FIAC Flies in Top Five

Paris -- German painters Gerhard Richter and Georg Baselitz sold works for more than $2 million each, and American artist Mike Kelley’s mixed media that used buttons, beads and shells fetched more than $1 million, as the Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain ended this past weekend.

Art collectors of Art Kabinett social media network agreed that this year's FIAC was a huge success.

FIAC is now ranked No. 5 in the world by attendance. It was the main attraction of a modern and contemporary art week that saw the reopening of the Picasso museum on Oct. 25 after a five-year renovation.

Organizers said 74,567 people attended the main fair at the Grand Palais and more than 14,000 visitors went to (Off)icialle, a new sister event with 68 galleries that focused on younger or overlooked artists on a dock along the Seine in east Paris.

Among the most prolific collectors, Francois Pinault, the French billionaire owner of Christie’s auction house, bought 37 works between the two fairs, organizers said.

The Louis Vuitton Foundation, a private museum designed by Frank Gehry and commissioned by Bernard Arnault, chairman and chief executive officer of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA, opened to the public on Saturday.

Dealers said FIAC, which finished its 41st edition, has dusted off the image of a dowdy local fair, and has become increasingly important on the international contemporary art circuit with 191 galleries from 26 countries participating this year.

In Paris, Pinault along with Arnault had private access to FIAC and its sister program before the VIP opening on Oct. 22.

Kavi Gupta, whose Chicago- and Berlin-based galleries had a booth at (Off)icialle, sold two paintings by Brooklyn, New York-based Angel Otero for $20,000 each to “a French oligarch who shall remain unnamed,” Gupta said.

Big Galleries

Some of the biggest galleries had booths, including Gagosian from New York and White Cube from London.

The fair was the fifth-most attended art fair in the world from the fall of 2013 through June 30, according to a report by Skate’s, a New York-based art market researcher.

The fair’s traditional American and European collector base has expanded to include buyers from Asia and Latin America, dealers said.

“I feel like I’m having a real dialogue with collectors,” said Andrea Rosen, whose Andrea Rosen Gallery is based in New York. “The energy in Paris is dynamic. They’re leisurely here and they really enjoy looking at art.” Her booth sold a number of works by David Altmejd, who has a show at the Musee D’Art Moderne in Paris, for prices that ranged from $40,000 to $240,000.

Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac of Paris and Salzburg within the first hours of the VIP opening sold a 1978 Georg Baselitz abstract painting “Portrait und Flasche” for 2 million euros ($2.5 million).

Mixed Media Line-Up

Van de Weghe Fine Art, based in New York, sold Richter’s 1985 “Untitled (S78-1)” for $2.8 million and an Andy Warhol work for $650,000.

Skarstedt Gallery of New York and London sold a 2001 mixed media work, by Kelley, “Memory Ware Flat No. 10,” that uses everyday objects and detritus such as buttons, beads, pin badges, mirrors and shells.

At the booth of David Zwirner -- who ranked number two on ArtReview’s 2014 list of most powerful figures in contemporary art -- a red and white polka dot pumpkin sculpture by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama sold for $600,000.

Emmanuel Perrotin displayed a series of oil-on-oak paintings by French artist Laurent Grasso, which sold out immediately for 22,000 euros each. The accompanying neon works -- which created a mixed-media diptych -- all went for a mere 8,000 euros.

Lehmann Maupin, with galleries in New York and Hong Kong, sold three paintings by British artist Billy Childish within the first hour of the fair for 15,000 euros to 25,000 euros.

Just as Art Basel and Frieze have expanded their brands with fairs in Miami and New York, FIAC is holding its first international show, FIAC Los Angeles, at the city’s convention center from March 27 to 29, and dealers are likely to make instant comparisons.

“In terms of the art fair circuit, there’s no better place to be,” Gupta said of the French version of FIAC. “In Paris, everywhere you go, it’s all art.

Today's homepage Featured Art Video interviews Laurent Grasso, winner of the 2008 Prix Marcel Duchamp.