Postponements or cancellations, the calendar of fairs is jeopardized with the coronavirus which affects all continents. Collectors, foundations, museums and institutions are preparing to live an untenable marathon at the start of the school year – or even from June – where all the events will shake up, even collapse, in a very short time. They will have to choose …
Originally postponed from May 28 to 31, the 29th edition of Drawing Fair at Palais Brongniart was finally canceled. But not yet Drawing Now, devoted to the contemporary period, at the Carreau du Temple, which was to take place at the same time, during the traditional drawing week in Paris offering a multitude of exhibitions and auctions, between Drouot, Christie’s and Sotheby’s. It is always maintained from May 29 to June 1.
“An online edition of the drawing room does not correspond to the minds of drawing collectors, the decision is always made in front of the work itself. For this area, there is a physical presence of the sheet essential to judge its interest and its state that nothing can replace“, Commented its president Louis de Bayser. “Many exhibitors are relieved by this decision. Between the uncertainties of the evolution of the health crisis, the fear of visitors to find themselves in a confined space, and the fact that collectors, especially Americans will not want to come to Europe, it was unrealistic to want to maintain the show , he adds. Especially since we have no visibility on how the market will be reacted to the financial crisis and many other parameters … “
“Now, I am concentrating on the start of the school year with the preparation of the fair Fine Arts Paris, from 18 to 22 November, in the courtyard of the Dôme des Invalides. We will be 70 exhibitors but suddenly, we may have more requests ”, explains Louis de Bayser again. Created in 2017 by the organizers of the Salon du dessin, in partnership with Paris Tableau, this salon dedicated to Fine Arts from Antiquity to the present day, had already recovered the dissatisfied with the Biennale of Antiquaries at the Grand Palais, renamed Biennale Paris. Under the leadership of Georges de Jonckheere, a major figure in the art market specializing in Flemish painting (and a long-time member of the Syndicat national des antiquaires; the SNA), this event, which could rise from the ashes, will take place from 17 to September 21 under the glass roof.
It will take courage for the marathon because, afterwards, the fairs will be linked: London Frieze (October 8-11) at Regent’s Park, along with Pad London, in Berkeley square (from 5), then the Fiac (October 22-25) and, at the same time, Pad Paris at the Tuileries, whose postponement decision fell on Tuesday (October 22 to 25). It was initially planned for May 12 to 17, too early, given the confinement.
This new date could be favorable to him with the arrival of international collectors during the Fiac which creates an effervescence in Paris. But it will inevitably pose a problem for certain merchants who do both and even some, such as Jousse and Kreo, the Fiac. The schedule will not be tenable. We must not tire collectors and find merchandise … On the side ofArt Paris, the date is maintained from May 28 to 31. But it’s a safe bet that it will be postponed until June, due to the postponement ofArt Basel (initially scheduled from June 18 to 21) from September 17 to 20. Already shifted from April to the end of June (from 25 to 28), the fair Art brussels will it be maintained?
Faced with this avalanche of postponements that are not likely to give confidence, will the desire to buy art come back before summer? This is the question everyone is asking because nobody yet knows how it will emerge from this crisis. We must prepare ourselves psychologically and everyone will undoubtedly have other priorities. “We have sent some designs to customers but have received no response to date. That says it all. Everyone has their concerns of the moment ” confirms Louis de Bayser. Cancellation of the fair Masterpiece a few days ago was the consequence. The organizers preferred to prepare for the disaster, by reimbursing exhibitors 85% of the price of their stand and asking them to pay 15% to guarantee them a place in June 2021.
Not everyone has followed this path of wisdom. They didn’t see the wave happen or believe it. And they are drawing lightning today from the art market! “It is true that a fair is a lot of preparation and financial investment. When you’re nose in, you’re in a bubble, and you’re up to the endian. It has to be done at all costs. This is what happened with the Tefal Maastricht whose date is not right. I felt the danger but did not realize how serious it was, until the fair closed prematurely, on March 11, four days before the end, ” explains one of its exhibitors.
A hundred of them affected by Covid19 now realize how serious the situation is. Almost 29,000 visitors gathered in the exhibition hall in the end. And cases, including some in intensive care, have multiplied among exhibitors and visitors (from collectors to curators through some of our policies) upon their return, within two weeks of closing. Some furious merchants were indignant on social media, saying that the fair would not have wanted to reimburse them anyway and that they would not come back next year.
Was it necessary to cancel everything? An Italian art dealer – an asymptomatic case which we now know can transmit the virus – said that he had announced, as of Monday, four days after opening, that he had tested positive. And the fair took two days to react before it closed. But Tefal president Nanne Dekking (founder of New York-based Artory) who believes “to be someone very responsible “ said to have “was forced to investigate a simple rumor about who to contact because of a lack of a phone number. “
He adds: “99% of the exhibitors still wanted to do the Tefal. They were consulted one by one. The mayor of Maastricht, the province of southern Limburg, the authorities of the Netherlands, no one had issued a prohibition order in view of the sanitary conditions. There is a committee of 7 people, I am not alone in deciding. We had meetings with all the subject experts every morning to take stock of the situation. ” Tefal has no plans to compensate exhibitors for the cancellation of the past four days. She also had no plans to reimburse them if the fair was canceled. The heart of the game in all this upheaval remains money.