FLORIDA-based organisers International Fine Art Expositions have surprised the international antiques world by announcing a change of name for their flagship fair in West Palm Beach. From its next staging in February 2005 it will be renamed Palm Beach! America’s International Fine Art & Antique Fair and the organisers are emphasising that this event is now an alternative to the great, long-established European fairs.
Founded in 1997 as The Palm Beach International Art & Antique Fair it rapidly gained status and quickly became a world-ranking antiques fair, attracting some of the world’s very top dealers, an international roster with many names familiar from Maastricht and the Paris Biennale.
The new fixture was also instrumental in making Palm Beach an antiques destination and, with a proliferation of other fairs in the city for 2004, IFAE decided to give their fair an unmistakeable identity and changed the name to Palm Beach Classic.
That name was well-received, but the fair organiser Lorenzo A. Rudolf, vice-president of IFAE, who took over last year, feels the new image reflects a further change of course in the development of his event. In keeping with the fair’s opulent character, its latest identity was created by Interbrand, the leading brand consultancy firm.
Mr Rudolf feels his fair is now into new territory in that it is perceived by many in the trade as the premier American art and antiques fair, a transatlantic alternative to the great European fairs. He claims its profile is far above any other American fair trying to claim a piece of the market.
“We are in a changing environment,” said Rudolf. “We are now at the point where we have become a top fair. This is the only fair in America on the level of TEFAF Maastricht and the Paris Biennale, and as such serves the American market, as well as giving Europe and the rest of the world a top alternative. This is America’s international fine art and antiques fair and we are committed to driving this point home.”
As part of his new strategy Rudolf has appointed an advisory committee of 20 exhibiting dealers and they comprise some of the biggest names from the international fairs circuit: Konrad Bernheimer, David Mason, Robert Noortman, Jacques Perrin, Benjamin Steinitz and Axel Vervoordt are among them.
Also on the committee is Floris van der Ven of the distinguished Dutch Oriental specialists Vanderven & Vanderven, who next year join Palm Beach! for the first time. They already stand at Grosvenor House, Maastricht and the Paris Biennale.
He told the Antiques Trade Gazette: “The Americans are not coming to Europe, some come to Maastricht but not to London. This Palm Beach international fair attracts the right buyers from all over America; New York fairs tend to cater for New York people.”
The newly-named fair – a partner to the newly-named PalmBeach3 Contemporary art fair – opens with 100 exhibitors on February 4 (it runs until February 13) with an unashamedly European-style vernissage at the Palm Beach County Convention Centre to which 5000 have been invited.