Dramatic Encounters at the 2016 Biennale des Antiquaires


There was an air of confident renewal at this year’s Biennale des Antiquaires, the grand and sophisticated Paris showcase for art, antiques, jewelry, and antiquities which, despite its name, will become an annual event next year under a new name to be announced in October.

A dramatic wood figure from Yimam, circa 1650, at the booth of Galerie Meyer. Photo by Marisa Bartolucci.








This was the first time in a number of years that the big jewelry houses weren’t present. In recent editions, the size of their booths had grown so large and lavish that they eclipsed the displays of the antiquaires. While haute joailleries was still on show, this time represented by smaller, younger, far more edgy, but just as luxe houses, the accent was back on the art, antiques, and antiquities, with more Old Masters paintings and drawings displayed than ever before, now that Paris Tableau, a fair specializing in that category merged with this edition of the Biennale. The result was a fair of uncommon splendor and refinement. Dealers worked very hard to present dramatic booths to showcase their wares and demonstrate in many instances just how “modern” their period creations could be. The show is in full swing through September 18th.

Our friend Marisa Bartolucci paid a visit and guides us through some of her favorite encounters at the fair …

  • These Louis Quinze gilded bronze and Meissen parrot candelabras couldn’t help but enchant. Photo by Marisa Bartolucci.
  • A dramatic Jain sculpture of the bird god Garuda with a goddess on his shoulders at the booth of Galerie Christophe Hioco. Photo by Marisa Bartolucci.
  • One of the most superb artworks on display was this complete set of Daimyo armor. Photo by Marisa Bartolucci.
  • A dramatic wood figure from Yimam, circa 1650, at the booth of Galerie Meyer. Photo by Marisa Bartolucci.
  • Galerie Fleury stunned with a stunning sculpture by Osip Zadkine, along with paintings by artists who helped establish Cubism as a movement. Photo by Marisa Bartolucci.
  • Bosch at De Jonckheere. Photo by Marisa Bartolucci.
  • As one would expect, there were several extraordinary displays of 18th century French furniture and objects, like those seen here at Galerie Francois Leage. Photo by Marisa Bartolucci.
  • At the booth of the Galerie Univers du Bronze, sculptures representing “the golden age” of bronze sculpture from 1830 to 1950 were on show in a strikingly minimalist display. Photo by Marisa Bartolucci.
  • The Biennale featured three special exhibitions from the Hermitage, the Fondation de Haute Horlogerie and Le Mobilier National. The latter’s exhibit “Tradition and Daring!” stole the show with these dramatic tapestries based on paintings made by Jean Dewasne in the late 1980s. They are the largest tapestries ever produced by Tapisserie des Gobelins. Photo by Marisa Bartolucci.
  • The exhibition designer Nathalie Criniere is well known in France for the many exhibitions she has conceived for Pierre Berge and the YSL foundation. Photo by Marisa Bartolucci.