The renowned art fair La Biennale Paris celebrated the opening of its 31st edition last week in the French capital. Located in the ornate Grand Palais, the magnificent event allowed four architects to each design a different area of the fair: Henri Deglane, Albert Louvet, Albert Thomas and Charles Girault each had a separate area of responsibility to elevate the Art Nouveau style into new, unforeseen directions.
The event is home to national and international exhibitors and each year spotlights a different country. This year, the event fêted the Gulf country of Bahrain, which included a massive center piece consisting of herculean pearls symbolising six generations of pearl diving, which had been the backbone of the Bahraini economy until the oil era. The booth also included an array of Applied and Fine Art, including elegant furniture commissioned especially for the event.
In total, Bahrain’s participation included more than forty works by twenty-one Bahraini artists, selected by Art Bahrain Across Borders’ Kaneka Subberwal and Mathias Ary Jan, President of the French national antique dealers’ association, the Syndicat National des Antiquaires (SNA).
In addition to the guest of honour, this year’s exhibition brought over 70 exhibitors showcasing unique pieces of antique furniture, jewellery, paintings, clocks, watches and other rare memorabilia from across the ages.
As if there ever needs to be more justification for a sojourn to the City of Lights, La Biennale Paris offers fine arts and crafts lovers treasures to marvel at, including, perhaps most iconically, a selection of materials from the collection of renowned antiques dealer and collector, Joseph Altounian (1890-1954).
“The Joseph Altounian Collection is a rare testimony of the relationship between the Altounian family of antique dealers and the greatest artists of the 20th century: Auguste Rodin, Max Jacob, Pablo Picasso and Amedeo Modigliani, to name a few,” said Artcurial’s associate director and auctioneer Stéphane Aubert. The sale included over 400 items including (but not limited to) sculptures, art objects, drawings, and furniture from antiquity to the mid-twentieth century. Notable among the items on display was Egyptian statue dating from roughly 2040-1782 BCE (€50,000-60,000); Roman sculptures, and medieval medallions. However, by far the most impressive objects were six rare Modigliani drawings that, until last week, were held in the family archives.
La Biennale Paris was held from 13 – 17 September, 2019