PLENTY going on in September but you can bet all eyes will be on the XXVI Biennale des Antiquaires at the Grand Palais, Paris from September 14 to 23 to see just what Christian Deydier, President of the Syndicat National des Antiquaires, has concocted.
The 2010 staging was a far from vintage one but M. Deydier promises drastic changes and that 2012 will be grander and better quality than ever.
With around 140 exhibitors, well above the 2010 total, it is the biggest to date, with a much-publicised new look designed by the President’s friend Karl Lagerfeld, to be unveiled at the glittering September 13 vernissage.
We know the gifted Paris-based fashion mogul, who normally does not get out of bed for less than €1m but after a friendly wager with Deydier is reportedly offering his services free, plans a Belle Epoque look and a central bar modelled on the basket of a hot air balloon (Lagerfeld’s fair logo).
The President has also weeded out a good number of 2010 exhibitors and brought in dozens of newcomers, introducing a new generation of dealers to stand alongside established giants of the trade .
Among these is London’s Mullany, who have already found much success at BRAFA in Brussels with a stock of museum-quality early works of art, such as the c.1310 limestone Virgin and Child from Lorraine (above) which they take to Paris.
Nicholas Mullany admits joining the Biennale is daunting. “It was difficult to get in and we had to join the Syndicat National” he told me.
He also said it is astronomically expensive “but being there is a big coup, it is the place to be seen and it is where the European glitterati turn up.”
Mullany is one of just five UK exhibitors and despite M. Deydier’s recent globetrotting to increase international appeal the vast majority of exhibitors are still from Paris.
But this has always been very much a French affair, and that does not stop this being the most eagerly awaited Biennale for years.