Free market but not so charming location for the London Kermesse, rich in styles and proposals
The dance of art (i.e. the art of selling art) starts with three unmissable events: the “Biaf” Biennale in Florence, “Frieze Master” in London and FIAC in Paris. When the Biaf gala takes place, in mid September, summer is still in the air in Florence. The exhibition runs at Palazzo Corsini, a princely building with a terrace on the Arno river; here, 80 sellers of antique and modern art propose masterpieces from all ages. A small Tefaf, with the charm of an unmissable city. The only complication: many interesting international pieces are blocked by notifications. Foreign collectors – they are quite numerous – ask for information and express their interest, but as soon as the word “notification” is uttered, they do an immediate about face. A different air blows in London: free market and a frenzy of works that can be brought everywhere by collectors and private as well as public institutions from all over the world. The location of Frieze is less charming: a tensile structure in Regent Park that is also quite difficult to reach. It offers a wave of styles and proposals.
A sumptuous and gigantic event in Paris with a large number of visitors
Florence Biennale in Palazzo Corsini hosts masterpieces from all ages
Typically Northern Wunderkammer oddities: Gothic ivory items, Medieval illustrated books, archaeological pieces, Egyptian finds, various exoticisms. However, pathos is achieved by Italian art only, with a setting that arouses great suspense: the only Botticelli painting that is still in the market – a manly portrait by an indisputable maestro – can be contemplated in the dark. But there are also Italian works from all ages, from gold backgrounds and Baroque to the twentieth century. Works of art from the period that followed WW2, with their unparalleled elegance, stand out for modernity and innovation: from Fontana to Burri, from Roman Art to Arte Povera. Paris is sumptuous. Resounding FIAC is amplified by the majestic headquarters of the Grand Palais. Built for the 1898 exposition, in full belle époque, it preserves its powerful appeal: gigantic in size, central location. Modern art is enhanced by historical architectures and the success of the fair is confirmed by sales as well as by a large number of visitors who wait to enter in long queues. In Paris, too, regulations allow for the sale of works of art to foreign purchasers, including works of historical interest: indeed, if the French State does not make funds available for the acquisition, works can be sold to private purchasers. This is the reason why there are more galleries abroad, and they all enjoy greater stability. In Paris, too, the streets retain their charm and decorum, dotted with exhibition venues. According to the customs of Fiac, collateral events accompany the main exhibition. Italian great names are on display at Tornabuoni Art with the ‘Utopia’ exhibition. The vast rooms of the temporary headquarters in the Marais (they will move back to Avenue Matignon in 2020) host an art-design exposition of great Italian brands. Waiting for Art Basel Miami in December, professionals and collectors are already planning exhibitions, working on catalogues and collecting works – a bit of exercise before upcoming major events.