Art market

Is Paris worth it? Back-to-back Frieze and Fiac fairs have dealers questioning whether they can do both

As Fiac opens its doors this week, gallerists reflect on the importance of participating in the French fair

Fiac this year moves to the Grand Palais Ephémère

Fiac this year moves to the Grand Palais Ephémère

After the cancellation of last year's event, Fiac (Foire International d'Art Contemporain), the Modern and contemporary art fair in Paris, gears up to open its 47th edition this week (21 to 24 October).

It is the latest addition to an unusually busy autumn fair calendar, arriving directly after Frieze London and Frieze Masters, which took place from 13 to 17 October. For the 174 dealers taking part in Fiac—58 of whom have Paris galleries—the unprecedented crush of events during this season has them questioning which ones to prioritise as the art world reverts to “in real life” activities.

“The audience [at Fiac] is very sophisticated, intellectually speaking, and really understands our programme. I also believe Paris is in a very good shape, with interesting new venues,” says Guillermo Romero Parra of Madrid-based Galería Parra & Romero. The gallery will show works by the Swiss painter Helmut Federle and Heinz Mack of the 1950s Zero movement (prices undisclosed).

“Since the 2020 edition of Fiac was cancelled, it feels important to us to be back at the fair that we’ve participated in since 2018. We have started to develop great relationships with collectors and museums in Europe, and it feels urgent to be back,” says Sibylle Friche, the director of the Chicago-based Document gallery, which will present a solo booth of works by the Atlanta-based artist Erin Jane Nelson (prices range from $4,000 to $20,000).

Friche says the gallery will participate in more fairs than before the pandemic and plans to take part in four other events this year, including New York’s recent Armory Show. Luigi Mazzoleni, the sales director at Mazzoleni gallery in London, says that if travel restrictions continue, “we won’t be able to attend any US fairs; we are not planning to participate in as many fairs as we did in 2019”.

The gallery will show a selection of works at Fiac by post-war artists including Agostino Bonalumi’s Rosso from 1961 (€130,000-€180,000) and Hans Hartung’s T1962-R46 (1962, €350,000-€400,000).

• Fiac, Le Grand Palais Éphémère, Paris, 21-24 October