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Bi­en­nale des An­ti­quaires – A Show Among Shows!

Once ev­ery two years, art lovers and col­lec­tors from the Paris jet set and the in­ter­na­tional elite con­gre­gate at the Bi­en­nale des An­ti­quaires, the premier showcase of art and an­tiques fea­tur­ing trea­sures from the world’s great­est deal­ers since the 1950s. This year, the event took place at the Grand Palais in Paris from Septem­ber 11 to 21.

The edi­tion saw the par­tic­i­pa­tion of renowned haute jew­ellery brands such as Boucheron, Bul­gari, Cartier, Chanel, Chaumet, Christian Dior, Graff Di­a­monds, Pi­aget, and Van Cleef & Ar­pels. There were some first-timers, too, in­clud­ing David Mor­ris and Gi­ampiero Bodino.

For its 27th edi­tion, the Na­tional Union of An­tiques Deal­ers, the event or­gan­iser bet­ter known by its French acro­nym SNA, called upon

in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­claimed in­te­rior de­signer Jac­ques Grange to recre­ate the Ver­sailles Gar­dens un­der the iconic Grand Palais glass dome, with help from the gar­den­ers of Château de Ver­sailles and Tri­anon.

Grange, who has dec­o­rated the homes of great per­sonas such as Yves Saint Lau­rent, Is­abelle Ad­jani, Caro­line of Monaco, and Fran­cis Ford Cop­pola, stud­ied in schools such as Ca­mondo and Boulle in Paris. His tal­ent earned him the ti­tle of Che­va­lier des Art et Let­tres and Che­va­lier de l’or­dre de la lé­gion d’hon­neur. Ac­cord­ing to Grange, “La Bi­en­nale 2014 is an imag­i­nary gar­den lead­ing to ex­cep­tional ob­jects.” His ref­er­ence has been the gar­dens of Ver­sailles by An­dré Le Nôtre.

The plan of the Bi­en­nale is built on three main roads lead­ing to three pavil­ions. Trel­lises and

ar­bours em­pha­sise the per­spec­tives through a graphic play be­tween foun­tains, groves and lawns.

When en­ter­ing the Grand Palais, an ol­fac­tory foun­tain by the Fran­cis Kurkdjian house plunged the vis­i­tor in the heart of the 18th cen­tury, through the “Bou­quet de la Reine” that in­spired this fra­grance.

The aim here was not to re­con­struct or re­pro­duce the gar­dens of Ver­sailles, but to be in­spired by its his­tory, in or­der to cre­ate a unique prom­e­nade in the Grand Palais.

Un­der one roof As the must-visit event for the art mar­ket for more than 60 years, the Bi­en­nale draws to­gether the finest jew­ellers as well as art and an­tiques deal­ers, who gather to present their great­est mas­ter­pieces.

The idea of an “an­tique dealer fair” first ap­peared in the 1950s and more pre­cisely in 1956 un­der the aegis of the new chair­man of the SNA, Pierre Van­der­meer­sch. The dream was to cre­ate an event where the beauty of the ob­jects on show could com­pete with that of the women who vis­ited the ex­hi­bi­tion, a venue where el­e­gance, pres­tige and cel­e­bra­tion would await a host of art lovers and col­lec­tors.

It was An­dré Mal­raux who opened the path to the Grand Palais, a leg­endary Parisian land­mark built for the Univer­sal Ex­hi­bi­tion of 1900. The first In­ter­na­tional Bi­en­nale, in its present form, was held in 1962. It was a fo­cal gath­er­ing of the great­est French and for­eign an­tique deal­ers, dec­o­ra­tors, jew­ellers and book­store own­ers un­der the fa­mous glass roof in a thrilling set­ting made up of pavil­ions, gar­dens and foun­tains.

Over the years, celebri­ties such as An­dré Criv­elli, Jean-Raphaël Mil­lies-Lacroix, Pier-Luigi Pizzi, Jean-Michel Wil­motte, Christian Lacroix and Karl Lager­feld brought their tal­ent to the show.

All the ex­hibitors at the Bi­en­nale are mem­bers of the SNA. The Bi­en­nale wel­comed 81 ex­hibitors, gal­lerists, mer­chants, and high-end jew­ellers, all of whom pre­sented their art works, ob­jects and mas­ter­pieces.

Grand Palais

Built for the Univer­sal Ex­hi­bi­tion of 1900, the Grand Palais that stands in the very heart of Paris is a sym­bolic French her­itage site. A real ar­chi­tec­tural mar­vel with its mag­nif­i­cent glass roof, the Grand Palais is a his­tor­i­cal mon­u­ment that the pub­lic is ea­ger to visit each year to dis­cover the events un­der the nave, the exhibitions of the Ga­leries Na­tionales (since 1964) and the Palais de la Dé­cou­verte (since 1937).

After hav­ing re­mained closed to the pub­lic for ren­o­va­tions for 12 long years, the Grand Palais fi­nally re­opened for the XXII Euro­pean Her­itage Day on Septem­ber 17, 2005, and vis­i­tors could fi­nally ad­mire the ma­jes­tic glass roof re­stored to its for­mer glory in full il­lu­mi­na­tion, en­hanced even fur­ther by the two fa­mous Coronelli globes.

The Syn­di­cat Na­tional des An­ti­quaires

The SNA was founded on Oc­to­ber 17, 1901, and has its very own ethic of “authenticity, qual­ity, and hon­oura­bil­ity”, thereby up­hold­ing a code of hon­our shared by all pro­fes­sion­als with re­spect to cus­tomers and col­leagues alike.

The mem­bers of the SNA make a telling con­tri­bu­tion to the pro­tec­tion of French and world her­itage by iden­ti­fy­ing and es­ti­mat­ing ob­jects of art, and by de­liv­er­ing their finest coun­sel to pro­tect and main­tain them.

To­day still, over 75% of sales in the an­tiques and fine arts mar­kets are made by an­tique deal­ers, thus strength­en­ing the role of the SNA and its ac­tiv­i­ties for the de­fence of the pro­fes­sion and of the arts mar­ket.

“As mem­bers of the Syn­di­cat Na­tional des An­ti­quaires (SNA), we are duty-bound to talk about ob­jects, their his­tory, their pro­tec­tion and above all this her­itage that we have to pass on to fu­ture gen­er­a­tions. Let us not for­get that we are only the custodians, or tem­po­rary own­ers, of works of art.”

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