Flash News: Tefaf – Maastricht – New York – Gérard Fromanger – Beaubourg – Dubuffet



Every fortnight, Artprice provides a short round up of art market news: Tefaf – Maastricht – New York – Gérard Fromanger – Beaubourg – Dubuffet

TEFAF in Maastricht, and soon in New York
The European Fine Art Fair, more commonly known as TEFAF, the world’s most prestigious art fair, is to open its doors from 11 to 20 March 2016, still with the transversal vision that characterises it, covering 7,000 years of art history. TEFAF aims to be an outstanding event, featuring the best in antiques, objects, furniture and jewellery, as well as modern and contemporary art. Greek and Roman antiquities are exhibited along with masterpieces by such artists as Durer, Rembrandt, Fra Bartolommeo, Rubens, Paul Cezanne, Salvador Dali and Yayoi Kusama. To avoid visitors getting lost among such a huge array of works, the fair is laid out according to exhibited specialties, with the single aim of providing the finest possible professional exhibitions. Indeed, excellence is the main criterion behind selection of the 269 participating galleries coming from 20 countries around the world. These high standards are reflected in the plethora of works to be seen, including Liberty Enlightening the World by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi (Bailly gallery), Théodore Géricault’s Portrait of a Young Man (Jean-Luc Baroni), Rodin’s Eternal Spring (Bowman Sculpture), a beautiful red Concetto Spaziale by Fontana (Cardi gallery) and a rare sculpture by Jean Dubuffet (Waddington Custot).
TEFAF has traditionally been held in Maastricht (Netherlands) every year for the past 29 years. Its importance in the European market has long since been proven and to avoid such a smooth running event from becoming routine, Patrick van Maris, the new CEO of TEFAF, has announced its upcoming extension via two new fairs in New York, heart of the global art market. The first New York edition is to take place from 22 to 27 October 2016 at the Park Avenue Armory.

Gérard Fromanger à Beaubourg
Gérard FROMANGER has already exhibited at the Pompidou Centre. That was back in 1977, within the show Guillotine et Peinture: hommage à François Topino Lebrun. The same museum is now dedicating a major retrospective to him, until 16 May 2016. A central artist of Narrative Figuration, a French movement officially founded in 1965, Gérard Fromanger is « a rare and singular figure » according to the exhibition’s curator, Michel Gauthier, who also points to the sense of balance the artist has managed to attain, his work displaying true political consciousness, while still remaining more than the sole expression of political commitment. He speaks of « painting that is both open to the world and fully aware of itself », and mentions the artist’s friendship with Jacques Prévert, his references to May 68, Jean-Luc Godard, Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault and Félix Guattari. For Fromanger, art inevitably has a social role to play, and he presents this role in the form of cityscapes, organised as collages.
This retrospective is important in enabling the public to rediscover work that has remained too little known. Confined to the French market, the art of Fromanger is still largely affordable, with over 60% of works available for under USD 500 (in the case of engravings). The artist has nevertheless twice passed the limit of USD 100,000 (including fees), in 2012 and 2014, for 1971 paintings representing red silhouettes in the city. Red is a recurrent aspect in his work, a common thread recalling the expression of his friend Jacques Prévert: « A red image, red slaughter, genocide, Vietnam red, red escalation, Soledad red, Guevara red ». So far, Gérard Fromanger has not cracked the US market, or even the British market, even though he exhibited a piece at the London Royal Academy of Arts in 2002.

Dubuffet retrospective in Switzerland
Open since 31 January, the exhibition Jean Dubuffet – Metamorphoses of Landscape at the Fondation Beyeler shows the best work by the father and theorist of Art Brut, to be seen until 8 May 2016. The exhibition largely reflects the richness of the relationship between Dubuffet and Ernst Beyeler, whose gallery represented him for many years. Ranked the 26th best performing artist worldwide at auctions in 2015, Jean DUBUFFET climbed 34 places in the annual ranking following an outstanding sale in New York in May 2015. The work in question, entitled Paris Polka, is a large 1961 canvas that Christie’s presented as one of Dubuffet’s best known works, which explains a reported estimate of « around USD 25m ». It was a risky bet to make given the fact that the artist had never crossed the threshold of ten million at auction before. However, the work being as exceptional as the curated sale in which it was included (Looking Forward to the Past), it lived up to its promise, achieving a final price of USD 24.8m. With the sale of this major work, the French artist’s record increased by over USD 17m in one year (Puppet City, USD 7.4m at Sotheby’s New York, 11 November 2014). The overall rise in value of Jean Dubuffet’s works amounts to +161% between 2000 and 2016, with a market that has proven more active in the US (51% of the market) than in France (20%).