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Art Basel owner buys stake in Art Düsseldorf

MCH Group aims to make it the “leading regional fair in Germany”

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Art Düsseldorf is the second regional fair to become part of the Swiss-based MCH Group, which owns the Art Basel franchise, it was announced today (9 February). Marco Fazzone, the managing director of design and regional art fairs at MCH, says the aim is to make the Düsseldorf event the “leading regional fair in Germany”—a title traditionally held by Art Cologne. 

MCH has acquired a 25.1% stake in art.fair International, the organiser behind Art Düsseldorf which is launching in the west German city in November having run a contemporary art fair in Cologne for the past 14 years. The current owners, Andreas Lohaus and Walter Gehlen, retain 74.9% of the company although MCH has the option of buying a majority stake in the future.

Fazzone stresses that Art Düsseldorf (16-19 November) will “remain autonomous”, but will benefit from MCH’s “experience and network”, as well as from “synergies with the other regional art fairs, which in the near future are going to form a strong global network”. 

MCH already has a majority stake (60.3%) in the India Art Fair, which opened its doors under the new ownership deal last week. According to Fazzone, MCH is also in discussion with SME London (which manages Hong Kong’s Art Central, Sydney Contemporary and Art16 in London) and the fair organisers Angus Montgomery.

In a blog post on the MCH website, Lohaus and Gehlen say they intend to turn Art Düsseldorf into a “magnet for the entire art scene”. The contemporary art fair will host blue-chip and emerging galleries in a bid to “bring the experimental and the conventional under one roof”.

And what of the move from Cologne to Düsseldorf? “The two cities of Cologne and Düsseldorf have moved perceptibly closer to one another in recent years, especially in art,’ they say. “That is a big advantage for all those involved.”