreign languages spoken but the buyers will probably arrive today or tomorrow from all over Europe. The atmosphere was extremely calm and studious until a dinner of smoked salmon and potatoes with caviar was served with vodka. For the first time, I saw a very elegant Grand Palais Ephémère with most men wearing a black tie and tables decorated with a few of Thanksgiving tiny pumpkins… Until Sunday night FAB Paris
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