Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

Half the exhibitors were from London, prospecting for clients, like Kensington dealer Gregg Baker, who reported “lots of very positive reactions” and was looking to give visitors the chance to “see things they haven't seen much in France” – in his case, 20th century Japanese screens.

But Baker admitted that “selling to Europeans is often much slower” than selling to Americans and also thought that the new Paris fair would probably take “two or three years to get off the ground.”

With a handful of exceptions, Paris dealers were conspicuously absent from the new salon. Their absence reflects a clash with Société Orlowski, which owns the rights to stage events at the Hôtel Dassault. The Paris Asian Art fraternity, recently galvanized by Christian Deydier, Jacques Barrère and Antoine Lebel, were unhappy at the prospect of taking part in a fair held under the auspices of a commercial company (Société Orlowski) and plan to stage their own salon next year – in a marquee in the Tuileries, to overlap with the Paris Biennale in the neighbouring Carrousel du Louvre.

This year 14 Paris Oriental dealers – none of them present at the Hôtel Dassault – are focusing their efforts on their second ‘Asian Autumn’ of in-house exhibitions, to run from November 7-20.

Leading Brussels dealer Gisèle Croës is unlikely to be present at next year’s Tuileries event, preferring to stay loyal to the Biennale itself. Croës was one of four Belgian dealers present at the Hôtel Dassault (along with Artcade, Kyoto Gallery and Zen Gallery) and, although she does not do many fairs, had signed up because the organizers had been “so charming”. She thought the quality generally very good if “a bit uneven”, and remarked on the “strong English mood”.

The Salon International d’Art Asiatique hopes to become an annual event and the organisers claim that the overwhelming majority of this year's exhibitors are keen to return in 2002 (dates as yet unspecified). There is scant room for expansion at the cosy Hôtel Dassault; the organisers say they have a limit of 26 stands.

Paris has been busy on the contemporary art scene recently. Seventy five dealers (25 from outside France) took part at Art Paris, held for the third successive year at the Carrousel du Louvre (September 28-October 2). The 28th edition of the Paris FIAC (International Contemporary Art Fair) was staged October 9-15, reported reasonable sales at the lower end of the spectrum but few major deals, with the absence of American buyers keenly felt.

With the number of exhibitors reduced from 196 to 163, and admission raised to a hefty Fr90 (£8.60), the fair strove to stress quality over quantity and press reviews were generally favourable. There was a special 500m2 section devoted exclusively to video installations.

Nearly half the galleries chose to run one-man shows, a controversial obligation at the 2000 fair. Exhibitors were evenly split between French and foreign, with Waddington returning, White Cube of London catching the eye with works by Gilbert & George and Damien Hirst, and a handful of New York dealers maintaining their presence despite all. One of China's leading galleries, Shangart, were present for the first time.

The number of visitors, at what remains a very popular show,
was down from 80,000 to 70,000. Next year’s FIAC runs from October 22-28.