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Art fairs

New galleries and keen collectors at Design Miami

The modern and contemporary design fair's profile is rising

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Thirteen galleries participated in Design Miami for the first time this year, and despite reports of quiet days, dealers were confident that the reputation of the Modern and contemporary design fair, now in its eighth edition, is rising.

“Collectors flew in a day early to attend the design fair’s preview, which has never happened before,” said Evan Snyderman of R 20th Century Design. The New York-based gallery sold a 1970 wooden lamp by Wendell Castle for $450,000 and multiple works by the Los Angeles designer David Wiseman, including a “Unique Pomegranate” mirror, to an Indian collector. Another gallery making strong sales of American design was the Philadelphia-based Moderne Gallery, a newcomer to the fair. It sold a 1977 rocking chair by Sam Maloof and a pair of “Conoid” cushion chairs, 1984, by George Nakashima, for an undisclosed amount.

Despite the arrival of key collectors such as Peter Brant and representatives of museums including New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, some dealers reported patchy sales. “Some of our core collectors didn’t come this year and the second day was unusually quiet,” said Jinny Chung, the director of Korea’s Gallery Seomi, which nevertheless made sales, including pieces by Kang Myung Sun for around $25,000 each.

A cluster of reputable French galleries, which are at the core of the fair’s Basel and Miami editions, proved as popular as ever. Galerie Patrick Seguin sold a day-bed by Pierre Jeanneret for $65,000, and Galerie Downtown François Laffanour sold a 1950 set of furniture by Jean Prouvé for $125,000. But visitors to Miami displayed a stronger appetite for works incorporating cutting-edge technology than their European counterparts, according to Maria Wettergren, whose gallery sold “Mare Tranquilitatis”, 2012, a lighting installation by the Danish designer Astrid Krogh, for €17,000.