Fall Preview: Paris prepares for the 25th Biennale des Antiquaires
Preparations for the Biennale des Antiquaires, which will open on September 15 in
Paris’s Grand Palais, are well underway. Although it is the twenty-fifth edition of the Biennale, it is the first under the direction of Hervé Aaron of Didier Aaron, who is the new president of France’s Syndicat National des Antiquaires, which organizes the show. Although the Biennale will feature the same caliber of objects and installations that have made it the most glamorous antiques fair, this year twenty-five “young dealers” have been selected for inclusion in a special section
called the “Tremplin pour la Biennale” (springboard for the Biennale), which will
be located on the balcony.
Although similar to Maastricht’s Showcase initiative, which also added young dealers, the Tremplin is muchless formal, although no less rigorous. Rather than soliciting applications, Aaron asked members of every vetting committee to nominate candidates, who were then narrowed down to twenty-five. There is no hard and fast definition of what constitutes a “young dealer,” other than, Aaron explains, that “they have been in business for at least five years.”
Overall, Aaron notes that there has been “a certain slide toward the late nineteenth and early twentieth century” in the Biennale—a shift in emphasis reflective of the market. However, the Tremplin exhibitors include the wide array of specialties and eras that are represented at the fair. Christophe de Quénetain, for example, will show eighteenthcentury furniture; Laurent Vanlian, nineteenth-century furniture; Alexis Renard (a veteran of TEFAF’s Showcase) Islamic art; and Eric Pouillet, Asian objects. As their names imply, these “young dealers” are French. Their inclusion at the Biennale gives a boost to the next generation, while demonstrating France’s strengths to international collectors.
While the Biennale’s exclusive opening night dinner will also be a showcase for French gastronomic excellence, Aaron has intentionally separated it from the preview viewing that will precede it in order to keep the focus of the evening on the objects, rather than on the food or the conversation.
In the meantime, Galerie J. Kugel continues its tradition of offering a glittering exhibition (and alluring opening parties) timed to coincide with the influx of visitors for the Biennale at its sumptuous hotel particulier across the Seine from the Grand Palais. This autumn’s show will, according to Nicolas Kugel, “celebrate the taste for antiques,” with an over-the-top installation and decorations by the renowned designer Pier Luigi Pizzi. A small catalogue will accompany the exhibition.
XXVth Biennale des Antiquaires · Grand Palais, Paris · September 15–22 · www .bdafrance.eu Anticomania · Galerie J. Kugel, Paris · September 14 to December 18 · www.galeriekugel.com
Photo: Cabinet by Pierre Chareau (1883–1950), 1922. Photograph by courtesy of Galerie Marcilhac, Paris.