A view of last year’s Biennale Paris at the Grand Palais.

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La rentrée carries equal weight in France’s art world.

The venerable La Biennale Paris organised by the Syndicat National des Antiquaires (the French dealers’ association) brings a touch of glamour and a focus to the first days of September.

Various initiatives have also boosted this time of year, notably the city’s highly successful gallery-based tribal art event, the Parcours des Mondes, and a selection of shows and antiques ‘trails’ put on by art and antique dealers in their own galleries across the city.

This period is becoming the focus of increased attention.

Dealers and auctioneers alike appear keen to capitalise on any influx of art collectors. They want to promote Paris as the destination to visit in early September – the point when the spotlight is turned full beam on the city’s cultural heritage and attractions.

In the past the Drouot auction centre and the independent salerooms tended to start their season later in the month.

These days, specific auctions are timed to coincide with the Biennale and the tribal trail. Alternatively, salerooms put on previews of sales scheduled for later in the season.

In a world where the art market is truly global, every country has to fight its corner. For France the strategy appears to involve putting a specific focus on its past heritage, tradition of craftsmanship and art connoisseurship, to tempt visitors to sample that legacy through the polished lens of 21st century initiatives.


Paris street view on the Left Bank

Taste of the city

In this special report we offer a taste of those events.

We feature pieces coming to the 30th edition of the Biennale Paris, take a tour around the tribal shows and dealers’ exhibitions on left and right bank venues and offer a foretaste of some auction highlights for September and beyond.

Much more is on offer too, of course. As Anthony Meyer, the Paris dealer deeply involved in these events (see interview in this report), told ATG when praising the city’s attractions: “Now if you don’t believe me, come on over to Paris and see for yourself.”