The New Darling of the European Art Trade? Paris.

The New Darling of the European Art Trade? Paris.

Paris’s October flagship fair also seems to have shed its long-held reputation as an event at which it’s hard to sell big-ticket works. By the end of play on Wednesday, David Zwirner gallery said that it had sold more than $20 million of works at Paris+, including a Kerry James Marshall painting for $6 million. Hauser & Wirth said it sold out its booth, led by a 2023 George Condo “Female Portrait Composition” at $2.35 million. And the Los Angeles- and New York-based dealer David Kordansky sold one of Mike Kelly’s admired “Memory Ware” plastic trinket-encrusted collages, for $2.4 million, according to the gallery.

The lengthy list of international art world luminaries that Art Basel said visited the fair suggests that Paris+, combined with satellite offerings such as Paris Internationale, Offscreen — devoted to installations, still and moving images — and Asia NOW, along with the city’s many gallery shows and institutional exhibitions, are adding up to an increasingly compelling package.

Back in the early 2000s, when Young British Artists like Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin were dominating the European contemporary art scene, “Paris was dead,” according to Julie Boukobza, an independent curator based in the French capital. “Over the last five years things have shifted,” she added.

But this shift has been driven by international dealers and collectors, Boukobza said, rather than a new wave of young creative people working in Paris itself, which, like many European capital cities, has become an intimidatingly expensive place to live and work, she said.

“Paris is definitely perceived as a growth market,” said Drew Watson, the head of art services at Bank of America Private Bank. “You have a lot of momentum,” he added.

Many of his American clients had decided to visit Paris rather than London this October, he added. “I mean, who doesn’t love Paris?”

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Scott Reyburn

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