Sparkling New York Times Article Discusses Biennale

When I can’t get to important art exhibits and antique shows, I love reading about them vicariously through the more prestigious news sources. I was enjoying one article, for instance, recently from the New York Times that painted a beautiful picture of the 26th edition of the Biennale des Antiquaires in Paris in September. The fair, one of the most prestigious in the world, started in 1962 with 78 exhibitors and has grown to have 122 exhibitors with over 8000 total items.

As the New York Times article pointed out, many well-known exhibitors were showing everything from antiques and furniture to jewelry and art work. As they recounted about Phoenix Ancient Art with Hicham Aboutaam, “Phoenix Ancient Art, one of the leading dealers in rare antiquities, will present an amusing fourth-century bronze of a Gorgon sticking out her tongue.”

They pointed out that newcomers to the scene included Christophe Hioco, an antique dealer in Asian art, and Kalman Macklary Fine Arts Gallery from Budapest.

A Koran dating from the 18th century, given by Louis XV to his daughter Victoire was on display at the Biennale des Antiquaires, as was a 1963 portrait of Liz Taylor by Andy Warhol that was worth about $40 million.

The New York Times article explained that this year’s show featured more high jewelry, rather than vintage pieces. Cartier, Boucheron, Dior, Harry Winston, Piaget and Van Cleef & Arpels showed their finest collections.

Harry Winston, for instance, had a necklace with 146 carats of jewels, including 13 sapphires and 225 diamonds. The show organizer pointed out, as well, that many of the houses had doubled the size of their already-pricey stand for this year’s fairs. Cartier, for instance, had a 250 square meter room to display their items, rather than the 100 square meters that they used in 2010.

Christian Deydier, the head of the Syndicat National des Antiquaires, the national union of antiques dealers that organizes the Biennale, was asked about austerity in Europe. Mr. Deydier said, “The art market is doing well. Especially for exceptional art works, and likewise for luxury jewelry. The high jewelry houses bank on ultraluxury collections because they know that they will sell them.”

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