Art Cologne benefits from Rhineland collector-base
The fair has become better quality, but remains a predominantly local event
By Anna Sansom. Web only
Published online: 16 April 2011
cologne. The ongoing 45th edition of Art Cologne (13-17 April) reveals that, under Daniel Hug’s directorship, the fair has become better quality, although remains a predominantly local event. Many German collectors, including Christian Boros, Thomas Olbricht, Harald Falckenberg and Julia Stoschek, attended the opening days, and fair stalwarts Don and Mera Rubell flew over from Miami.
“This is one of the best Art Colognes and, even though I’m proud to be in Berlin, for me this fair is very important for Germany,” said Boros, who bought pieces by Andreas Slominski and Thea Djordjadze.
“I’ve observed the evolution these last few years and am happy to see that there is a good, tighter dynamic and a good level here that is superior to [Art Forum] Berlin,” said Martin Guesnet, associate director at the Artcurial auction house in Paris. “The only minus is Open Space [a section for installations] which works less well this time,” he added.
The fair assembled 208 galleries, divided over two floors: one for modern and more classic contemporary works, and another for contemporary art, including Open Space section.
“It’s our second time back and this year is super cool,” exclaimed Gerd Harry Lybke from Eigen + Art in Berlin, who sold Neo Rauch’s Zähmung (2011), priced at €680,000, to a “private-public collection” in the UK, and works by David Schnell, priced at €32,000-90,000.
The fair’s attraction is boosted by the existence of a strong collector base in the Rhine region. “Germany is a very important market not only for collectors but for the density of its institutions and we wanted to reintroduce ourselves after a number of years away,” said Florian Berktold, a director at Hauser & Wirth.
But some exhibitors found the fair too domestic. “It’s more interesting than last year even if it’s very German and not international,” said Hélène de Franchis, owner of Studio la Città in Verona, which is sharing its booth with Galleria Arte Maggiore from Bologna. Sales so far included a Lucio Fontana ceramic for €59,000 and works by Herbert Hamak and Hiroyuki Masuyama.
For most dealers, Art Cologne is not the destination for unveiling major pieces. “We’ve brought along paintings that are fresh to the market but the main paintings are not in Cologne,” admitted Rolf Unkel, a director at Michael Werner, whose sales included works by Georg Baselitz and Sigmar Polke price between €150,000 and €300,000.
But the fair is heading in the right direction. “It has great potential again and we feel that there’s great support,” said Franziska von Hasselbach, a director at Sprüth Magers, Berlin, which sold four works by Djordjadze, priced at €4,000-€10,000, to a German museum and other works by Astrid Klein for €18,000.
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