What is in the Tuilleries in the springtime, has been around over 20 years, is subject to extreme vetting (as Trump would say), serves a lovely drop of my favorite drink (rhymes with champagne) and has its own flock of sheep? The answer is obvious – Paris PAD.
64 Galleries, almost entirely from Europe, showing things both very old (ancient Egypt) and very new (contemporary design from the Netherlands). The most expensive thing I saw? A fabulous statue of Horus for “between 200-400,000 Euros” at Galerie Eberwein.
The least expensive – a lovely contemporary bronze “drip” table, “secret lagoon” by Reinier Bosch, in an edition of 8 at 9,900 Euros at the London gallery Priveekollektie (better hurry – only 2 left).
Every year PAD has awards for Best Stand, Best 20th Century Decorative Arts and Best Contemporary Arts, decided by a list of luminaries. This year they were won by, respectively, Galerie Flak, Galerie du Passage and Galerie Aleandre Gullemain who shared honors with Galerie Clara Scremini. The rooms, were so spectacular – I had to have a second glass of bubbly…and that was before I saw the one-of-a-kind chandelier by Regis Mathieu. 80 kilos of hand sculpted gilded bronze, silver and agate shining brightly at Galerie Lumieres. If Marie Antoinette had designers working for her today, this is what she would have – complicated, bold yet delicate – and undeniably impressive. It too can be yours for 100,000 Euros.
Who came to PAD this year? A lot of very knowledgeable French collectors, Belgians, Italians from Monte Carlo. Every gallery I spoke to said they had sold. Who wasn’t there? American and Asian collectors. I didn’t hear a word of English - in any accent - and the exhibitors confirmed my suspicions. But the lack of English-speakers seemed to matter not.
The fair was busy – and the buyers were buying. PAD is just the right size to showcase a variety of art – not so big that you get eye-fatigue, not so small as to seem unimportant. In London, it is held at the same time as Frieze and Frieze Masters. In Paris it stands on its own – and does just fine, thanks.