Biennale des Antiquaires 2012 Report

Art lovers were blessed with perfect weather last week at the 2012 Biennale des Antiquaires held in Paris’s Grand Palais.  In its 26th year, the fair is the foremost showcase of art and antiques for dealers from the Société National des Antiquaries (SNA).  

In a venue designed by Karl Lagerfeld this year, dealers exhibited in lanes of two-storey white shop fronts, and there was no shortage of stunning antiques to admire.  Amongst a healthy mix of old, new and Revivalist pieces was a rare, blue slant top desk varnished in the Chinese taste, by Pierre IV Migeon and the “frères Martin,” France c. 1735 offered by Anne-Marie Monin (Paris), an ornamented walnut and marble cabinet by Édouard Lièvre c.1875 offered by Galerie Marc Maison (Paris), and an 1874 Emile Reiber rosewood, ebony, walnut, gilded and silvered bronze corner cabinet with enameled cloisonné offered by Oscar Graf (Paris). 

While galleries such as Richard Green (London), Galerie Mendes (Paris) and others brought striking examples of Dutch floral and Old Master work, the fine art leaned toward European Modern and Contemporary.  Italians Lucio Fontana and Georgio Morandi appeared beside the French:  Yves Klein, Fernand Leger, Simon Hantai.  One stand-out was Galerie Patrice Trigano (Paris) showing a selection of still life paintings by the self taught Séraphine de Senlis.  The man of the hour?  Fellow primitive Jean Dubuffet, with pieces being offered by no fewer than 20 galleries including Galerie Zlotowski (Paris) whose booth featured Dubuffet en Papier, a grouping of the artist’s works on paper.

Last, but certainly not least were the jewels.  Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Dior, Bulgari, Piaget, Siegelson (New York), Chanel, Boucheron (Paris), Chaumet (Paris), and Wallace Chan (Hong Kong) - the list goes on. 

If you were looking for sparkle, one couldn’t have asked for a better venue.  Spirits (along with Mr. Lagerfeld’s balloon) seemed high.