Crowds queued to get in to the world’s largest photography fair before it closed this weekend
Three hours before Paris photo closed on 17 November, long queues of visitors were still snaking round the Grand Palais exhibition centre, waiting to get in, visible evidence of the popular success of what has become the largest selling fair for photography in the world. “In the last three years, we have succeeded in making photography a part of art history,” said director Julien Frydman.
Organisers said more than 55,000 visitors attended across the four days of the event. Since moving to the Grand Palais in 2011 from the more limited space of the Carrousel du Louvre, visitor numbers have gone up by around 45%. Exhibitor numbers were also up, with 136 galleries, 27 more than last year, and 28 publishers and specialised booksellers. New galleries included Metro Pictures and Cheim & Read from New York, and Ben Brown and Flowers from London.
The fair featured several major international galleries that are not strictly photography specialists. Among them, David Zwirner showed work by the America photographers Philip-Lorca diCorcia and James Welling, the Canadian Stan Douglas and the German Thomas Ruff. Gagosian brought works by Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon, William Eggleston, Andreas Gursky and Cindy Sherman. Early pieces by Cindy Sherman could also be found at Metro Pictures.
Perhaps reflecting the recovery of the US economy, there was a strong presence of American visitors, to judge by the accents in the aisles. Of the 65 organisations that brought groups of collectors and patrons to visit the fair, 11 were American, including the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
The works on offer covered a full range of contemporary, historic and modern photography and dealers said business was good, though few were willing to give details. “This has been a great edition, with good sales and many contacts with new collectors,” said a representative on the stand of Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York. A spokesperson for Gagosian said the gallery, present for the third time, had “great sales to new collectors from the US and Europe”.
Cheim & Read, showing for the first time, reported “excellent sales and excellent contacts” but offered no specifics. Tasveer Bangalore, the first-ever Indian gallery to take part, said it sold well. London’s Daniel Blau said they had great sales to collectors from China, Germany and the US.
One of the biggest deals made during the fair was a 1928 original signed vintage gelatin silver print by August Sander, showing a white-jacketed chef with a large beating bowl, reserved for €1m at the Bonn-based gallery Feroz. The gallery confirmed after the fair that it was “in very close discussion” with an institution over the work.