Works by Pablo Picasso and Damien Hirst were on offer in Paris as the French capital joined the crowded market for art fairs.
FIAC comes a week after London’s Frieze, which had $350m of art on sale, tested investors’ faith in contemporary works and as Europe struggles with its sovereign debt crisis.
“FIAC is on the up,” the New York-based art adviser David Nisinson said. “Frieze is a perfectly good fair. It’s just that the difference between these events is not so great and collectors have to choose.” Amid volatile stock markets, “it’s a little tougher to sell works at less than $50,000,” he said.
France’s biggest fair - Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain is its full name - is helped by its central location in the Grand Palais and attracts collectors such as Christie’s International owner Francois Pinault, and Bernard Arnault, chairman of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton.
The 38th FIAC, which previews for VIPs today and doesn’t give any estimate for the total value of art on offer, brings together 168 galleries from 21 countries. Unlike Frieze, which focuses on contemporary artists, the Paris event combines pieces by emerging names with big-ticket works by Picasso and other 20th-century modernists.
London-based Lisson, Sadie Coles HQ and White Cube - which will be bringing Hirst’s “Where Will It End,’’ priced at about €2.5m ($3.43m) - are among the dozen galleries returning to FIAC. New York dealers Pace and Matthew Marks will be making debuts. All are Frieze exhibitors, underlining the growing rivalry between the two October events.
“A propos de New York en Peinturama” by the French Pop artist Martial Raysse will be among the most valuable works, priced at about €5m on the booth of the Paris dealer Galerie Natalie Seroussi.
London and Zurich dealers Hauser & Wirth are now representing the American artist Rashid Johnson and offering his new works priced $50,000 to $95,000.