A new art fair in Paris : an interview with Maurizio Canesso and Bertrand Gautier

Maurizio Canesso is the president of Paris Tableau, a new art fair devoted to old masters which will open for the first time in November 2011. Bertrand Gautier will be in charge of communications for the event.

Why create another trade fair in Paris ?

Bertrand Gautier : The idea came up after realizing that there was no art fair specifically for old masters. Plus, galleries are attracting fewer people, so fairs are an excellent way to make ourselves known and also meet new customers. Our profession as gallery owners and art dealers is in fact not very familiar to most. We needed to express this, help people understand our profession, transmit information about works, not about new records set at auction, as often happens. This new art fair is our answer to the problem.

Maurizio Canesso : This will not be a comprehensive salon. It will highlight only our profession. It will be about us, our way of positioning ourselves on the market, our research, our finds. It will be a chance to communicate with others about the work we do in our galleries.

Is the 19th century included in the old masters ?

BG : We will cover up to around 1850. Generally, we’ll stop before Impressionism which corresponds to a different market. In most shows, the selection of old masters does not really stand out in the middle of everything else. We want to make it the heart of this fair.

A salon devoted only to painting inevitably reminds us of the Salon du Dessin.

BG : Of course, but not only : Photography month [“le mois de la photo”] is now an international reference in its field. And the Salon du Dessin has proven that a specialized, high level fair can do well and is very much appreciated by customers.

MC : We were inspired by the Salon du Dessin because it is now so successful. It has created a more dynamic market for drawings. Painting deserves a comparable event.

The Salon will take place next year in November. However, you’re already organizing an event next 16th December ?

BG  : On 16th December, we are organizing a preview to present the art fair to professionals : details on the Salon, a mock-up and the different events. Each gallery owner will introduce himself and will present one or two paintings corresponding to his personality, his choices. The goal is to help the public understand that his work consists in selecting works, choosing what best corresponds to the ideas he is defending.

How will the Salon be organized, concretely ?

MC  : The Salon will be held at the Bourse [Palais Brongniart], from 3 to 8 November 2011. There will be twenty of us altogether, the ten founders [1], plus ten other dealers. These will change every year.

BG  : Each of the spaces will be practically identical for all the galleries : between 35 and 40 m2, with the locations selected at random. The layout will be on a manageable, “human”, level. Visitors should be able to see what is on the market essentially, in two or three hours. When participating in a major event, it’s important to draw the attention of a potential customer right away since there is so much being offered. There, we have to respond to people’s expectations, like a show on prime time. On the contrary, an art fair like this one will allow us to be ourselves, present what we believe in, which is not necessarily the most obvious. People will have a chance to see everything.

You also talked about a Painting Week ?

BG  : We’re going to organize a program of events around the Salon. We would like to tie it in with the offerings in Paris, its network of galleries, museums and other institutions. Paris is one of the few places it can be done. This will be a week of festivities.

MC  : We’re preparing a partnership with some museums. There will be special-study exhibitions around certain paintings. The goal is to impart meaning to these objects.

What is the image of art dealers you would like the salon to communicate ?

MC  : A dealer is there to transmit his experience. We are the first ones to buy a painting. We keep it, unlike the middleman. We live with the paintings. We do research on them, we restore them, we re-contextualize them thanks to our experience. A dealer, after a career of twenty or thirty years, has acquired works, has exhibited them, has narrowed his research, and it’s this experience which we then transmit to the buyer. This is what we would like to explain by means of this salon.

BG  : We would like to show that we share the same idea of our profession, the same ethics, even if we don’t all have the same taste in art. It will be diverse and, therefore, dynamic.

Interview conducted by Didier Rykner

The Art Tribune, jeudi 2 décembre 2010


[1] The founders of the Salon, Paris Tableau, are : Hervé Aaron, Maurizio Canesso, Eric Coatalem, Bertrand Gautier and Bertrand Talabardon, Bob Haboldt, Jean-François Heim, Georges de Jonckheere, Jacques Leegenhoek, Giovanni Sarti, Claude Vittet.

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