IT'S ALL ABOUT STYLE
Following in the somewhat muddied hoofprints of the now-shuttered Haughton International Art + Design Fair and Sandy Smith’s Modernism Fair, Paris organizer Patrick Perrin has pulled off a show-stopping coup with his first edition of the Pavilion of Art and Design New York, Nov. 9-19, 2011. The fair opened at the Park Avenue Armory last night for a VIP reception and is followed by one for the general public tonight.
“Tom Ford [the celebrated designer who ramped up Gucci and now has his own label] came to the last three versions of our Pavilion of Art & Design London,” said Stephane Custot, who with Perrin co-organizes that UK fair and the Pavilion des Arts & du Design Paris, too. “It just makes sense that we can replicate the same fizz, the same quality,” said Custot.
In all, some 50 dealers are participating, and they’re overwhelmingly top drawer. From Paris are Galerie Vallois, L’Arc en Seine and Downtown-Francois Laffanour, while from London comes the Carpenters Workshop Gallery in its first Manhattan fair appearance. Fine art is part and parcel of the mix, with Jacques de la Béraudière, Galerie Gmurzynska, Hopkins Custot Gallery, L& M Arts and Landau Fine Art.
What’s on offer makes prior design fairs seem a total snore. In terms of French élan, the pickings are très très chic, the kind of heightened elegance that Americans rarely glimpse on these shores.
For starters, L’Arc en Seine is touting top examples of Pierre Chareau, Diego Giacometti, Jean-Michel Frank and Paul Dupré-Lafon. Speaking of sticker-shock prices, a pair of Chareau sconces made of rectangular plates of alabaster and dating from 1928 costs $320,000.
Nearby, a distinctive Jean Royère six-light chandelier, Corbeille (1948), priced at $120,000, anchors the Paris Galerie Chastel-Marechal booth. It hangs above a Gilbert Poillerat wrought iron console from 1930, yours for $150,000. Also of note is an Alexandre Noll massive ebony trencher from 1938 for $90,000. Of her select offerings, Aline Chastel said, “It’s not that the market has shifted from Paris to New York, but rather all the top collectors congregate here.”
Very reasonably priced design can be had at Carpenters Workshop. There Julien Lombrail, who happens to be the son of Paris designer Ingrid Donat, is featuring an iron Vincent Dubourg Double Buffet from 2010 in an edition of eight for $85,000. The piece is more lyrical sculpture than sideboard.
Vallois boasts Jacques Ruhlmann trophies galore, including a 1926 palisander edged in ivory. While no prices were disclosed, some have to be north of $1 million.
Fine art fanciers should not miss Jacques de la Béraudière’s jaw-dropping Alexej Jawlensky Head of Woman in Green (1910), smartly displayed next to a petite Alberto Giacometti Buste de Diego, ca. 1954. On view at L& M Arts is an Yves Klein SE 218 (1958), a small sponge sculpture dipped in his signature electric blue paint, tagged at $1.3 million, and a Pablo Picasso gouache Tête d’homme (1969) for $2.2 million.
One sign of the Perrin magic touch: An American couple snared Royère’s leather curved sofa, originally commissioned by a Beirut client in 1950, from Soho dealer Cristina Grajales for $500,000 in the first hour of the Wednesday evening VIP session.
“New York needed a really important design fair that can stand up to PAD London and Design Miami Basel,” said Grajales. Clearly, Perrin, who is also working in tandem with Sandy Smith, is the man who delivers.
“Pavilion of Art and Design New York,” Nov. 9-14, 2011, Park Avenue Armory, 643 Park Avenue, New York, N.Y., 10065.
BROOK S. MASON is U.S. correspondent for the Art Newspaper, and also writes for the Financial Times and other publications.