|At the Grand Palais in Paris for the 50th Anniversary Gala of the XXVIth Biennale des Antiquaires.|
|By Brook S. Mason
PARIS. The international glitterati from Salma Hayek and her husband Francois Henry Pinault, Baron David de Rothschild, Terry de Gunzberg and Charles Aznavour along with Americans Henry Kravis, Calvin Klein, Peter Marino and Danielle Steele turned out for the 26th Paris Biennale des Antiquaires that opened last week.
With no less than the celebrated Karl Lagerfeld, best known for his creations for Chanel and Fendi, designing the acclaimed Paris Biennale and a staggering $50 billion in offerings including an Andy Warhol "Liz Taylor" tagged at $40 million, superb antiques and haute joillerie like diamond necklaces priced at $3.6 million, this event ranks as most spectacular fair on earth.
|Outside the Grand Palais for the 50th Anniversary Gala of the XXVIth Biennale des Antiquaires.|
|The gala place settings, designed by Karl Lagerfeld. Inset: the gala decor.|
|Opening September 14 and running until September, 23, the Biennale provides unparalleled access to the worlds of collecting, culture and cuisine as well all under the storied 19th century cast iron and glass roof of the Grand Palais, which happens to host a bevy of fashion shows, including that of Chanel and Dior.
An unprecedented 126 leading international art, antiquities and fine jewelry dealers pulled out all stops despite the sometimes financial rocky times in Europe. What's on view which represents 1,000 years in culture from Roman marble busts to medieval suits of armor straight up to contemporary art. It's akin to the Louvre or the Metropolitan Museum of Art opening their treasure chests.
|Bernadette Chirac and Christian Deydier.|
|Jean and Terry de Gunzburg.||Henry and Marie Josée Kravis.|
|Baroness Philippine de Rothschild and Jean-Pierre de Beaumarchais.|
|Geoffrey Bradfield and Roric Tobin.||Eugenie Niarchos and Doris Brynner.|
|Strolling the fair aisles was the Paris based Jacques Grange who designed all of the homes of the late Yves St. Laurent and Pierre Bergé as well as The Mark Hotel on Madison Avenue. American designers on hand were Geoffrey Bradfield and David Kleinberg. Also spotted were Bernadette Chirac and Texan socialite Becca Cason Thrash.
Hosted by the prestigious the Syndicat National des Antiquaires, the invitation only dealer association and further Indicating prominence of this fair, the event was initially created by the late André Malraux to showcase the best of French art and antiques.
|André Malraux at the VIIth Biennale.|
|Heightening the cachet of the fair in the worlds of luxury and fashion, Christian Deydier who heads up the Syndicate, cleverly recruited Karl Lagerfeld, an artist in his won right, to redesign the fair.
Apparently disheartened by the staging of the last Biennale, Karl approached Deydier and offered to take on that task himself. It is the fashion designer's first fair ever.
"Karl's aim as scénographer is totally different from prior renditions of the Biennale, and he captures the magnificence of 19th century Paris," says Deydier. According to Karl, "This era is different and I wanted to evoke, not reconstitute," referring to his visual references to the Belle Epoque under the dome of the Grand Palais. As opposed to the often dreary corridors of ordinary fairs, Karl conjures up period Paris street scenes from the Place de la Concorde to the Champs-Elysees.
|Salma Hayek and Francois-Henri Pinault.||Bernard Fornas and Charlotte Casiraghi.|
|Christian Deydier, Wallace Chan, Lynn Hshieh, and friends.|
|Danielle Steel.||Yue-Sai Kan and Charles Aznavour.|
|There is a sense of actual shop fronts so the viewer steps into the Bulgari boutique. Then right on the Biennale floor is a replica of the Arc de Triomphe and a blue and white hot air balloon which provide dramatic focal points adding luster to the fair.
Karl has considerable drawing power in the haute joaillerie world, and on board for the Biennale for the fist time are Boucheron, the New York based Siegelson, and Hong Kong jeweler Wallace Chan. They're joining long time Biennale stalwarts Cartier, Chanel, Van Cleef & Arpels, Piaget, Chanel and Harry Winston, among others.
|Karl Lagerfeld and Betty Lagardere.||Peter Marino.|
|Rosa Montalba, Manolo Valdez, Regina Montalba Valdez, and Joe DiPaola.|
|Olivier Dassault.||Etel Baler, Christian Deydier, and Siren Ertan.|
|Christian Deydier and Maryvonne Pinault.||Becca Cason Thrash.|
|New York dealers include L&M Arts and that Upper East Side establishment has brought on Peter Marino whose clients include Stephen A. Schwarzman, Blackstone Group chairman, and the Chanel boutiques to design their stand. L&M Arts is presenting a selection of bronze boxes, which Peter Marino created. Dominique Levy, a founding partner of L&M Arts, who will open her own gallery on the Upper East Side in the Spring, says of Marino's artistic bronze boxes, "They are sublime." Also on view are Andy Warhol's "Yellow Liz" from 1963; Yves Klein's "Anthropométrie, 75" from 1961; and Lucio Fontana's "Red, Eight Slashes" from 1968.
