Art Of The Day Weekly
#126 - from 26 March 2009 to 1 April 2009
IN THE AIR
PARIS - Specialists say it, so it must be true: a beautiful drawing is worth more than a bad painting. Certain art lovers are ready to invest millions in a work on paper, as we saw with the Seurat’s Au divan japonais sold for 4.4 million Euros last December at Sotheby’s. Each year, as spring arrives, Paris is the place to be to see all that concerns this discipline. The Salon du dessin holds its annual event at the Paris Bourse with 36 galleries and the Daniel and Florence Guerlain collection. A rather new competitor (this is his third edition), the Salon du dessin contemporain –the Contemporary drawing fair -, has set up its boutique at the Carreau du temple with a series of heavy weights (Lelong, Lambert, Xippas). A third event, the Foire internationale du dessin –International drawign fair – appears in 2009, focused on some fifteen artists. If we add the ad hoc exhibitions in museums, the sales (see here-under), the offer is quite wide. In this period of crisis, a small three pencil sketch, a nervous watercolor or a surrealist Indian ink could be the means to awaken one’s taste for collecting.
The Parisian Calder
PARIS – Finally it is back in Paris! Its presence alone justifies, dare we say imposes a visit to the exhibition! We are talking of course of the Circus, the masterpiece Alexander Calder created with pieces of metal, strings and tin, arousing the admiration of the surrealists and which Calder transported in a suitcase. He gave shows at friends’ houses, making the acrobats jump and the lions roar (to be seen again in the films by Jean Painlevé and Carlos Vilardebo). The Circus, which sums up both the wanderings, the taste for all that is mechanics, poetry and humor had been kept for decades as a major masterpiece at the Whitney Museum in New York with no possibility of leaving it. Next to this major work, the exhibition on the artist’s Parisian years shows the passage from figurative sculpture to abstraction that made him famous.
The jazz side of life
PARIS – It was born in the kit and caboodle of New-Orleans and it conquered the world (an itinerary somewhat similar to that of the tango), to the point of lastingly influencing the visual arts. Jass (as it was first known) or jazz is the subject of a major exhibition, which of course runs the risk of having specialists notice what is missing and neophytes will find it too rich. The conventional point of departure is 1917 with the first recording under that name, the Dixie Jass Band One Step, but the true explosion occurred when the genre crossed the Atlantic (as of 1918, with the orchestra of James Reese Europe). After Man Ray, Picasso, Picabia, Van Dongen and Fernand Léger took hold of the subject and transcribed it into drawings, paintings and sculptures that drew the portrait of an era. Not to mention Kupka, Nicolas de Staël, poster artist Paul Colin, Cocteau and of course, Matisse, who thus named a complete cycle. The journey ends with Chasing the blue train, a large installation created in 1989 by David Hammons. Then one has to give the final touch by ending the day at the caveau des Lombards or au Petit Journal, some of the famous Paris jazz clubs …
The princes' clothes
VERSAILLES – Paris, capital of fashion. The scepter is not as confirmed as it used to be, but in the XVIIIth century no one would have questioned it: it was particularly in France that European monarchs put in their orders for suits, furnishings, embroideries, lace… the exhibition at the château de Versailles, part of a cycle on life at the royal court, brings together dresses, jerkins and waistcoats from all over the continent: from the Palazzo Pitti (Italy), to the palàcio d’Ajuda (Portugal), the castle of Rosenborg (Denmark), or the Hermitage of Saint-Petersburg and even the cathedral of Cologne, as well as jewels, drawings and prints. Colbert used to say that fashion was to France what gold mines were to Peru. Cheer up, not everything has changed: the patron for this ambitious retrospective is Chanel.
