The veteran of these events is the Salon du Dessin, which celebrates its 30th edition this year with 39 exhibitors of Old Master to Modern drawings, while its younger relative devoted to Contemporary works, Drawing Now Art Fair, holds its 15th staging with 72 galleries.
Although the dates have moved for both from early to late spring due to Covid precautions, each will be staged in its usual venue.
The Salon du Dessin will take place at the Palais Brongniart in the Bourse district from May 18-23 with stands allocated as usual on a random draw basis. Drawing Now returns to the Carreau du Temple, a former covered market in the 3rd arrondissement and will run from May 19-22. A partnership arranged between the two fairs means that visitors can attend both on a joint reduced price ticket.
This year they will be joined by the Paris Print Fair, which runs at the refectory of the Couvent des Cordeliers in the 6th arrondisement from May 19-22.
An event specifically devoted to prints and engravings which is organised by the Chambre Syndicale de l’Estampe, du Dessin et du Tableau (CSEDT), the works on offer trace the history of printmaking from the 15th century to the present day. Around half the 19 exhibitors come from France, mostly Paris, with others joining from Vienna, London, Monaco, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Dublin and Barcelona.
The exhibitor roster for the Salon du Dessin is pretty evenly split between French (20) and foreign (19) galleries.
Many are longstanding participants but five new names have arrived this year. Two are from Florence: Enrico Frascione and Romano Fine Art; two from Paris: Amboise Duchemin and Louis & Sack; plus Apolloni Laocoon from London/Rome.
In parallel with the physical fair the Salon will have an online presentation where each gallery can exhibit up to five selected works after vetting.
Alongside the exhibitors and their drawings the Salon always has loan shows. This year the focus is on the Musée du Grand Siècle, a new museum that is being initiated by the Hauts de Seine departement west of Paris. The loan exhibition will feature a display of 50 drawings selected from the 3500 predominantly 17th century works donated by the art historian Pierre Rosenberg that forms the core of the museum’s collection.
There are also exhibitions of works by artists short-listed for the Contemporary Drawing Prize awarded by the Daniel & Florence Guerlain Foundation and of drawings by the landscape architect Achille Duchêne (1866-1947) that come from the collections of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs which links in with the Salon’s symposium for this year, themed around gardens and botany.
The Salon du Dessin also has a programme of visits to a group of participating museums that can be booked subject to availability.
An international roll-call exhibits at Drawing Now. Participants from 12 different countries make up the 72 galleries showing in the Carreau du Temple exhibiting works by around 300 artists spanning the past 50 years to the present day.
Alongside France these include galleries from Belgium, Spain, Italy, Germany and UK. Like the Salon du Dessin, visitors can enjoy exhibitions, a programme of talks and extra mural events as well as browsing and buying on the stands of the exhibiting galleries.
There is also a Drawing Now prize awarded to an artist from a nominated short list.