Paris-style Globalisation

On 24 January 2019, by Sophie Reyssat
© Alexandra de Lapierre

On 23 January, the AXA group headquarters hosted a round table to discuss Paris's position on the international scene. The city's dynamic energy was emphasised first and foremost: Paris offers the largest number of exhibitions, which are amazingly varied to boot, and thus highly appealing to tourists and artists alike. After a certain loss of interest during the 2000s, added Bénédicte Alliot, general manager of the Cité Internationale des Arts, they are definitely returning now. Historian Philippe Bouchet, who collaborates with AXA Art, commented that a growing number of collectors have moved to Paris to enjoy its lifestyle. But the fine optimism demonstrated by the first speakers was rapidly qualified by stakeholders in the field: picture dealer Franck Prazan said that "you can't solve market problems with a cultural offering." Paris is in fact lagging behind London with some 20% of art work transactions in Europe, compared with around 60% in the British capital. In addition, London is Europe's leading marketplace, representing nearly a quarter of global public and private sales. According to the gallery owner, this state of affairs, which still puts France in the shade, goes back to the 18th century, when Christie's and Sotheby's chose London as their business base. Could Brexit change all that? The journalist Georgina Adam felt that the administrative hassle and fears of being blocked at the border could work in Paris's favour. France also has one other advantage: in contrast to what most people think, its tax regime is one of the world's most favourable for the art market. The International Director of Asian Art at Christie's, Géraldine Lenain, lamented the long period required to obtain passports and export licences, and suggested that issuing times be reduced. So, Paris remains a marketplace for specialties like bibliophilism, the ethnic arts and strip cartoons. In this regard, Géraldine Lenain saluted the success of the Parcours des Mondes: an outstanding ethnic art event with a dynamic energy that benefits everyone. She also called for a similar version focused on Asian Art.

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