The week of drawing
PARIS – The various drawing fairs and the traditional Semaine du dessin (Week of Drawing) motivate auction houses. Various sales will be dedicated to works on paper. At Piasa, on 26 March, special attention will be given to a series of strange animals by Pierre-Frédéric Soehnée, a student of Géricault’s, who had a visionary period before making a fortune in the creation of a varnish (about 5 000 euros). At Thierry de Maigret, on the 27th, there will be a «commercial» Levy-Dhurmer with a preparatory pastel for an ad of Paribas in 1920 (estimated 12 000 Euros). At Artcurial, also on the 27th, in scattering the collection of baron de Vitta, we will note a few amusing harem scenes– bright watercolors touched up with poster paint – by Albert Besnard (around 1 000 Euros) and various Delacroix rather much more expensive.
ARTIST OF THE WEEK
Born Wild rouge Sculpture in polyresin. Edition red signed and numbered over 500. DImensions: 46x42x110 cm. Courtesy galerie Pierre Cardin, Paris. Edition rouge signée et numérotée sur 500. Dimensions : 46x42x110 cm.
Richard Orlinski, the man of the crocodile
His ascension is no way due to the galleries but rather to auction houses, which is rather rare. The stars of French contemporary art such as Xavier Veilhan, Mathieu Mercier or Gilles Barbier only have respectively 10, 21 or 18 results at sales. Richard Orlinski (born in 1966), on the contrary, looked down upon by critics, has 22 to his credit. Yet the artist’s reputation rests on one element, the crocodile. Is this an emblem of a ruthless world? The red, one meter- long saurian, produced in polyresin in various hundreds of copies, and which started its career in February 2007 at 1900 Euros at Massol, has been seen in various versions, in black, in aluminum, in gold, for as much as 30 000 Euros at Tajan’s or Artcurial. In the midst of the crisis, on 8 December 2008, again at Massol’s, one of his works, Skull, reached the high estimate of 50 000 Euros. There is a life after the crocodile, after all.
The great flea voyage
T’is the season for flea markets again! … Of course we all know the ones of Vanves and Saint-Ouen in Paris, possibly that of le Sablon in Brussels, Portobello Road in London, Porta Portese in Rome, sung by Baglioni, the Rastro in Madrid but the list can go on. Why not take advantage of the three-day weekends in May to go check out the other great capitals? This guide lists 40 flea markets, from the Flohmarkt in Viena where Empress Sissi’s cocaine syringe was recently dug up, to the Toji temple in Kyoto, rich in kimonos and paper lanterns. In between the two we can also look into the Monastiraki in Athens, Waterloopplein in Amsterdam, the Garage in New York or la Lagunilla in Mexico City. Azulejos in Lisbon, cabin trunks in Geneva, siphons and canes with knobs in Buenos Aires: isn’t this cosmopolitism divine?
FRANCE – Following the initiative of the SYMEV (National Union of the voluntary auction houses), a wild week-end with charity sales and various distractions are organized in a great number of auction houses on 28 and 29 March 2009
LA LOUVIÈRE (Belgium) – The first stone of the extension of the Center of Prints and printed images (Centre de la Gravure et de l’image imprimée), designed by architect Erwin Spitzer, will be laid on 27 March 2009
LONDON – The sale of the collection of designer Gianni Versace at Sotheby’s brought in 7 million £ i.e. the low estimate. A pair of wrestlers by Canova was sold for ten fold its estimate at 433 250 £. The Portrait of major George Maule by Johann Zoffany was pulled out of the sale upon the request of a descendant of the model’s, who claims the painting was robbed.
PARIS – The 13th Pavilion of arts and design, which this year will put the accent on Italian design, brings together 80 exhibitors at the Jardin des Tuileries from 1st to 5th April 2009.
PARIS – The four artists named for the 2009 Marcel Duchamp prize are Saadane Afif, Damien Deroubaix, Nicolas Moulin and Philippe Perrot.
PRAGUE – The ministers of Culture of the European Union will be getting together on 26 and 27 March 2009 under the Czech presidency for a Forum for creative Europe.
This week, do not miss
RALPH-SAMUEL GROSSMANN THE VEILED WORLD
ROUEN - How can we combine aesthetic emotion and the imaginary world of science in front of nature? This is the question Ralph Samuel Grossmann puts forward at the musée des Beaux-Arts of Rouen by means of large images of cloudy skies, sculpture-assemblages of natural fragments and scientific modelling.