Paris Photo 2016
In browsing this year’s Paris Photo, the general impression is that contemporary work on offer prevailed. However, in speaking with many of the dealers, vintage work was also selling well. For instance, rather than their press prints, Magnum Photos was selling vintage work from their photographers. In addition, 19th-century photography was doing well as per gallerists Hans Kraus, Charles Isaacs and Robert Hershkowitz, all of whom reported sales in the genre. Overall, the prices for work offered at the fair were reasonable and well within the markets for the respective artists.
In speaking with gallerist Robert Klein, he stated that business is more difficult in Boston where his gallery is based, particularly due to the challenges associated with developing the markets of emerging artists who then move onto galleries in New York City. Such is the experience shared by other dealers running galleries outside of New York City, London, or other large art centers. Klein’s fall back strategy is marketing rare and beautiful vintage work but to a smaller collector base. At this year’s Paris Photo, he offered an interesting selection of Edward Westons, from vintage prints to prints made by Brett Weston, ranging in price between $45,000 and $145,000. Another highlight at his booth was a full-size Rudolf Koppitz’ print for $200,000.
Meanwhile, Robert Mann introduced work by newly discovered German photographer Elizabeth Hase, whose estate he recently acquired. As per a description of the photographer on Robert Mann’s website, Hase photographed during the time of the transition from the Weimar Republic to the Third Reich and through post-WWII Germany and her compositions resemble the work of her avant-garde contemporaries such as Florence Henri, Ilse Bing, and Germain Krull. Robert stated that buying an entire archive, including ephemera and related works, was part of his new strategy to deal with a shrinking supply of good works.
Overall the 2016 Paris Photo was successful, with many sales beings made in the first 24 hours, despite of the concurrent U.S. elections. The fair offered a lot of new exciting work as well as many beautiful vintage examples.