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For the first time, French auctioneers will be approaching the busiest period of their year as fully fledged commercial enterprises, free to compete with international competitors. Similarly Christie’s and Sotheby’s will be eager to achieve something like the potential of the two prestige salerooms which they have been maintaining at great cost in the French capital for several years.

As happens every two years, the spotlight is focused firmly on Paris for the Biennale, but this year there are signs of new energy and a new emphasis which suggest that an event which has sometimes relied on its reputation as one of the great fairs of the world is no longer content to rest on its laurels.

As with all change, the decision to reduce the size of the show has not met with universal approval, but the addition of some new faces and the disappearance of others will inevitably focus new attention on the event.

In the meantime, the emergence of Christian Deydier as a force for change at the head of the main French dealers’ association means that that there is a greater sense of urgency in lobbying on behalf of the art market.

Hitherto joint lobbying with British organisations has been hard to co-ordinate but a unified viewpoint on import VAT now seems a real possibility.