The annual Paris Salon du Dessin will showcase 30 of the world’s premier drawings specialists at the Palais de la Bourse in Paris from March 16-21.
Now in its 14th year, the Salon - which includes work from a variety of countries and periods, with a price range to suit most purses - consolidated its reputation as the world's leading specialist drawings fair in 2004, when it moved to Alexandre Brongniart's 1808 colonnaded Stock Exchange building.
The new venue prompted widespread plaudits as more stylish and prestigious than the previous, rather cramped venue at the Salons Hoche in north-west Paris. The Bourse is also more central - just 400 yards from the Hôtel Drouot - as well as lighter and more spacious, enabling the fair to expand from 25 to 30 exhibitors. The Paris-based Société du Dessin, who organise the fair, say there's room for one or two more exhibitors in future, but is adamant that there will be no compromise on quality.
The 2005 edition includes a handful of new faces: C.G. Boerner of New York/Düsseldorf; New York's Jill Newhouse, showing a Matisse graphite odalisque study at her first European fair; and Day & Faber, one of six London exhibitors, offering an ink portrait of a young man by Joannes Sadeler the Elder (1550-1600), 5 x 3 1/2in (12.5 x 9cm), for €30,000.
Other British exhibitors include Agnew's, Jean-Luc Baroni, Trinity Fine Arts, Yvonne Tan Bunzl, bringing a vigorous Piranesi ink and wash sketch of a young man (c.1770), and Thomas Williams, who will be looking for around €45,000 for a small ink and wash Greuze drawing of Cupidon au Pied de l'Autel de l'Amour, 12 x 15in (31 x 37cm).
Foreign exhibitors outnumber French for the first time in the Salon's history - last year it was 15 apiece, this year it is 16:14 - with four exhibitors from both the United States (all from New York) and from Germany, including Hamburg's Martin Moeller, with a characteristically poignant female study by Käthe Kollwitz; and Munich's Katrin Bellinger, who will offer Tiepolo's Presentation of the Virgin, in ink, wash and pencil, 20 x 15in (50 x 38cm), for €135,000.
Zurich's Arturo Cuellar has an early Van Gogh pencil drawing of a man drinking coffee (c.1882), while Patrick Derom from Brussels will have a small Gustave Moreau watercolour, Persée et Andromède (c.1882) priced in the region of €750,000.
Bob Haboldt returns to the Salon for the first time in several years, showing a tiny Rembrandt sketch of a seated young man reading. Paris dealers include Old Master drawings at Paul Prouté (a pencil, red and white chalk study of a man writing, by François de Troy) and Didier Aaron (a chalk and charcoal portrait of Prince Napoléon-Achille Murat), as well as late 19th century works at Brame & Lorenceau (an equine watercolour by gallery favourite Louis Anquetin) and Antoine Laurentin (a gouache Famille de Pêcheurs by Charles Filiger).
Twentieth century material will include Etienne-Adrien Drian's charcoal, watercolour and gouache Femme à l'Eventail, 18in x 2ft 1in (45 x 64cm), available for €9000 at Galerie de La Scala; and Henri Laurens' Nu Accroupi de Gauche (c.1926), a gouache, 10 x 8 1/4in (25.5 x 21cm), priced at €90,000 by Galerie Bérès, who recently staged a majestic 180-work Laurens show at their Quai Voltaire gallery.
Since 2000, another reason to visit Paris for the Salon du Dessin has been the simultaneous staging of the Semaine du Dessin (Drawings Week), providing the chance to inspect collections of drawings usually off-limits to the public. This year 11 museums and institutions take part, under the theme of Cabinets des Dessins.
Highlights include an exhibition on the history of the famous drawings collection assembled by the Duc d'Aumale (1822-97) at the Musée Condé in Chantilly; the launch of a permanent new Cabinet d'Art Graphique at the Musée d'Orsay; and, at the Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle on the Left Bank, a rare chance to admire the legendary drawings display cabinet designed by Bonnier de la Mosson, and acquired by Louis XV in 1745.
The upscale dealers' mall Louvre des Antiquaires on Rue de Rivoli will stage Quinzaine du Dessin (Drawings Fortnight) with 20 galleries showing 100 works on paper in its Salle d'Expositions.
There will also be a handful of drawings auctions in Paris during the Salon du Dessin, led by a 500-lot jamboree at Christie's on March 17. Artists include Guercino, Murillo, Fragonard, Delacroix and Gustave Moreau, an album of 26 drawings by the great 16th century architect Androuet du Cerceau (estimate €50,000-70,000), and 26 oil sketches on paper by Simon Denis (Rome 1786-1801) with individual estimates between €2000 and €50,000.
Other sales include those at Thierry de Maigret and Tajan on March 16, the latter with works by Cézanne and Puvis de Chavannes; at Piasa on March 18; at Rossini on March 19 and Néret-Minet, who have a 1914 Modigliani charcoal caryatid (estimate €90,000-100,000) on March 23.
• Salon du Dessin -
Palais de la Bourse (M° Bourse).
Noon-8.30pm (10pm, March 17).
Admission €10 (inc. catalogue).