Other impressive stands are that of Marlborough Gallery and a $35 million Paul Cézanne at Galerie Krugier from Geneva.
|L&M Arts: Andy Warhol's Yellow Liz, 1963; Yves Klein's Anthropométrie, 75, 1961; and Lucio Fontana's Red, Eight Slashes, 1968.|
|Galerie Krugier: Cézanne's "Tasse, verre et fruits, II" (c. 1877). Available for $35 million.|
|JGM Galerie: François-Xavier Lalanne's Ane de Natalie.|
|Antiques are front and center and unquestionably the Paris based Maison Kraemer is showcasing the finest. Their stand is dedicated to the work of French royal l'ébéniste Jean-Henri Riesener (1734 – 1806), who created furnishings for Queen Marie-Antoinette. "Riesener furniture is the highest expression of 18th century antiques and exceedingly rare," says Mikael Kraemer. He is showing a stupendous 24 examples, which are considered the largest collection of Riesener furniture on exhibit together since the contents of Versailles were sold after the Revolution. The clientele of Kraemer, the oldest family company in Paris, includes Rothschilds, Rockefellers as well as Peter Marino and Susan Gutfreund. "Americans find our antiques fit in contemporary settings," he says.
|Art Deco furniture as well as later examples are on view. With the Paris JGM Galerie is a François-Xavier Lalanne's 1998 life-sized bronze donkey, Ane de Natalie, that opens to reveal a cabinet.
A total of 126 dealer stands far outstrips the 2010 Biennale when only 87 dealers participated. More than 50 dealers are new to the fair. Then the financial world was still recovering from the Lehman crisis. "This time with 50 new dealers and the fair 50,000 square foot larger in size, the Biennale is unsurpassed," says Deydier.
|KRAEMER & Cie: An exceptional early LOUIS XVI marquetry with chased and gilt-bronze mounts commode, the rare central panel representing a polychromatic decor of a vase filled with flowers. By RIESENER, circa 1770.|
|KRAEMER & Cie: A beautiful and rare LOUIS XVI mahogany and mahogany veneered Writing desk and its top cartonnier ornated with chased and gilded bronze mounts, stamped by JEAN-HENRI RIESENER, with Inventory marks: N° 3199|
|KRAEMER & Cie: The Countess d'ArtoisConsole Table, Paris, 1788. By Jean-Henri Riesener. Mahogany veneer on an oak frame, chased and giltbronze mounts, white statuary marble. Provenance: Drawing room of the Countess of Artois at the Pavillon de Saint-Cloud.|
|Markings: Stamped J.H. Riesener; Brand mark, the letters S.C. interlaced and framed by a serrated circle, with letters G.M. inscribed underneath.
|KRAEMER & Cie: An exceptional and rare LOUIS XVI mahogany writing and reading table by J.H. Riesener, with chased and giltbronze mounts.
Provenance: Inside the main drawer, is an inscription in English:
Edith Galfrida Powys
Given me by Granny (lilford).
This table came from Holland House.
|KRAEMER & Cie: A rare LOUIS XVI veneered woods table with giltbronze mounts.
Inventory marks: "3024" (in ink).
French National Archives – Garde-Meuble Journal. Ref. 0/1/3320: translated as:
Delivered by Riesener for Mr de Fontanieu's apartment at the Garde-Meuble of Versailles on december 31st, 1779.
A writing-table of same woods (of india satiné) having a drawer on the right side, closing with a key, fitted with an inkwell, a (drying) powder and sponge wells, in silvered brass, adorned with keyhole escutcheon, capitals and frame ot the top and shoes gilded with or moulu, 30 (french) inches long, 18 (french) inches deep and 27 (french) inches high.
|KRAEMER & Cie: Detail of a bronze mount from an exceptional pair of LOUIS XVI Cupboards stamped by Jean-Henri Riesener.|
Gala photographs by Joe Schildhorn/BFAnyc.com.
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